Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sharing Jesus with "Sea Gypsies"

Love In Action continues to reach previously unreached people in the Philippines, especially among Muslim tribes. We have a new and exciting opportunity and challenge to reach a tribe of Muslims who are considered outcasts. In fact, they are often referred to as “Sea Gypsies.” They are also called “Palau” or “Lumaan,” both of which means “godforsaken.” They need to know that God has not forsaken them.

Recently we were able to send one of our indigenous pastors and a team to an island in the Sulu Archipelago of the Philippines (the southern most part of the Philippines). We keep the names of the pastors and the island anonymous because of the dangers that exist due to Islamic extremists who thrive in those areas.

According to the Joshua Project, the Sama Badjao are people nobody wants. Badjao means "man of the seas." By tradition, the people are sea nomads, traveling by boat from one island to the next in search of a fishing harvest. Many now live in small homes on the shore, but some still live in their boats.

The Sama Badjao tribe is an unreached people group, meaning they have not been reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The religion of 99.90 percent of the Badjao is Islam. This group of people has very archaic beliefs as well.

One of the Badjao’s beliefs and traditions is as soon as a girl has her first menstrual cycle, a marriage is arranged. Another Badjao belief and tradition is when an elderly person becomes ill, they are taken to a deserted island and left to die.

Our indigenous pastor ministered the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a village of Badjao people this past weekend, and 27 people decided to follow Jesus and were baptized. Elders of another Badjao village heard what happened and want to hear more about Jesus.

We have the opportunity to tell the Badjao people they are not forsaken, but very much loved by Jesus; that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:14). We have the opportunity to build a ministry center where we can hold church services and provide discipleship training. This center will also be used to educate the Badjao about medical help that’s available for the sick, and about why a girl has a menstrual cycle and that it is not a sign that she is ready to be married and be with a man. We can provide other forms of education as well at this ministry center.

We have the volunteer labor to build the center. We just need $1,250 to purchase the materials. That’s it. Can you help? Please mail your tax-deductible donation to: Love In Action International Ministries, P.O. Box 85, Dothan, AL 36302, and in the Memo of your check write “Badjao center.” Or, you can give online by clicking on the  "Donation" button below:

This is an amazing opportunity to reach a previously unreached people group, and a tribe that is shunned by society. Let’s show them and tell them of the love of Jesus Christ.