Bible League International equips under-resourced churches with the Word of God in a way they can read, understand and share with their neighbors. These are the latest updates from our global ministry.
But with a believer from a nearby village being trained with Church Planter Training, things are changing in Akash’s village. “A man comes to our village often, inviting us all to study God’s Word by telling us that Jesus really loves us. This was new to me.”
“I admit that I always made bad friends,” Akash says, “and I was always lonely. I would always be in trouble but I didn’t’ know what to do.” For the first few Project Philip Bible studies, Akash sat quietly—taking it all in. “Then it hit me,” he exclaims. “I understood that I have sinned and there was God’s grace right in front of me in the Bible. Right then, I gave myself to God and prayed, because I am so thankful to Him for a new life.”
“Every day I am overwhelmed by what I am learning from God’s Word,” he adds. “And my friends—the ones who I thought were so bad—now I know they are just like me. But I didn’t abandon them. Instead, I am trying to show them how God’s love can turn around their lives.”
“God is working in my life and I am becoming the person God can use to help others understand the Gospel,” Akash says. “I’m young, but I’m getting ready. And I’m so thankful for those who send God’s Word to me in my village in Bangladesh. Please pray for me.”
“I grew up in the slums of Mathare—one of the oldest and worst slums of Africa. People live on top of each other,” is the way he describes it. There are more than 700,000 people crowded there, just three miles from Nairobi, the capital. It is plagued by disease, drugs, crime, and too many people living without hope.
“I grew up with just my mother, she was a Christian and we went to church, but soon I stopped caring and that’s when my life fell apart,” he continues. “I lived like everyone else in the slum–drinking, stealing, and addicted to drugs—it was too late for me.”
“Sitting alone on that bench,” he says pointing across the prison yard, “I realized how far I had drifted away from God. The next thing I heard was an invitation to join a Project Philip Bible study and I jumped at the opportunity.”
Eager to Help
As he listened, he heard the things he knew from his childhood. “But this time, I knew that I had to give my life to Jesus. Believe in Him. Live for Him. So I did that, and Jesus is my Savior,” he says boldly. “I am no longer the addict I used to be. Jesus has transformed my life, and I’m so happy today.”
An eager learner, Alexander also learned that he could help others understand the Gospel. “I learned how to lead others to Christ so their lives can be transformed like mine. Today, I’m the one asking others to come with me to Project Philip Bible studies, and when I’m released someday, I will do the same. I need to go back to the place I was raised and tell them how God changed me.”
It is another three hours’ drive up into the mountains of Davao, and at the end of the dirt road the eight hour hike begins to reach the tribal village of the Ata people. This isolated village survives by farming fruits and vegetables, they live in Nipa huts (small shelters constructed of vegetation), bathe in the small rivers nearby, and worship spirits according to their traditions.
“I was one of the first people here that God’s Word reached,” says Lablab, “and as soon as I heard the Gospel in a Project Philip Bible study, I believed.” He quickly adds, “But I had no way of going deeper, I didn’t have a Bible, and I didn’t know how to tell others about my new faith.”
What’s surprising is that Lablab was known and feared in the area. “I was a Commander of the Communist Rebels here,” he confesses, “and I lived a horrible life until the Gospel came to my village. It means a big change in my life, and I paid a price when I surrendered, but today I am free and ready to help others believe the Gospel.”
A New Life
“The first thing I was able to do after I surrendered was join a church where I received training as a Philip (a Project Philip Bible study leader), and next I started telling people about the Gospel,” Lablab says. “I listened, I asked questions, and I learned.”
Today, the former Commander Lablab is now Pastor Lablab—leading Project Philip Bible studies among the Ata people in this remote area of the Philippines. “To get us the Bible the people need, it takes hours of hiking, and the help of someone who sees that God’s Word can change me and everyone who believes in this village,” Lablab says.