A Chronicle of Renewal and Revival



A Manobo tribal group

According to reports, a local Philippines ministry spent eight months building a relationship with the Manobo tribal peoples in northern Mindanao. During that time, mission leaders held Bible studies, teaching chronologically through the narratives of the Hebrew Scriptures to the New Testament. Men, women and children began attending these sessions and expressed a tremendous thirst for the Gospel. “The week before presenting the Gospel lesson was a week of suspense,” said the director, whose name is withheld for security reasons. “Everyone was in anticipation as to what would happen to Jesus after He was arrested by the Jewish leaders. To make the teaching of the Gospel that night more vivid, the teacher inserted a brief video clip of the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus from the movie, ‘The Passion of Christ.'”

1 the-passion-of-the-christ-2004-crucified-1

The Passion of the Christ

After viewing “The Passion,” which depicts the final 12 hours in the life of Jesus, on the day of His crucifixion in Jerusalem, many of the villagers expressed anger at the mistreatment of Jesus by Jewish authorities and Roman soldiers. “One of the old men emotionally said, ‘How I wish I could be by Jesus’ side and help Him!'” But after the truth had been explained concerning the death and resurrection of Christ as God’s only provision for man’s salvation, a feeling of awe and amazement was felt. Moved by the sacrifice of Jesus, many of the villagers professed faith in His death and resurrection, and embraced Christianity. “Finally, after teaching over the past eight months from Genesis onward, we were able to present the Gospel, and nearly the whole village responded and trusted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour,” he said.


Manobo tribal people with World Vision

“It was a great joy for us to see them understand the saving grace of Jesus for salvation; some cried as they shared their testimony of faith.”  The next day, even more villagers shared how the Gospel had changed their lives. One elderly man who said he had put his trust in Jesus as the promised Messiah concluded, “He suffered so much for me. I’m glad He rose again from the dead.” One particularly heart-warming story came from an 84-year-old woman who said that she was grateful to hear what Jesus had done on the cross for her. She said that while she had little time remaining in this world, she knew that Heaven was her sure home because of what Christ did for her. “Many more Manobo, both children and adult, expressed faith in Jesus,” the ministry director said “Truly, God is at work in the lives of these people”

Source: Gospel Herald


Manobo tribal man

The Manobo are several people groups who inhabit the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. They speak one of the languages belonging to the Manobo language family. Their origins can be traced back to the early Malay peoples who came from the surrounding islands of Southeast Asia. Today, their common cultural language and Malay heritage help to keep them connected.

The most common lifestyle of the Manobo is that of rural agriculture. Unfortunately, their farming methods are very primitive. They grow maize and rice as their principal crops. Some of the farmers have incorporated plowing techniques, while others have continued to use the “slash-and-burn” method. Some use a farming system called kaingin. This is a procedure in which fields are allowed to remain fallow for certain periods of time so that areas of cultivation may be shifted from place to place. This is very inefficient since many plots of land are not being used at one time.

Social life for the Manobo is patriarchal (male-dominated). The head of the family is the husband. Polygamy (having more than one wife at a time) is common and is allowed according to a man’s wealth. However, among the Bukidnon, most marriages are monogamous. The only exception is that of the powerful datus (headmen).

The political structures of the Manobo groups are all quite similar. A ruler, called a sultan, is the head of the group. Beneath him are the royal and non-royal classes. Only those people belonging to the royal classes can aspire to the throne. Those belonging to the non-royal classes are under the power and authority of the royal classes. Each class is interdependent on the others.

The political aspects of life are often integrated with the social aspects. For example, many social events, such as weddings, require political leaders. Whenever there is a negotiation for marriage, both the bride and the groom must use the local datu (headman) to make all of the arrangements. So when their leaders embrace Jesus the tribe does also.

They are being told that there is a loving God who longs to make them a part of His family, that the “great creator spirit” is really a Father who cares for them. Prayer has the power to break through the strongholds of spirit worship. Intercessors are needed to daily stand in the gap and pray for the salvation of these precious people.

2nd part adapted from Joshua Project.

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