Although nearly 3,000 foreign missions personnel are working in the Philippines, the Filipino church has grown to the point where it also sends missionaries overseas. And sometimes those workers, as tentmakers, face danger.
For instance, Galicano Afurong worked for a private company in Saudi Arabia, one of the strictest Muslim countries in the Middle East, but in his spare time he planted churches—until authorities learned about it. He was arrested last July for distributing Christian literature and deported after spending 28 days in jail. More than 30 Filipinos in Saudi Arabia have been arrested for sharing their faith, and several have reported intensive interrogations and abuse before being deported (CT, Aug. 10, 1998, p. 26).
In all, the Philippines Missions Association has 1,000 Filipinos working cross-culturally and aims to send another 2,000 by next year—1,000 overseas and 1,000 within the Philippines.
"Now it is time for us to get out of the crib," says Bob Lopez of the Asian Center for Missions in Manila.
Even those arrested do not stop preaching. For instance, Filipino Rene Camahort became a Christian while in a Saudi Arabian jail. He was deported last month after spending three years and nine months in a Riyadh jail. Camahort had been arrested in 1995 when his employer, Al-Tayar Travel Agency, accused him of embezzlement. Camahort, who at six feet tall and 200 pounds is larger than most Filipinos, helped to physically protect his Christian inmates after converting.1
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