“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:45-47
Nicole “Nikki” Ziline Raymundo remembers slipping her hand into her grandfather’s when she accompanied him on mission trips in the Philippines. He was one of her faith heroes: a missionary who’d introduced her to Jesus at a very young age. When large crowds gathered, he would give her hand a squeeze before encouraging her to stand up and share the Gospel. She recognizes the blessing of this heritage of faith that has been passed down to her through the generations and it fuels her passion to reach the next generation for Jesus.
Nikki is now an entrepreneur living in Manila, one of the most populous and fastest-growing cities in Southeast Asia. She has used her skills and influence to revive their family-owned school for caregivers in her hometown in Iloilo, tripling enrollment, innovating in care-focused programs, and providing scholarships for students. In her company, guided with the vision of “Creating a Culture of Compassion and Care,” she and her team hold weekly devotionals and Bible studies so that her staff and students have the opportunity to hear the Gospel. Moreover, that the essence of true caregiving in the person of Jesus Christ might be the model for herself, her employees, the faculty, and future graduates of the school. She is herself involved in the music ministry and women’s Bible study at her church.
Once known as the “Pearl of the Orient,” the Philippines is the only predominantly Christian nation in Asia, which is a result of early Spanish cultural influence. Colonization of the archipelago by the US (from 1898 until independence in 1946) brought with it the introduction of the English language, a universal education system, and Protestantism. Today, Filipino Catholics make up 80% of the population while Protestants and Evangelicals make up another 3%. Nikki knows that the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus talks about in His parable in Matthew is the true pearl of great price and she is determined to make sure that even nominal Christians in the Philippines understand the treasure Jesus offers them.
Following the Virtual Haggai Leader Experience she attended last year, Nikki’s goal is “to equip individuals with heart and skills through training, mentorship, and meaningful experiences — enabling them to engage and communicate the love of Jesus through innovative compassion and care.” It’s what her grandfather sowed into her all those years ago and now, with new fervor and support from her Haggai community, she is able to continue her family’s legacy of making Christ known among all peoples.
Written by Carolyn Grant