GCI: GCI Churches and Work in Northeastern Asia, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates
This region includes the nation that (outside of the U.S) has the most members – the Philippines. Eugene Guzon is the National Director of Grace Communion International in the Philippines and Missions Director for northern Asia and Micronesia. He coordinates the day-to-day administration and missions and outreach activities in the country. The Philippine church is keen on church planting, missions training and deployment. In 2007, the denomination held its first World Missions Congress, attended mostly by Filipino tentmaking missionaries working in other countries, church pastors, and church members who are already involved or waiting to be a part of missions work. The congress also had delegates from India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Pakistan, Nepal, and the United States.
Dr. Guzon is the Missions Director for the Philippines, East Asia and the United Arab Emirates. He is responsible for promoting the missions work of the denomination in the region. This includes missions awareness programs, identification and development and mentoring of indigenous leaders, pastoral supervision, ensuring biblically sound teaching, and networking for the gospel.
Our denomination began work in this nation as a Bible study group in 1962. From that small group, God led it to grow to more than 75 churches and about 45 outreach Bible study areas scattered in major towns and cities, with about 7500 members nationwide.
In the past few years, we have seen significant growth in terms of churches and membership through holistic evangelism, missions and church-planting training, and leadership development and the role of prayer in the personal and community life of the brethren. Every year, our churches reach thousands through youth ministries, summer camps, medical missions, evangelism training, crusades, medical missions, relief and rehabilitation work during natural disasters. By the grace of God and the commitment of our brethren, God adds several hundred members per year in the church in the Philippines.
Most of the Philippine churches are led by bi-vocational pastoral teams. Many of the members have also undertaken missions training, which has led to more people who have participated in short-term missions trips abroad or have chosen to become tentmaker missionaries. Currently, more than a dozen have been deployed as tentmaker missionaries in Asia and Europe. Some have spent a few months on short-term mission trips in various countries in the region. There are dozens who are trained and willing to be deployed as tentmakers but are still raising funds for their deployment or applying for jobs in host countries.
To find out contact information for pastors in various nations, please refer to our websites, or write to one of the offices listed below:
Philippines & NE Asia:
Grace Communion International 60 Matahimik Street, Teachers Village 1101 Quezon City, Philippines -or- QCCPO Box 1111 1151 Quezon City, Philippines
Telephone: (632) 426-2294 to 97 Fax: (632) 924-0794 Website: Grace Communion International – Philippines
China was the world’s largest economy for most of recorded history in the past two millennia until about 1800. Because of the collapse of the Quing Dynasty and the resulting chaos, China fast declined in the world scene. It was during that time that the United States rose to become the world’s largest economic power. In recent years, because of its competitive labor force, a strong economy, and a more open-door economic policy, China is fast becoming an economic force to reckon with.
The “official” orthodox faith system held by most dynasties in China until the overthrow of the last dynasty is panentheism, which is centered on the worship of Heaven as an omnipotent force. Taoism, which is centered on “the way,” is also considered a folk religion in China. Buddhism was introduced in China during the Han dynasty and it is the largest organized faith in China; China has more Buddhists than any other nation in the world, followed by Japan. Many Chinese identify themselves as Buddhist and Taoist at the same time.
In recent years, because of its greater openness to outside influences, Christianity is making good headway as we can hear of many new believers. The challenge is how to train and support pastors and leaders to disciple them.
United Arab Emirates
About 96 percent of the population is Muslim (80% Sunni, 16% Shiite), with the remaining 4% composed of Christian, Hindus and other faiths. The country is relatively restrictive, although not as much as Saudi Arabia and others in the Middle East. Christian churches still find a way to worship during Fridays (the regular holiday) in private villas, restaurants and hotels. Some gather in small groups in Christian households for Bible studies. For the past 18 or so years, we have had a thriving church in the Dubai. The congregation had a major setback in the mid 1990s, but the work in Dubai has begun to grow in the past few years. It is a vibrant community of about 40 people in attendance composed of about 35 baptized members and their families. Almost all the members are Filipinos who are in Dubai as overseas contract workers. We previously had expatriates from Europe, but these have returned to their home countries.
Over the years, we have had scattered members living in Japan for job contracts and business. But their tenure in Japan usually lasts for only a year or a few years. We now have a small church composed mostly of Filipinos. They are ministered to by a Japanese bi-vocational pastor. Because of its homogenous culture and language, strong traditions and relatively and costly financial requirements for setting up churches, Japan poses a real challenge for missions.
Guam and Micronesia
The work in these islands consists mainly of giving pastoral care to scattered members. Eugene Guzon recently visited to meet with members and leaders of other churches for possible networking opportunities. The trips have been listening to the needs, challenges and opportunities, networking with some religious leaders, and meeting national labor officials who are involved in the deployment of Filipino workers to these territories. There are also initiatives of partnership for leadership training among pastors in the area since they have expressed desire for more training in preaching and other leadership issues. Mission opportunities in this area will mainly be the promotion of tentmaking ministries, leadership training, and pastoral care visits.