The PMF Muslim Ministry in Mindanao
By: Dr. Joel B. Santos
Took Away Their 
Don’t Let It 
Take Away Their
Hope For The 

The Home of Enormous Conflicts:
Mindanao, Philippines

      Mindanao, the southern most part of Philippine Island, of which, with its 94,000 sq. km. is the second largest among the 7100 islands of Philippine archipelago.  At the time of Spanish colonization, Islam had penetrated many of the coastal communities of the major islands in the Philippines, including Manila.  Today, Muslims constitute about 5% of the 79 million of Philippine population.  Approximately 19% of the 21 million inhabitants of Mindanao are Muslims, according to the 2000 census.  Muslim regions in the Philippines are among the country’s poorest place and the social indicators (health, education) are among the lowest in the country.  
      Although Mindanao has comprised of only 26% of the whole population, this island is the most problematic place in the Philippines because it is the land of the bigger population of Muslim people.  And that, this region has been the center of gun fighting, bomb attacks, kidnap for ransoms, and political dilemmas that arouse the world.  It has been the subject of all sorts of controversial issues.  The world is keeping its attention to this place whose inhabitants are composed of different languages and culture merged together.  This place has always been displayed on television, newspapers, and aired over the radio all over the world.  These negative reports indicate that Mindanao is such a place too dangerous to live in and until now the prospects of peace in the Islands of Mindanao are very discouraging.   

The PMF Priority for Ministry: 
Muslim Ministry in Mindanao

     The continuous conflict between the Philippine government and Muslims in Mindanao is creating more prejudices and enmity in missions and that Christian missionaries lose their enthusiasm to work among the Muslims.  Nonetheless, the Lord always expects the saved people to go and tell the world His gospel.  However horrible the circumstances are, we know that the Lord can transform even the very worst situation into something better, and Through Jesus Christ alone the hope for peace in Mindanao will become possible.

     Believing what the Lord has in mind, PMF has strong determination to deploy its workers to work with the Muslims in Mindanao in obedience with God’s calling and to comply with the mission and vision of the organization. At the beginning of this fourth quarter of 2002, PMF will start to send out one (1) couple and one (1) single missionaries to Muslim people in Mindanao. Every year PMF envisions to produce at least two churches in Muslim areas. Its goal is to reach the unreached Muslim people in Mindanao and to establish church communities of baptized believers in the area through holistic ministries. However, missionaries should possess adequate training and skills so that the goal of the ministry could be achieved.  

The PMF Muslim Ministry is Centered 
on Helping Mindanao Children

     In 1997, PMF has targeted the island of Mindanao in bringing the gospel to the Muslims.  Rev. & Mrs. Roger Obe started the first PMF Muslim Ministry to the children affected by the gun battle in Lamitan, Basilan, the land of Muslim separatists and terrorists. 
     Direct evangelism is prohibited in the place, but they can reach out to families through this children’s ministry. They provided a house for  children who are indigent and deeply affected by war where they care, feed, and provide for holistic needs.  They also established a non-formal education to help these children get back their basic rights to education smothered because of ongoing conflicts.  And through this ministry, they can freely share the Gospel to the innocent children as well as their parents. At present, there are many Muslim orphans in the place but only 35 had been formally accepted because of financial constraints.  Nine (9) of them have accepted the Lord as their personal Lord and Savior.
     The reality of the situation of this place is not only felt in watching TV or hearing over the radio.  Rev. Obe’s ministry in Lamitan, Basilan is really affected and that his ministry could not be done in a permanent place. Three times in three years, the ministry moved from one place to another looking for a safer place during the war. In his reports, he said “our house was less than 100 meters away from the fighting scene and the second one was even closer, it was less than 50 meters away and our very room was directly hit by a bullet which created a hole of which a basketball could freely pass through.”
  While from their third house, he said, that they clearly heard the sound of the bullet from all over and many times they heard it fell on the roof of their neighbors.   Thank God, he added, “none of us was hit by the stray bullets.”  He also mentioned that he experienced to be detained by the military when searching for the Muslim group. 
     Serving the Lord in Mindanao is really very difficult.  Bringing the Gospel of the Lord in this place is like a military going to a battle that lives are always in danger. But according to Rev. Obe, “if you hear the laughter of these under- privileged children, you will forget your fear and this is the very reason why we are still here.  We have seen the body of many dead persons without the privilege of seeing the dawn of salvation in Jesus Christ.”

Help PMF’s Holistic Ministry
for Mindanao Children

      Sadly, it is the children who bear the consequences of the cruelties and negative effects of war and other acts of terrorism.
      Violence and fear have not spared the families and schools from these attacks.  Because of this, the Mindanao children’s basic rights to health nutrition and education are disrupted.  
      For these children, years of no schooling and vocational training take years to replace.  Their loss is a major obstruction that seriously hampers their ability to develop their way of life.      Education is a key social process in the return to civil society.  That’s why the PMF places the highest priority on education as an essential element in child’s learning and development. An orphanage can provide a safe place to share the Word of God, educate, socialize, and help the children foster a sense of routine and normalcy.
     However, the task of helping the holistic needs of the children in Mindanao is only a part of the story--the major challenge is to give these children a brighter hope for the future through PMF holistic ministry.  
      Please give these children the chance to live and grow in peace, health and dignity by making that contribution-- now!

       Give your donations to PMF’s Muslim ministry through the following channels:

       Philippine Missionary Fellowship, Inc.
       P.O. Box 3284 Manila              
       Tel/Fax No.  931-0064
         Rev. David Cohen
         CNEC-Partners International-Australia
         P.O. Box 67, Croydon Park 
         NSW 2133 Australia
        CNEC-Partners International-USA
        1313 N. Atlantic St.
         Suite 4000 Spokane, WA 99201
         Partners International-Canada
         8500 Torbram Road
         unit 48 Brampton, Ontario
         L6T 5C6 Canada

    Thank you for helping the ministry of PMF in Mindanao!