Filipinos gather for fellowship & partnership

HOUSTON (BP) -- For the 20th consecutive year, Filipino pastors and families met in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention, June 11 in Missouri City, Texas.

"The men and women who come from the Philippines are the best missionary force in the world," said Jeff Christopherson, vice president of the North American Mission Board's Northeast Region and guest speaker at the Filipino Southern Baptist Fellowship of North America.

About 100 Filipino Baptists across the continent attended the annual meeting to encourage fellowship, partnership and promotion of church planting, said Roger Manao, outgoing president of the fellowship and chairman of the Asian Multiplication Evangelical Network.

"My hope today is that this meeting will really strengthen some type of partnership among pastors and churches," Manao said. "My hope is that when they go back to their own churches that they will be inspired [to envision] new work and that their churches will multiply and we will continue to partner together."

Elected as the fellowship's new officers were Peter Yanes of Pennsylvania, who formerly served as vice president, and two vice presidents, Sam Abad of New York, who will serve in the East Coast region, and Noel De Guzman of California, who will serve in the West Coast region. Darius Nable of New Jersey was elected secretary; Allan Gayongala of Arizona, treasurer.

"Our expectation today is to build a strong relationship among pastors and church planters," Manao said of the gathering, adding that he wanted to encourage pastors to get involved in SBC life. "Sometimes, as an ethnic pastor, you feel isolated. So my goal is to inspire them to get involved in the SBC life and become a participant -- not only in terms of attendance but even in cooperative giving."

Manao said another goal of the meeting was to encourage pastors to create more churches in order to reach more Filipino-Americans.

Currently, about 220 Filipino-American churches serve nearly 4 million Filipinos now living in North America, Manao said. He added that churches should do more to reach out to the unsaved Filipinos.

"Our hope is that ... we'll be encouraged to be a part of the Great Commission but also to plant more churches and partner with NAMB and IMB [International Mission Board] to make that happen," said Ernest Dagohoy, executive pastor of First Philippine Baptist Church in Missouri City.

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Beth Byrd is a staff writer for Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).