Pigs, Horses, Boats and Goats Help Native Filipino Missionaries Plant Churches.

September 7, 2011

A new church was planted for these Ata tribe believers.

Davao Strategic Outreach assists in church planting in Mindanao, Philippines targeting the Ata tribe. The Ata people are farmers scattered among the mountains in several provinces. Church planters who are sent to reach these unreached people do not receive funds to support them. If church planters came into a village with cash, they would be considered as outsiders and it would be difficult to plant a church. Since the people there are farmers, every DSO church planter works as a farmer as well. They grow cassava roots, raise livestock, and preach the gospel. Gifts from Christian Aid have helped these church planters get started with basic agricultural necessities. There are a number of other ways to help them.

How rural church planters can be helped:

1. One of the most popular farm animals is the pig. A male and female pig is needed for each church planter. The pigs are $50 each. Reproducing, eating, and selling pigs is a good way to make a living. This project will help to make church planting missionaries self-sufficient.

2. Missionaries reaching tribes in the mountains of Mindanao, need horses. Without one they walk many hours to a village to preach the gospel. If they had a horse, they could reach more villages in a day. The horse is a powerful animal, able to reach areas where there are no paths to lead the way. Bikes, motorcycles and cars do not work in the jungle. The horses also provide transportation for church planters to reach the parishioners in new daughter churches in those areas.

Two of the native missionaries came to the city and reported that the horse they received with Christian Aid funds was pregnant and delivered a foal, which was given to another church planter. Now, the horse is expecting once again! Her foal is designated for another church planter in the mountains, in a neighboring tribe about ten miles away.

There are many rural church planters who need horses. Horses are now about $120 each. The ministry has an immediate need for 20 horses.

The DSO leader, Pablo Elvie, sent this comment from a wife of a church planter who received a horse through Christian Aid :

"Praise God for my new horse! We are in the mountains, there are no roads, and we travel very steep paths. Sometimes we were lucky enough to visit three families in one day before the daily rains came. But now we have . . . a HORSE!" [Suddenly the woman stopped talking. I looked up to see what was wrong, and watched as the woman sobbed.] "I-I am s-so amazed at God's providence; He KNEW our needs. He KNEW our struggles. He KNEW our vision and calling to reach the unreached mountain Ata tribal people for Jesus. But it was sooo hard! Month after month we'd labor, hiking hours and hours, yet with so little to show for our endless work. Now we can, on our new horse, visit close to a dozen families a day! Praise God!"

3. Boats enable church planters to reach areas which are only accessible over the water. DSO built a boat with funds from Christian Aid to reach people on Samal Island, off the coast of Davao City. But now they need two more outrigger canoes ($1800 each) for mission work to areas only accessible by boat.

4. There are several advantages to providing goats to rural church planters. Goats eat any and everything; they are easy to maintain due to their scavenging nature. Their milk can be used by the church planter or sold for a small income. They easily reproduce and cost $60 each. There are at least 50 church planters DSO would like to provide a goat.