The Talaandig People of the Philippines
The Talaandig people, located in North Cotabato Province on the island of Mindanao, Philippines, are a small animistic tribe of only 4,500. And unlike the more dominant Muslim tribes living in the Philippines, the Talaandig are excluded from political affairs. Because they are relatively ignored by government authorities, the tribe has become susceptible to coercions to join such rebel groups as the communist New People's Army.
Talaandig men spend the majority of their time hunting and gathering in the forest, while the women typically remain at home to care for the children, garden and weave. Along with wild game, Talaandigs also eat root crops.
Each settlement is ruled by a council of elders, who also provide the children with an informal education—comprised largely of the tribe's values and customs. Superstitions are passed down from one generation to the next. For instance, the Talaandig bury their dead family members beneath their houses, which are then abandoned.
Distinguished by their art, the Talaandig produce intricately de-signed handicrafts. Their bodies are tattooed in colorful ink.
Although not openly hostile toward Christians, this tribe maintains an unfavorable opinion of Christianity, stemming from the days when Catholic landowners dispossessed them of their ancestral lands.
With help from Christian Aid, one indigenous ministry has made inroads with this largely unreached tribe. The tribe, in need of education, food and medical assistance, has been receptive to this ministry's holistic approach.
They share the gospel, while meeting the Talaandigs' basic needs. The ministry has provided 54 families with medical aid, in addition to other necessities. As a result, more than 120 persons have accepted Christ as Savior, including a former communist soldier serving the New People's Army and three murderers in hiding.
Two young women have requested to join the ministry as full-time workers. They are currently enrolled in their Bible school in Davao city.
As the number of Talaandig believers continues to increase, this indigenous ministry has opportunities to plant four churches in their community. They requests that fellow believers join them in praying for the means to accomplish this task.