Evangelists in Philippines Push Past Terrorists

December 1, 2016

Filipino missionaries trekking through the jungle.
Indigenous missionaries trek through jungles to reach remote tribal villagers on the island of Mindanao.

Facing danger from both Islamic extremists and communist guerrillas, indigenous missionaries in the Philippines recently pressed forward in faith and saw remote animists, government soldiers and communist guerrillas put their faith in Christ.

In an outreach on the island of Mindanao, native missionaries pushed past the threat posed by Islamist rebels who have waged a decades-long struggle to impose sharia (Islamic law) on a large part of the region.

"We covered eight provinces, passing dangerous areas where persecution among our Muslim converts and the massacre of Christian workers were being experienced," the director of the ministry said. "Yet, the team was so bold and courageous to deliver the message of hope and salvation."

The ministry sent one team to proclaim Christ among animists and Muslims in four remote villages, undisclosed for security reasons. A local official arranged for a contingent of government soldiers to provide protection for the indigenous missionaries. By the end of the outreach, the soldiers had accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, the director said, and the villagers were receptive to their teaching.

"One area was hit by a severe drought, where children were suffering from hunger, and the parents could do nothing because of deep poverty," he said. "With a pastor and his team, we went up with rice, canned goods, medicines and bread. Praise God they were fed, full and, above all, they received the Word, which is the bread and water for their souls."

An indigenous pastor and his wife joined another ministry team that went up tortuous mountains to reach remote, native tribes with food, medicine and clothing, he said. The pastor shared the Word of God with them.

"Many of them responded," the leader said. "I was impressed by the courage, joy and undying support of the pastor and his wife for the Lord's work here. Soldiers and local policemen secured them with their presence, and most of them received Jesus Christ as well."

At the ministry's Bible training center, where 18 people were baptized earlier this year, four people graduated on July 31, including a former communist militant.

"He is a former communist rebel soldier who got saved, surrendered to the government and surrendered to Him also - praise God," the director said. "Lately, our ministry is heavily reaching the communist rebels. A commander with a $150,000 bounty on his head accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior in one of our outreaches."

Another graduate sensed a call to pastor a church where a pastor and his son, also a church leader, were killed last year by suspected communist rebels.

"Let us hold him in prayer," the director said. "He said, 'If I will die in pastoring that church, so be it, if God wills."

Filipino children praying.
Children pray at a Bible study on the island of Mindanao, Philippines.

Two daughters of the martyred pastor were relocated out of the village to the ministry center after the double murder, and recently his widow and two young sons joined them. The ministry director thanked Christian Aid Mission donors for helping to support them.

"The trauma and anger is little by little replaced by hope and love," he said. "Thank you for helping me put them in a safe, private school, and I pray you will continue to help them for their daily needs and food. I am blessed to hear how the mother's needs are being met. She was able to start a backyard buy-and-sell business, and I also handed to her the financial assistance you've sent."

Donor assistance has also helped the ministry construct church buildings, including one in a remote area where workers transported materials by means of an eight-hour drive followed by another two hours on foot. More than 50 people are waiting to be baptized in that area, he said.

An indigenous ministry in another part of Mindanao, undisclosed for security reasons, has seen fellowships emerge among many former Muslims. Due to the threat of violence, they have had to undertake painstaking measures to go undetected by Islamist militants. The congregation meets secretly in a home - but not together.

"A family will go to the house and send their children to the learning center," the director said. "Then the parents stayed, and the pastor preached to them. Then another family came, and he preached the same message, then another came, and this they do secretly."

Islamic militants and Muslim tribal people would notice if the families met together, he said.

"The Sunday worship service of our Christian brethren who were formerly Muslims was victorious," he said. "They worshipped God in the beauty of holiness successfully, despite the tribulation they are facing now."

The Islamist militants have banned all worship in another area, requiring the former Muslims there as well to worship and hear preaching one family at a time. The ministry director said the Lord Jesus Christ, not the Christian workers, has powered the outreach, and that therefore it is expected that Satan will find ways to hinder and discourage the many new disciples.

"It is scary and tiring, because there are many of them, and one day is not enough, but we have faith that our sacrifice is worth dying for," he said. "Please continue to pray for our tribal brethren and children as they faithfully and obediently follow God through Jesus Christ."

To help indigenous missionaries to meet needs, you may contribute online using the form below, or call (434) 977-5650. If you prefer to mail your gift, please mail to Christian Aid Mission, P.O. Box 9037, Charlottesville, VA 22906. Please use Gift Code: 800PERS. Thank you!