In 1985, when Christar workers Rob and Leanne* began ministry in the Philippines, they and their coworkers knew of just two followers of Christ in the entire region. Over the next few years, as this team sought to meet physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs, they asked God to bring about transformation in the numerous Muslim communities in the area.
Just over a decade later, in 1998, a church was born; in the years since, it’s grown from one fellowship to seven congregations. But these churches haven’t only grown in number; they’ve also grown in maturity: Their members are propelled by a vision to share the gospel so that others can be transformed by it as they have been. The majority of outreach in this region is now done not by Western workers but by Filipino believers. And, a unique business is playing a key role.
In 2003, Rob and his team began exploring the how an herb farm could open additional opportunities to bring blessing to the region and facilitate ministry. They developed Perfectly Natural Herbs, a business that grows, processes and sells medicinal teas and supplements. Within a few years, this company was employing several dozen workers, and it began to generate enough revenue to support ministries and Bible teachers serving throughout the region.
The profits from Perfectly Natural Herbs have enabled this network of churches to invest in local communities in ways that meet needs and open doors for outreach. For example, this business provides funding for medical and dental clinics in numerous villages; it also helps cover the cost of several educational outreaches, including scholarship programs in four Muslim communities that help children succeed academically and enable them and their parents to hear the gospel presented chronologically. And, it has purchased property for a new church building and land that will soon be turned into a campground, as well as bought vehicles that provide transportation for Bible teachers.
In addition to funding numerous community outreaches, Perfectly Natural Herbs invests directly in Filipino workers who are sent to meet needs and share the gospel among least-reached people groups throughout the region. Angelo* is one of those workers. Funds from Perfectly Natural Herbs enabled him to move into one of the communities where the church runs a scholarship program. Because he’s financially supported, he’s able not only to be involved in ministries like teaching Sunday school and adult classes but to invest deeply in local families.
As he helps a local family with a livelihood project, Angelo is able to live out the gospel on a daily basis in a community without a church—and without other opportunities to be introduced to the gospel in the local language and in a culturally relevant way. Through him, all 12 of the children in this family are hearing the gospel, and several are participating in the scholarship program. Two are especially interested in God’s Word and are considering following Christ.
By God’s grace, Perfectly Natural Herbs continues to grow and support more workers like Angelo. Today, the business employs and provides benefits for 60 people, as well as generates the funds needed to enable over 50 Filipino workers to serve in five Muslim communities. And, the church is praying that it will soon be able to send believers to serve not only in the Philippines but in several countries in Southeast Asia as well.
What began over three decades ago as an effort to share the gospel through meeting needs has blossomed into a prime example of the Cycle of Christ-Honoring Transformation in Communities. As this Filipino church sends its own workers to least-reached areas, funded by Perfectly Natural Herbs, we trust God to continue the cycle among the people groups that are being introduced to the gospel.
How can I get involved?
- Praise God for establishing the Church in a least-reach area of the Philippines!
- Pray for wisdom for Filipino believers and Christar workers as they continue to seek to reach the remaining least-reached people groups in this country with the gospel.
- Ask the Lord to continue to bless Perfectly Natural Herbs and work through it to facilitate and fund ministry in the Philippines and beyond.