Manny Chata, Th.B, DD
First Filipino Pastor of a Congregational Church in Los Angeles, CA (1970)
Victor Chata, BS, BA
Dr. William Schultz
Chris Malahay, D.D
Dr. Michael Norris, DC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Why Hometown Missions?
by Chris Malahay and Manny Chata
Palmdale, CA. When we speak about "missions," we immediately think of going to far away places where we need to preach the "Good News" of the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This mindset was the motivation of one of the first missionaries who abandoned his vocation as an English Cobbler and went to India in obedience to the Great Commission. He was followed by other mission-minded individuals who went into the deep jungles of Africa and other far flung lands to spend their lives among the natives in preaching the gospel. The idea of going to foreign lands sparked a great movement among churches and denominations that led them to organize foreign missions boards which served as the umbrella organizations which sent out missionaries all over the world.
The great accomplishments of foreign missions are praise-worthy and the fervent fervor of missionaries have been a great blessing to many people wherever they carried the gospel.
But does missions only mean going away to a foreign country? As we refer to our Lord's Great Commission in Act 1:8, we find that he has delineated the manner by which we are to be His witnesses. The pattern for missions is set as follows, "ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Our Lord spoke these words to His disciples when they were in the city of Jerusalem, which is where missions should start. Why? Because locality; they also knew many persons there - their families, friends, neighbors, etc. As a demonstration of how effective witnessing in Jerusalem was, then Peter preached to the multitudes on the Day of Pentecost, 3,000 souls were won in one day!
Following the pattern that our Lord gave us, we should begin missions in our own hometowns where the mission field consists of our loved ones - our family and relatives and friends, people we grew up with, neighbors, former classmates, etc. Our hometown is the best place to start missions before we proceed to neighboring areas (Judea), then to a little farther location (Samaria) and finally "unto the uttermost part of the earth." The Lord wants us first to take care of our household - our children, and our relatives. Neglecting the spiritual welfare of our family is abominable to God. Here is a true story of such king of neglect. A man, after finishing his study from a theological institution, immediately decided to be a missionary and he went to another province to serve as an evangelists. He was successful in his vocation. However, he neglected his own family so that when he came home after being away for two years, he found that his two sons were drunkards, and that his only teenage daughter was engaging in illicit sex and his wife almost crazy from trying to cope with their children. A dysfunctional family was the result of his neglect.
Hometown Missions for Christ International was organized to fill a need. Initially, a need was discovered to motivate Filipino Christians here in America to experience spiritually fulfilled lives as "missionaries" to their hometowns. Instead of going home each year just for a vacation, why don't they spend that time being a "short-term missionary" and are thus blessed by God as well as becoming channels to blessings to the folks at home?
Hometown Missions is equipped to train anyone on the "how-tos" of becoming a hometown missionary. He can also involve his church by arranging with the Pastor to send a group of volunteers to go with him. When they are on location in the hometown mission fiedl, they can engage in a number of activities like holding an evangelistic crusade with the local churches, a youth rally, or any other activity that can be done.
Grace Chapel, in Lancaster, is currently involved in Hometown Missions. A Filipino couple who are embers of the church were challenged to start the program in their church in 2001;. With a number of volunteers from their congregation, most of whom were young people, they went ot their hometown in the Province of Pangasinan, in the Philippines. From then on, they go as a group every year until now. In additional to visiting their home province, they have added visits to other places in other provinces. Also, they bring with them boxes of food, clothing, medicine to give to the needy, and the church even donated 31 laptops to be given to local pastors.
From this experience, Grace Chapel's sister congregation in Little Rock, Cornerstone Church, with Pastor Jim DeVore, has started this program o Hometown Missions in Chile. Praise the Lord! Pretty soon, the Lord will raise up more churches for more hometown missions all over the world.
Hometown Missions for Christ, International has recently been boosted to looking forward to extra-curricular activities that could spring from doing merely hometown missions. When short-term hometown missionaries multiply, local pastors may be marshaled to unite for holding massive evangelistic crusades in several places. These network of local pastors will do the job of planning and preparing for a local evangelistic crusade, while Hometown Mission for Christ, International will enlist evangelists and speakers from a roster of speakers that the Pastors' Network of Southern California membership roll. These evangelists and speakers will raise their own funds to pay for their travel fare, hotel, and personal expenses.
In addition to the idea of holding massive evangelistic crusades, Hometown Missions can make use of our experience when we were once organized as Philippine-American Missions, International. With the help of a prominent family in Makati, we held a crusade, in 1986 in Manila at the Rizal Coliseum. In 1987, with Dr. Bill Schultz, as speaker, with Manny Chata and some members of Pastor's Schultz's congregation, we held a crusade in Surigao City. The following year, a massive crusade was held in Dumaguete City with Pastor Bill Schultz as speaker and assisted by Chris and Mamie Malahay. In 1989, Pastor Schultz, Chris Malahay and Melba Mendavia went to Bacolod City and held a one-week crusade at the auditorium of West Negros College. In 1990, a team from Grace and Mercy Christian Fellowship with Chris and Mamie Malahay and Manny Chata, with Daniel Lam, went to Iloilo City. We divided the whole group into two teams, and each team was to hold evangelistic rallies in two cities. One group, the other team, with John Chapel, Chris and Mamie Malahay and Ruth Barnard went to Roxas City in Capiz and Kalibo City in Aklan. After a week, the whole group crossed over to Bacolod by boat and proceeded to the City of Binalbagan to hold another massive crusade there. The last crusade was organized by Bansory and Adrian Campos, father and son, who both were pastors of Word of Life ministry.
Well, all of these activities were done because Jesus said in Luke 19:13, "Occupy until I come!" We will continue occupying enemy territory and unchain and free their prisoners until Jesus comes. Hallelujah!
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