Dying Old Filipino Man An Inconvenient For A Missionary To Witness
I remember when I was in the Philippines and I had 3 more days until I had to get on the plane back to Los Angeles. I was currently staying with a White missionary who lived in the hills of Antipolo by Valley Golf. This was near where the famous Evangelical school called Faith Academy was built. That is a school where mostly missionary kids go (sons and daughters of missionaries, called MK’s). I noticed that in this area most of the missionaries were American and living very wealthy according to Filipino standards. They concentrated themselves in a nice area that seemed “safe” away from the locals. On the other hand, the majority of the locals were extremely poor and lived within ridges, down hills, off the sides of the roads, and any area where there was some empty space; there were squatter communities of local Filipinos who were dirt poor living in shacks and boarded up buildings with bamboo poles to support them. Some were open air type buildings with tarps.
To me this is odd and looks kind of ironic. Here the rich Americans live in gigantic houses that in no way could they afford to live in if they were in the United States because houses that big and nice, in a decent area would be thousands of dollars a month to rent, or to pay off for many years. Well, people can get a nice house in the Philippines and pay about the equivalent of 600 U.S. dollars a month instead. It’s cheaper than the small apartment my parents live in right now in Alabama. This also leaves the American missionaries enough money to hire maids and servants to wash their clothes, clean their house, and do anything they need done. American missionaries live like kings in the Philippines in many cases! What kind of message does this send the local Filipinos who are lost? Think about it…
On my 3rd to last day in the Philippines I was with my friend who was a local Filipino pastor for a baptist church. Him and I were hanging out for our last day and doing ministry together. We did some house visits and at one house was a man they knew was dying of heart failure. This man had smoked and drank his whole life and was suffering the consequences of his unhealthy lifestyle. He was about to die. When we showed up to their house, which was off the side of the road and down a steep hill, —and kind of hanging there with bamboo poles in the open air with a wood floor nailed together— the man was lying motionless on a bamboo bed and very skinny. He looked like he was almost a corpse. It was very heart breaking to see a man in his last breath. This man was unsaved and only knew the physical world. His wife was there to help but she was not saved either. It was heart breaking to see such hopelessness. The pastor prayed for him and talked to him about Jesus. I was able to read from Romans 8 about how if we believe in Jesus we are not condemned and we will be given a new body. Romans 8:18-25 speaks about our heavenly bodies, from groans to glory. I read out loud as the pastor translated the words into Tagalog for the dying man. I witnessed the gospel message to the man which was also translated. We both tried to explain to the man about Jesus and how he can be forgiven of his sins, because it was the man’s sins that got him in such bad shape. The man was thankful we were being there and caring for him, but all he wanted was some fruit mashed up to eat because he could not chew regular food since his teeth were decayed. He just was concerned with physical and material things.
The pastor and I went to a local market and bought a bunch of fruit for him. While we were at one fruit stand a small little girl came up with her hands held out wanting money. Instead, I bought her an orange and she was excited and walked off. About 10 seconds later about 10 more children ran around the corner and all were begging for money and fruit. I had no more pesos to spend on oranges so I had to buy lesser kinds of fruit and the kids were disappointed because the girl got a whole orange and they did not. I felt sad at the poverty but had to go because a man was dying. We showed up with fruit but had no blender to smash it up so he was concerned, and we told his wife to mash it with a spoon.
While we were there for the last few minutes he and his wife were asking me for a doctor’s visit. If this man could have just seen a doctor on a regular basis he could have lived. He just needed to get to check ups and figure out how to help his heart get healthy but he was poor. It would cost about 10 U.S. dollars a visit. THAT IS CHEAP! I had no way to drive the man to a hospital without a car. So I went to the American missionary I was staying with for the last week and tried to bring up the issue. But the missionary seemed to distance himself away from the topic and not acknowledge what I said as if he was inconvenienced by such a request to get a dying man to a hospital. He ignored me and would talk to other people as if he didn’t hear me. The missionary just did not want to deal with it. The missionary was safe in his house while just down the road off the side, down a hill is a dying man in the missionary’s own barangay. Finally the missionary told me to just tell other Filipinos I knew to drive over and take him to a government hospital. But the pastors did not own cars and lived far away. They could not transport a dying old man on a motorcycle. This really aggravated me and I had to call up the local Filipino pastor and tell him I could not help because the American missionary did not want to do anything.
I found out later what happened to the man after I left when I came back to Los Angeles and flew back to Alabama . It was over a year later before I was able to find out what happened to him. Finally, I was able to contact the local Filipino pastor and he told me that the man died 3 days after I had left on the plane. How sad…all I know is I did my best to show God’s love for a dying man and share the gospel. I have to leave it up to God’s sovereignty whether the man repented or rejected God. But more than likely the man went to hell for his sins. The point is that it sickens me that so many missionaries go to countries living like kings in wealth away from the local people and pay servants to do everything while the local people in their own area are dying; not just dying physically but already dead spiritually and no one is doing anything about it. These specific types of missionaries just go to teach in a safe, clean, air-conditioned megachurch, or do some safe social work program set up with others. Yes, they might help some poor people here and there, but it is always far away from their home so no one will bother them. Whatever happened to just going into a neighborhood or some city and preaching the gospel of God’s grace to save people from their sins? Whatever happened to going to houses and sharing the Bible and teaching the common people? They are too concerned with easy church supported jobs so they can act spiritual and holy and claim they are missionaries, while only being concerned with other wealthy pastors in the country who are privileged enough to have an education. (I am not saying that teaching local pastors in a safe church setting has no value, because it is very important, but there is way more work to be done and it’s hardly even a sacrifice in some cases. Also, not every missionary today acts this way so do not be confused, but the majority today does behave in such negative ways).
Listen up future missionaries! Learn from this story and think about it. We can see the true example of missionary service in the Bible and it isn’t a social program and setting up mega churches. It is hardcore work to go where Satan dwells in darkness and to preach the light of the Word while risking all to do it! Before you go, think seriously if you are willing to die for preaching the gospel. Do not just sign up on some silly youth church “missions” trip which is nothing more than a “christian vacation” for sunday school tourists.
Before you go think about whether or not you are inconvenienced with caring for filthy, desperate, lost people. Are you willing to get your hands dirty and bearing the smell of poor lost souls in your nostrils? The modern missions trip idea is NOT MISSIONARY WORK! It is false and self righteous liberal nonsense that does nothing more than let dying people live just a little longer only to eternally die anyway. And many church sent missionaries ignore the local people around them and let them die or remain spiritually dead without the knowledge of the gospel because it is inconvenient to get that close. Preach the gospel! Sacrifice in order to preach it! Do not isolate yourselves from the native people of the country. Sharing the gospel is never safe. So get used to it.
What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
Evangelize! Not socialize! Help people’s souls and stop being inconvenienced!