Monday, September 03, 2012

Filipino Christians Reaching the Least-Reached

Filipino believers Serena* and Chesa* had been reluctant to minister among the mountain tribes at first. “The people are too resistant,” they explained. Left unspoken were their fears about working in an area of the Philippines where conflict with Muslim rebel tribes has resulted in blood feuds, kidnappings and intimidation. Nevertheless, they and other students at the Life Resources Foundation traveled to these Muslim tribal areas, bringing their newly acquired agricultural and teaching skills and a readiness to share truth as they served the impoverished people.

Since 2002, the Life Resources Foundation (LRF) has been serving the evangelical church in the Philippines by training committed Filipino believers to plant churches cross-culturally among least-reached Muslims in their own country. Its two-year residential training program combines formal Biblical training, mentorships and hands-on ministry experience with vocational training. This unique combination prepares students to meet the practical needs in these Muslim communities through agriculture, literacy and community health.

At the LRF, experienced Christar workers equip the church planters of tomorrow, not only with theological knowledge, but also with practical skills. These skills open doors for them to address spiritual needs among isolated and resistant Muslim tribal areas where men, women and children live with little hope of ever knowing the good news of Jesus.

Instead of the resistance they expected, when Serena and Chesa visited the mountain tribe, the imam (a Muslim religious leader) invited these two students to live long term among his people and teach the children! He was concerned about the lack of education among the children in his community, and Serena and Chesa were able to meet that need. Now LRF graduates, they live, work and share the gospel among this least-reached Muslim tribe.

There are 13 communities of least-reached Muslims on or near the island of Mindanao in the Southern Philippines. All desperately need to hear the good news of Christ. Together these groups number over 5 million individuals who have no gospel witness in their own language and culture. These communities also have significant physical needs: 30 percent fall below the poverty line, and almost 6,000 people die prematurely every year due to water pollution, poor sanitation and poor hygiene. The need for church-planting teams among the least-reached in Mindanao is staggering—far greater than the handful of Christar missionaries there can meet alone. However, though the Life Resources Foundation, Christar partners with the existing evangelical church in the Philippines, training Filipino men and women to plant churches in these difficult areas.

Since 2002, 70 men and women have graduated from the LRF, and we praise God that LRF graduates are currently sharing the good news of Christ with eight of the 13 Muslim people groups on or near the island of Mindanao. The Lord has used the financial support of churches and individuals to prepare Filipino believers for ministry that multiplies, establishing His church in areas where, just a few years ago, no one had heard the good news. Would you prayerfully consider how He could you use you as well, by praying or giving toward the ministry of the LRF?

(Reposted from Christar, for FAQ and more info on LRF, see

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