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Subject An Open Letter to Churches in the West, Especially the US who Sponsor Missionaries in Third World Countries
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Original Message Why are there so many missionaries in the Philippines? Why not Afghanistan, Pakistan, Laos, Bangladesh, Sudan, Azerbaijan, or Uzbekistan? I will tell you why; because it is more fun in the Philippines!

Here in the Philippines missionaries can continue to live their Western lifestyles. They can drive nice cars, wear the newest clothing, eat at Western style restaurants, and live in comfortable homes that are of a much higher class than the average citizen in the Philippines can afford. How can people living like the top 1% reach some of the poorest people in the entire world? It doesn't work. If it did, the Philippines would no longer be a third world country and nearly everyone would be Born again long before now since Western missionaries have been coming here for many, many, decades. Just imagine if all of the money sent to sponsor Western missionaries all these years went directly in the hands of local ministries what could be accomplished.

There was once a time when Western missionaries needed to go into countries where the Gospel was not preached, but today there are enough indigenous Christian leaders who are more capable than outsiders to spread the gospel. They already know the language, they know the culture, they don't need visas, and they don't have to return home for a vacation from the field. More importantly they will live at the same economic level as the people they are reaching rather than living a Western lifestyle in a foreign land which means more people can be sent with much less financial burden on the church.

Let me give an example of how much it costs a typical Western missionary to live here in the Philippines on an annual basis. Most Western missionaries bring their wives and children along with them. So a typical missionary family would consist of husband, wife and three children. (Some have more, some have less) They typically rent homes in more affluent neighborhoods, the children attend private schools of course, and they have to eat. The following numbers are going to be conservative, so lets add these three items up.

5 people eating 3 times a day @ P60 per meal = P900 a day X 365 = P328,500 (This alone already exceeds the average Filipino families annual income which is about P235,000!)

Rent P20,000 per month X 12 months = P240,000 (Once again this number is above the average Filipino families annual income)

Three children sent to private school. Many missionaries in Davao and Manila send their children to Faith Academy where the tuition is P215,000+ annually per student. The cost of three children to go to school P645,000! But to make up for those who do not attend this particular school I will cut this number in half to be more fair. P322,500.

So just the above figures alone come to an annual total of P891,000. (Families in the richest decile in the Philippines earn an annual income of only P715,000)

This amount does not include shopping trips to the mall, excursions to resorts, trips to Starbucks or the movies, gas for the car, utility bills, and lets not forget the annual trip home to escape the "suffering" life of a missionary in a third world country.

Currently a round trip ticket to the US averages around P65,000, multiply this by five family members and you are looking at P322,500. So lets go ahead and add an additional P100,000 to this amount to compensate for all the additional expenses I just named and we come up with P422,500 to add to the budget. This brings our total to P1,313,500 per year! This is the amount needed before a single peso goes to the ministry. Jesus said you must deny yourself and pick up your cross, be willing to leave behind your riches, family, friends, and be willing to die for Him tomorrow if necessary. Hmmm BTW, a missionary native to the Philippines requires less than P120,000 to live in their home country which is less than 10% of what the typical Western Missionary needs.


This is a country that has already been reached and there are many wonderful and Godly Filipino Pastors doing a great work for the Lord. I have seen churches being planted, growing, and efforts being made for more churches to be planted. They are working hard at winning souls, growing, and training men for the ministry. They are making disciples.

Why do American and other Western churches not support these churches rather than send thousands of missionaries to countries like the Philippines? Do they think that the Filipinos are incapable of supporting their own churches? That they can not feed themselves? Clothe themselves? Just Imagine if all of the money in the example I gave went directly in the hands of local ministries.

Now don't get me wrong, there are a few Western missionaries here in the Philippines who are doing things right. The true missionaries are preaching the gospel, winning souls for Christ, and training both local and indigenous men to pastor to their people but they are few and far between. Most are living a life of luxury in the name of doing God's work at the expense of the poor. I am also not saying that Western missionaries should live in poverty to reach the poor, but they could at least live like the average Filipino. Wouldn't you agree? After all it was Paul who said "To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. " 1 Corinthians 9:22

Jesus said "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned ". Jesus did not say, go into the world and try to convert! Nor does the Great Commission say to build orphanages, build churches, bring people to church, impose Biblical standards upon society, or to even change the world for Christ. Yet this is what 90% of the Western missionaries are doing today. Why?

Another issue in developing countries like the Philippines and the ones found in other parts of Asia as well as Eastern Africa as the result of Western Missionary influence has been the loss of culture and identity of its people. Why Western missionaries believe that people must end their ties to their culture in order to believe in a "Their" version of Jesus is beyond me. Jesus crosses all cultural lines and can fit into any people group. Sending rich, Western Christians, from first world countries like the US into to these communities to spread first world Western values is wrong and this is what is destroying many cultures not just here in the Philippines, but around the world. The church today has been warped into a hybrid of Jesus and the American dream serving only when it is convenient and going into other countries and telling people how they should be living when what they should be doing is sticking to the Gospel. The result of straying from this is cultural destruction, predation and alienation of people from other members of their tribe or group.

Western missionaries do good things. They feed the poor, they help build houses and schools. They give away clothing and money to the needy, but this makes them no different from any other NGO that works with the poor. What does make them different in addition to living way above the standards of the people they are trying to reach is their method of reaching the masses. They take advantage of the lack of education and poverty of the people they are helping and I believe this at it’s core is very wrong. They take control and possession of mainly the children, basically brainwashing them into thinking their culture is inferior, and then with attractive incentives get them to take up Western values. However, I also don’t think the missionaries involved in this type of "converting" realize what they’re doing. They’re blinded by their own faith and self-righteousness to see the destruction they cause to the communities they are trying to help. This is another issue all together and I will not address it here.

I pray that Western missionaries will begin to do some soul searching themselves about the arrogance and narrow mindedness of their organizations and their people and will stick to sharing the Love and Gift of Jesus as it is written. There are 1.6 billion people who have yet to hear the name of their Lord and Savior. Yet 90% of the Western missionaries are wasting time doing things other than preaching the gospel, or are preaching it to people who have already heard. They need reevaluate their situation if their intentions are truly to fulfill the Great Commission.
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