Philippines Missionaries Caught in Cross Fire

With communist rebel groups in the North and Muslim extremists in the South, Filipino Christians often find themselves in the cross fire of insurgencies, according to one of the first missionary agencies to support and promote indigenous mission groups.

Native missionaries working among tribal groups on the northern island of Luzon told Virginia-based Christian Aid that it is becoming riskier as communist rebels in rural areas increase their activities.

“Rebels oppose the spread of Christianity in part because they know faith in Christ makes their potential tribal recruits unwilling to fight,” the ministry reported.

According to Christian Aid, missionaries reaching Muslim tribes in the heavily Islamic southern Philippines live in constant danger. Some of the tribes’ religious leaders have threatened gospel workers with harm if they do not stop missionary work.

The ministry further reported that organized Muslim extremist groups pose a threat not only to Christians but to all residents of the southern Philippines. One native ministry leader told Christian Aid, “We are warned not to go to big establishments in order to avoid being victims of a terrorist attack.”

A series of suicide bomb attacks intended to take place over Easter were narrowly prevented after Filipino authorities uncovered the plot.

The ministry leader, who heads a Christian school for poor children, says such events “have fearful effects on the community: people panic, students don’t go to school, parents bring their children home from classes.”

Christian Aid is requesting for prayers for indigenous ministries throughout the Philippines as they carry on gospel work amid such upheaval.