Earlier this month I was the guest at a board meeting of an association of 180 churches. In the 1950s God used OMF to plant the initial churches amongst the six Mangyan tribal groups in Mindoro. The church association was formed in 1971.
Few OMF workers now remain in Mindoro as disciples are making disciples and churches are planting churches themselves. This board helps to lead and coordinate all of that.
One of the many items on the agenda of this meeting was the association’s missionary sending. There was a report: “Missionary numbers are down a bit. However, praying for and recruiting qualified missionaries was ongoing, with some improved procedures.” One missionary wife has a tumor – concern was expressed, the Board was assured of good medical plans in place, and she was prayed for.
Someone asked: “How long do missionaries need to stay? When can they say that the job is done and the missionaries can come home?”
The question was asked because the board was aware of how much sacrifice the missionary, the missionary’s extended family, the sending church, and the church association has to make in being and in sending a missionary. The board expressed its responsibility to care for its missionaries. It is a good board, with spiritually mature leaders.
The board meeting took place in a basic multipurpose building and with chickens, dogs, lizards, mosquitos, cats, and children wandering in, out, and around. The agenda was on a chalkboard, written in real chalk. There were no written reports. Nor were there notebook computers on the table. A heavy downpour caused so much noise on the tin roof that the meeting was adjourned for about 20 minutes until the rain stopped. The smoke from the wood fires used to cook our food caused our eyes to water. Few of the board members were graduates of secondary school. All are farmers.
This is the board of the Mangyan Tribal Church Association, in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. They sent their first missionary from Mindoro to an unreached tribal group in the Philippines in 1978.
OMF is gradually phasing out of its Mangyan ministries in the Philippines as the Mangyan tribes have a strong church and are reaching out to other tribes on their own. The Mangyan Tribal Church Association is uneasy about that. They want OMF involved in decision-making and in the missionary sending process. They are not sure that they can handle it on their own. Please pray for this board to continue to grow in trusting God for its future so that the board and the church association it leads may grow stronger and stronger, by God’s grace, in reaching their fellow Mangyan, in missionary sending, and in other ministry opportunities.
By Jay Hallowell
OMF Philippines Field Director
Will you pray for Workers in New Communities?
- Give thanks for how the Mangyan Tribal Church Association has been missionaries to unreached tribal groups, passing on the blessings of the gospel they have received.
- Pray for the board of the association, that they would grow in trusting God for their future and rely on his wisdom in all their decisions.
- Pray for the tribes the Mangyan missionaries are reaching – that they would go on to share the gospel with other groups too.