Believers in the Philippines are constantly assaulted by two forces: natural disaster and human cruelty.
Mindanao is the second largest of three island groups in what makes up the Philippines (7,107 islands in all). Located astride a typhoon belt, it is generally affected by 15 cyclones per year and struck directly by five or six more. Landslides from the mountainous areas, volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis are among the other natural disasters threatening these tiny islands all year long.
But perhaps the most devastating trial for these people is the cruelty imposed on them by barbaric terrorists, bandits, or communist rebels. They kidnap men, women, or children, in order to extort money from the terrorized family.
On November 9, 2009, a school principal was beheaded when his family failed to meet their demands. These terrorists strike against anyone, at anytime. Christian Aid received the following email from one of the ministries it assists in the Philippines.
To our fellow brethren at Christian Aid:
Here is a firsthand story of how harsh life is on Mindanao Island.
This story concerns very dear friends of ours, whom I had the privilege of ministering to when they stayed with us for a while. They are from the Tausug tribe of Muslims. By God’s amazing grace, the gospel reached their hearts and those of their families.
From that point forward their lives have never been the same. They must keep moving from place to place because of death threats.
One day they received an alarming message telling them that their aunt had been kidnapped by bandits, who were demanding a ransom of Php 1,000,000.00 ($21,276.00). The family got together and sold their personal property, their land, and their houses. Even so, this was not enough, and they had to borrow more money. Despite these efforts, they were only able to come up with Php 700,000. They tried negotiating with the rebels, and fortunately, the abductors agreed to this amount. They were warned not to inform the authorities or it would cost the life of their aunt.
The father of our friend and a brother were chosen to take the money to a specified location. Together they delivered the money, but have not come back, even as of the date of this writing. It is believed that the father, brother, and aunt have all been murdered.
This kind of horror is happening nearly every day on our island. They target anyone and everyone. While this story is a very distressing and tragic one, it is just one of many I could tell you.
The only difference here is that this particular Tausug family heard the gospel. They have a living hope that one day they will see their loved ones in heaven.
There are still many Tausug tribals needing to be reached for His kingdom. Please pray for them. Because of the extensive, uncontrolled violence of bandits, rebels, and other terrorists, every day is a struggle here. As Christians, it is another burden on our hearts to see more and more people dying without ever hearing the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Pray for these Tausug Muslim-background believers as they grieve the loss of their loved ones today. Pray for this ministry as we labor to reach souls and make disciples in this very dark place.
A Brother in Christ.