Evangelizing the Isles of the Sea
Supporting work in Philippines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea
Motorized outrigger boats like these are needed to bring the gospel to the island nations of Indonesia and Philippines.
Greg Tingson sponsored Bob Finley's visit to the Philippines in 1948. Later Dr. Tingson went on to help write the Philippine national constitution and develop a wide-ranging evangelistic ministry.
After initiating Christian Aid in 1953, Bob Finley helped a young medical graduate obtain and outfit a van to use as a mobile medical clinic back in the Philippines.
Over the course of the years Christian Aid has aided over a hundred evangelistic, church-planting missions in the Philippines, plus ministries that care for needy children and operate Bible schools.
Today, while maintaining support for many of the ministries that have an historic relationship with Christian Aid, the focus is on missions reaching out to the still-unreached remote tribes and people groups, especially in Mindanao. See story on this website about native missionaries reaching the Talaandig people of northern Mindanao (click here).
Focus in the Philippines is on reaching unreached tribes like this one.
Though brought up in a Muslim family, one missionary and his wife returned to the in the Philippines where he grew up. Knowing that public evangelism was impossible on this Islamic island, he and his wife knew they would have to use other means to open the hearts of the people. They began by starting an orphanage, providing housing, food, education and Christian nurturing to poor or orphaned Yakan children. Some had lost their parents to local wars launched by rebels. Others were neglected and malnourished as their parents left them alone while they worked from sunup to sundown.
This couple remains burdened to relieve the suffering to these children, knowing that their Christian orphanage provides an open door into the hearts the islands unreached Yakan people.
Christian Aid developed an interest in Indonesia in its early years and began helping a ministry headed by the converted son of an Islamic scholar. It sent assistance to a Christian radio station covering Java, as well as a half-dozen children's homes and Bible school ministries. In the late 1990's Christian Aid generated support for Christians driven from their homes by Islamic terrorists.
Muslim radicals came on their motorcycles in the middle of the night in 1997, and torched this indigenous church. Christian Aid helped rebuild it better than ever.
With over 1000 languages and dialects scattered throughout hundreds of remote islands, the task of preaching the gospel to every language group in Indonesia is overwhelming. However, that is just what workers with one ministry have committed their lives to doing. Native missionaries target tribal groups in Indonesia who are beyond the reach of ordinary churches simply because of their remoteness. Workers live among unreached tribes to absorb their culture and determine how best to share the gospel message with them. After research, workers formulate the best way to tell the message of salvation and other Bible stories in the tribe's language. Once they are convinced the stories are being interpreted accurately, missionaries have members of the tribe record the gospel message on tapes. Workers then distribute them throughout the tribal area.
These tapes have proven a very effective way to introduce tribes to God's Word, especially since most tribal people cannot read. Once a tribal community has been reached with the tapes, workers living there endeavor to plant a church.
Papua New Guinea
Christian Aid also assists a Bible translation ministry on Papua New Guinea, a mountainous island nation with over 800 local languages.
"Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off" (Jeremiah 31:10).