|Martha sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a dangerous region in Zamboanga City.|
|People in an area in Zamboanga City gathered on a basketball court to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.|
This happened as we ministered in a barangay (town) in Zamboanga City. The presence of the Marines and police was due to the fact this barangay is a well-known stronghold for the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), an Islamic terrorist group. The MNLF attacked the “City Proper” of Zamboanga City last September in what is referred to as the six-week war. The Philippine military is still looking for some rebels involved in the attack.
Why were we there? The people need to know about the love and peace of Jesus Christ. Everyone needs to hear about Jesus and have a chance to respond to the Gospel, even in the dangerous areas. Jesus says He sends us out like “sheep among wolves.” (Matthew 10:16) He never promised that we would share His message in nice comfortable and safe buildings.
Martha and I had never preached where military and police protection was needed, but this was an area we knew we had to share the Gospel. At least a dozen people responded to Jesus, and a lot of seeds were planted. I think we even shook hands with some of the terrorists and told them that Jesus loves them.
Jesus loves terrorists? Yes. He doesn’t love what they do, but He wants to forgive them and save them just like everyone else. Remember, Jesus said, “whosoever.” Someone just has to tell them. We pray those seeds planted will grow into a great harvest.
Zamboanga City had been on my heart for three years, and we had the great opportunity to visit the area twice during our mission trip to the Philippine island of Mindanao.
The results? More than 300 decisions for Jesus. Will this make a difference? Yes it will. These people not only decided to repent and confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, but they want to follow Him, live for Him. We can help them.
Our indigenous pastors and church workers do an incredible job of follow up after evangelistic meetings. They write down the people’s names, addresses and phone numbers. Then they follow up with Bible studies in houses. That leads to building churches.
The problem is our indigenous team has very limited to no resources. The people in Zamboanga City are already showing up at house church services. They are hungry for the Word of God. We have an opportunity to build two churches now. We need $3,000 to build both of them. We already have the land, and here’s how that happened.
A mother and daughter who were Muslim gave their lives to Jesus. They have a house where a young pastor leads Sunday services and Bible studies. The response to the Gospel is so great they can’t all fit in the house, so services are held outside. They have given that lot to us to build a church. Their congregation grew while we were there.
After preaching, a young couple gave their lives to Jesus and wanted to be baptized. We walked down to the sea shore and I had the great privilege of baptizing them in the Sulu Sea, which is the Pacific Ocean. Along the shore lives people from the tribal group “Yakans.” Their huts are right on the shore and they fish for a living.
The Yakans watched the baptismal service. We greeted them afterward and shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. They responded. Now, 13 of them want to be baptized. All of the Yakans showed up Sunday morning for church. We need to build a church there. It rains a lot in the Philippines, and they won’t be able to have church services and Bible studies on rainy days.
Another area in Zamboanga City where we saw a great response was in a barangay that has a refugee camp. They are refugees from the six-week war. Their homes were destroyed, and for some of them, if their homes are still there, it’s still not safe because of the MNLF rebels who are in the area.
We ministered twice in this area, and more than 200 people made decisions for Jesus – children and adults. One teenager who attended the first service was so excited that he brought his Muslim mother, father and brothers to the second service. The Muslims are responding to Jesus. They see the love and hear the truth of the Gospel, and they are accepting the Gospel message. After hearing the truth and seeing the love of Jesus in all of us, they realize Jesus really is the “way, the truth, and the life.”
After our first service there, we met with the top barangay official and prayed with her. She was tired, hurting, and requested prayer for love, peace and understanding. Martha did a wonderful job of ministering to her one-on-one.
The officials had a meeting and decided to donate land for a church next to the basketball court we ministered at, just outside the refugee camp. They said the American missionaries came to them with no fanfare, but showed love and helped the people, so they need to help us. Praise God!
These are two churches that will reach hundreds of lives. A $3,000 investment is very inexpensive to reach this many unreached people. Can you help? If you can, please send your tax deductible donation to: Love In Action International Ministries, P.O. Box 85, Dothan, AL 36302, and in the memo of the check write “Zamboanga churches.”
God continues to touch and transform lives through what I’m calling the “Great Mindanao Revival.” Unreached people groups, including hundreds of Muslims are coming to Jesus. We must continue to push forward with resources to continue to spread the Gospel for the sake of souls and make disciples.