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Jason and Shirley have spent 30 years working among the Tala-andig people in the Philippines. The following is their story of how God prepared them for reaching these people and how many of them came to know the “One True God”. It is a story of patience, commitment and trust in God who called them to these people.

Our journey with God began when we were teenagers. While we were both attending Bible College we found that God was drawing us to Himself through the wonderful life transforming truths that were opened up to us from His Word.

Near the end of our time in Bible College, God encouraged us both individually regarding what we had learned. Were we willing to go and tell others about the awesome truths that we had learned? Our response was “yes.” When we first said “yes” to the Lord, little did we realise that we were about to embark on a life-time journey with the Lord.

Missionary training followed our time in Bible College and then later training in language and culture acquisition. We later headed out to the Philippines to a people group who were very isolated. Their language was not written down. They were animistic. They were nomadic. They had no knowledge of the One True God. An impossible task? Definitely impossible humanly speaking! But with God all things are possible.

It is God who decided that there would be people from the (Eastern) Tala-andig people group that would be part of His kingdom. He invited us to be the channel through which they would hear the good news of Jesus Christ. After learning two languages and going through some very hard times of testing, God opened up the way for us to enter the isolated forest world of the (Eastern) Tala-andig people group.

The trip into the mountains to where the Tala-andig people were located required two, sometimes three days of grueling travel from the coast, on public transport and then logging trucks, followed by hiking many hours even further into the mountains.

Our house was made of leaves and bark and bamboo with limited walling. Since the Tala-andig people are nomadic people, at first it was not possible for us to actually visit them in their homes. Our house was situated on a main trail where they often stopped by to see us. They shared their food with us which consisted of sweet potato, pumpkin, rice, monkey, frogs, wild boar and birds of all descriptions. They ate with us, slept in our house, accepted us into their tribe, told us about their spirit worship and told us their deep thoughts and fears. We gave them salt, matches and soap, helped them when they were sick while we learned their language and built friendships.

junle2-176x113We found that it took time to earn the right to be heard. We learned that it would take time to teach them God’s Word. Their world view needed to be challenged and they needed to be able to understand the whole story before they could enter into a relationship with God and grow spiritually after they become believers.

In the beginning and for many years, there was a spiritual darkness and opposition to the truths of God’s Word that were taught. But now many of those who refused to listen are now being taught by those who did listen and believe. After all these years, what God intended for the (Eastern) Tala-andig people is only just being realised? The people’s once unwritten language is now read daily by them in the form of the completed New Testament and parts of the Old Testament along with many teaching materials. In the middle of the jungle there is now a functioning New Testament church with Bibles, Bible curriculum, church leaders, Bible teachers, and missionaries reaching out to other areas. We give thanks to the Lord for the years He has given us to be a part of what He is doing in this small corner of the world.

 

Tags: Jason and Shirley | Philippines | Tala-andig

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