The Greatest Journey Transforms a Village in the Philippines
Bibit is excited to know more about God. Because she never learned to read, she listens intently as her seventh-grade daughter Mylin reads the Bible to her. Not that long ago, Bibit would never have been interested in hearing God’s Word. But that changed when Mylin began following the Lord.
An evangelical church in the nearest town had committed to bringing the Gospel to Bibit’s remote village in the southern Philippines. They put together an outreach event where Mylin received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift. She was then invited to attend our discipleship program. By the end of the 12 lessons in The Greatest Journey, Mylin and more than 40 children in her village had prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Bibit, like most everyone in her village, was involved in cultic practices brought in by a false teacher and had not heard about the Good News. She soon wanted to know more about the God who changed her daughter’s life.
The Greatest Journey Leads to Salvation
Bibit and Mylin live in a poor, out-of-the-way village of the Iraya tribe, just one of several groups that make up the Mangyan people of Mindoro island. The Iraya are considered unreached because less than 2 percent of them are Christian. Though Mylin had never before heard the Bible stories taught during The Greatest Journey, she came to faith quickly. “Jesus changed me,” Mylin said. “I’m learning to trust the Lord.”
Mylin and the other children were so excited to learn more about the Bible that they wanted to continue studying after The Greatest Journey. So, Toti Ramos, the pastor who brought Operation Christmas Child to this area, continues to come to the village every week to disciple the children and parents. Through those classes, adults like Bibit were introduced to God and many became Christians. “I accepted the Lord here,” Bibit said. “I wanted to go to heaven.”
A Radically Different Village
God used Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey to not only transform the lives of individual children and parents, but to change an entire village. Even the village chief, Laudie, is now a Christian. “My heart became soft,” the chief said. “Jesus is the One who changes you. Jesus can heal my soul.”
Bibit explained that the Gospel has brought remarkable changes to their village. “Before [The Greatest Journey] this was a silent village. Now, the children and parents are active. They are happy,” she said. Alcoholism is less prevalent in the village. Children better obey their parents, they are kinder toward their siblings, and they behave well in school, where attendance has dramatically improved.
The weekly Sunday worship and teaching has been held outside at the village chief’s house, but with the gatherings so well-received, the village wants to construct a church building so they can meet even during bad weather. Samaritan’s Purse is helping fund the construction, and earlier this year staff traveled to the village for a time of prayer and dedicating the building site to God. “I am excited about a church building coming—I never thought it would happen,” Bibit said.
Pray that God will use Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey to spread the Gospel among unreached people groups across the world. For more information, visit samaritanspurse.org/occ
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