The CS Australasia region is primarily comprised of nations dominated by Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. The Philippines however is a pleasant deviation away from that norm; an anomaly, you could say. Of the 91% of 100 million people professing Christianity, 12% are Evangelicals; approximately half the Australian population. It's a stark contrast to Thailand which is 84% Buddhist with 1.3% professing Christians and even fewer Evangelicals. (Stats courtesy of the Joshua Project.)
Surfing came to the Philippines courtesy of the late 70s film, Apocalypse Now, which was shot in Baler on the Pacific East Coast. Today, just over 35 years later, there are surfing communities on multiple islands on both the Eastern and Western (South China Sea) coastlines. Even Manila, a 20 million person surf-less metropolis, has its own surfing association that boasts more than 4,000 followers on its social media page.
This growth has not gone unnoticed by the international surfing community. The Philippines now hosts two international surfing events alongside growing number of domestic events at world class waves such as Cloud 9 in Siargao. To support the growing surf culture there are now a number of surf retail stores and an abundance of surf coaches, even at wave pools!
It's no surprise that with this growth there are quite a few Filipino Christians who surf. Six visits over six years has seen relationships develop with quality Filipinos who love surfing and investing in their church communities. Last year a group of four Filipinos put their hands up to begin exploring launching CS.
Since the most recent visit in May, we have begun discussing how we can do this. Please pray that this team will gather a group that will use the CS brand to reach surfers and their communities across the country. From this small but significant beginning, we hope to see many surfers discipled into a relationship with Jesus.