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.
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.
Married when he was just a teen, Asuncion and wife struggled to raise their babies but when sickness became routine, they found themselves unable to purchase medicine. “Our baby got sick a lot,” he says sadly, “and when we couldn’t give him the medicine he needed, we were desperate.”
“Then a neighbor of ours volunteered to take our child to their church for prayer. And, of course, we went along,” Asuncion recalls. This neighbor was a newly trained church planter who used Project Philip Bible studies to reach others in his community—in this barrio there were no churches and no hope for people like Asuncion.
“I just knew this would help my child,” Asuncion says, “and that’s why I started to study God’s Word in a Project Philip Bible study. I needed to find out how God can help my family, so this was my opportunity.”
Training to Help
As he studied, he began to understand how God’s love was his only hope. “I trusted God, and my life has not been the same,” he confesses. “Everything turned around for me and my family.”
Soon, Asuncion was telling others about his new faith in Jesus Christ, “and I needed help and training to do so,” he adds. “In my business, I am able to help other teens here find work, and I share with them how God helped me,” he offers. “When I am able, I lead a Project Philip Bible study myself.”
“Studying God’s Word with Project Philip Bible studies has changed my life,” Asuncion says, “and I am becoming a stronger man and a stronger Christian.”
The Malleco Province is the center of Chile’s painful conflict over land and resources, and the plight of the Mapuche indigenous people—the main indigenous population. They are an ancient people, and unfortunately, they have long suffered in the fight over land and resources.
Pastor Alberto is from here, and his new life in Jesus Christ began here, but it took a few twists and turns for him to return. “I first learned to study God’s Word right here using Project Philip Bible studies,” he says, “then I went away to study at school until one day a professor told me to go back home—to Angol, back to where I first met Christ, and serve there.”
The Power of God’s Word
“Because of the history of the conflict, the people in the community face a struggle,” Pastor Alberto shares, “and it always takes time for God’s Word to change people’s lives here.”
Quick to point out the sincerity of their interest in the Gospel, Pastor Alberto also knows the hardships they face. “The people here work long, exhausting hours in the fields or forests to make a living. They come to church tired, and need a simple way to learn and beat the fatigue they carry. Long sermons don’t work, but these Bible studies do.”
And he quickly adds, “Here, God’s Word is changing lives like never before. God is saving marriages, transforming the way parents help their children, and even after so much pain with the government and police, the people are forgiving and living in peace.”
“This is the power of God’s Word, and we’re so thankful for everyone who is helping the people find hope in this part of Chile,” Pastor Alberto says.