Basic healthcare opens doors to ministry in a Filippino community.

By March 13, 2006

Philippines (MNN)–Mindanao is the second largest island in the Philippines, one of the three island groups in the country.

Many of the smaller islands are cut off from access to health care. That’s where International Aid steps in, serving six rural villages in southern Mindanao.

I-A’s Myles Fish visited the projects last month to see how the teams were faring. “Just on a very elementary level, training and hygiene, helping provide clean water, talking with mothers about nutrition for their children, providing training for the midwives, a range of different things.”

As their teams integrate, the hope is the program will grow. “That takes a little while to develop, so that’s the stage that we’re at right now.” Fish explains that between relationship and the need, community-based healthcare programs effectively opens doors.

Rather than an insertion, they’re looking at an immersion into the culture of the people they want to reach with the hope of Christ. “We’re doing that by having people actually going as couples actually moving into the community, setting up their own households and living the lifestyles of the people that they’re working with.”

That simple action speaks volumes, he adds. “As those relationships develop, we then will have an opportunity to not only demonstrate our faith, but to articulate it.”

However, because of the new awareness of terrorism, the area has come under scrutiny. Rural communities are a hotbed of Islamic terrorist activity. Mindanao appears to be a perfect recruiting center for groups like Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah.

While the I-A teams have not felt the direct impact of their efforts, please pray that the teams will be protected and that they will be able to continue their outreach.

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