Mindanao is the historic homeland of the Filipino Muslims, of which there are thirteen distinct people groups. Two of these, the Magindanao and the Maranao, have been highlighted in this Muslim prayer focus in past years. A third large group, the Tausug, also numbers close to a million people. These three comprise almost 3 million of the 5 million Muslims in the Philippines. The other 10 groups are significantly smaller (some less than 50,000 people) but are still precious in God’s sight: Badjao; Sama; Iranun; Yakan; Bangingi Sama; Kalagan; Jama Mapun; Kalibugan; Sangil; and, Molbog.
The Mindanao in the 1300′s
Islam came to the Philippines in the 1300′s, well before Roman Catholicism. It is said that when the Spanish fleet was anchored off the coast of southern Luzon in the early 1500′s, the commanders paid homage to the Muslim Sultan ruling Manila at that time. Indeed, had it not been for the arrival of the Spaniards, it is believed that all the Philippines would have become Muslim, as did major parts of Indonesia and Malaysia.
While most of the Filipino Muslims are historically fishermen or agriculturalists (rice and coconut cultivation), the dawning of the new millennium has brought about opportunities for Muslims to advance in Philippine government and industry. Many Filipino Muslims aspire to go abroad as Overseas Contract Workers (OCW’s), especially to Saudi Arabia, where they can ‘make their fortune,’ participate in the pilgrimage to Mecca and become Hadjis, and then return with acquired wealth and status that is a high cultural value for them. Some Filipino evangelicals have become OCW’s as “tentmaking missionaries” in the hopes of witnessing to Muslims who otherwise might not get the opportunity to hear.
Encouraging News among the Mindanao
There have been encouraging breakthroughs, especially amongst the Badjao, the Maranao and, recently, the Magindanao, but the work has seemingly only just begun. Many Filipino evangelicals are sensing the call of God to be cross-cultural missionaries to their own Muslim ‘cousins,’ and this is an encouraging trend. There is still need for more workers, however, whether ex-patriate or Filipino, to go into this vast harvest field. Please pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send more workers into his field.
Pray for Mindanao Muslims in the Philippines:
* Pray for each of the Filipino Muslim groups individually. Ask God to establish His kingdom among these groups and for His glory to be revealed through them.
* Pray for labourers to be leased into the harvest field of the Philippines.
* Pray for the leaders of the Mindanoa region to govern with righteousness and justice. Pray that they would serve their people in all their decisions.
* Pray for God to establish His church among the Muslims, that it would be made up of people of faith and courage. God desires to raise up people who will share their faith and reach out to those in need.