What draws a man to a distant land to dedicate his life to a foreign people? What holds him there when the novelty fades, the strangeness grates, and the weariness over-whelms?
No vague altruistic inclinations drew missionaries to the Philippines in the early 1900s. God used the Spanish-American War of 1898—a CUBAN war for independence—to produce a peace treaty that not only ended 300 years of Spanish colonial rule in Cuba, but also transferred the sovereignty of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the U.S. Suddenly, God focused the attention of the American Christians on a remote archipelago of 7,107 islands in the faraway Pacific Ocean and said, “It’s time!”
Baptist people responded! Since 1900, hundreds of missionaries have planted Gospel seeds in the fertile soil of the various culturally distinct ethnic groups on the Philippine Islands, and they reaped an enormous harvest. Thousands of churches have been planted. Schools, Bible colleges, hospitals, and orphanages have produced lasting fruit among the congenial, peace-loving population. Filipino converts, like worker bees, have multiplied the message by carrying the Good News to many other islands and into multiple “closed” Asian and Middle Eastern countries as well. Their impact is legendary!
The explosive growth of Bible-believing Christianity in the Philippines is not without its enemies. In the cities especially, the destructive influence of social media and the TikTok agenda is reshaping the culture of the youth. Ten years ago, in an effort to expand the Gospel, Veteran Missionary Rick Martin (pictured on the right) started a Christian radio station on the island of Iloilo. Because of Bro. Martin’s 43 years of unselfish service to the Filipino people, the Philippine Congress granted Bro. Martin a radio and television franchise, which allows him to build a station on any island where there is an open frequency. Under his leadership, seven additional stations have been strategically built in areas where the population is dense and where faithful national pastors can direct the stations and preach in the local dialects. Through the personal sacrifice and volunteer efforts of technician Gene Sharp of Independent Baptist Media (with his wife Tara and daughter Lacey) and Gene’s technical helper Andy Chafa (and his wife Summer) of Marion, Iowa, two towers were recently
erected in Metro Manila and one in Davao City, Mindanao, a strongly Muslim region. The arduous two-month project included climbing 100-foot towers to connect cables, installing technical equipment in three studios, and training the national staff to use the high-tech machines. Three additional stations are scheduled for completion in the fall of 2023.
So, what makes Rick and Gene and Andy, and thousands of missionaries like them, decide to sacrifice considerable time, expend personal wealth, exert physical energy, and endure emotional strain to deliver the message of salvation to total strangers? “And of some have compassion, making a difference.” (Jude 22) In the Philippines, a century of missionary COMPASSION has made an eternal difference! Nothing else really matters.
17th Anniversary of Liberty Radio
Pastor Dahn Demey and the Harvest Baptist Church in Monrovia held a joyous celebration for the 17th anniversary of Liberty Radio on March 26, 2023. Listeners traveled long distances to relay their testimonies.
“I was addicted to drugs and prostitution. For four years, I lived in the cemetery with other addicts. One day, a friend brought a radio to the cemetery. I began listening to the Christian station. When a radio pastor explained salvation, I decided to visit his church. There I accepted Christ. With a lot of help, I have been sober for two years.”
Pastor John King (broadcasting for 15 years on Liberty Radio)
“One day, I decided to give up preaching on the radio. I determined that day would be my last sermon. Four hours later, a young man called me. ‘Pastor, I was going to take my own life today because I was so frustrated and hopeless. The message you preached encouraged me to keep living.’ I invited that young man to church, where he was saved. Today, that man is a faithful leader in my congregation.”
Station #5 Airs in Ancient Babylon
The new station in Al Hillah, which reaches two Muslim holy cities of Al Najaf and Kerbala (5 million people), is broadcasting! The New Testament Baptist Radio Network is now the largest media group in all of Iraq and the largest Christian network in the Middle East! For the same cost to support one American missionary in Iraq, CRI can fund five full-time radio “missionaries” that reach 90% of the country 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Never in the history of the world has an all-Muslim government allowed a legally licensed Christian radio station in its borders. We now have five!
We need your help! The operational costs and government taxes incurred to run five stations have increased by $3,000 per month. Would you or your church consider supporting the Iraqi Christian Radio Network? Send gifts to CRI, Box 3132, Munster, Indiana 46321.
Christian Radio International