Sarangani, Mindanao, South Philippines
Sarangani is a province in the Southern Philippines and is at the southernmost tip of Mindanao Island. Although the 200 people groups that live in the Philippines have similar cultures, there are still many smaller language groups that are scattered mainly on the islands of Luzon and Mindanao, and are primarily tribal in nature. One of these groups is the Bl’aan tribe, which RiverLife Church is currently reaching out to.
There are about 850 over Bl’aan tribal people living in the mountain ranges of Sarangani. Income is undetermined as they thrive by way of practising indigenous life. Since they live in inaccessible mountainous areas, a key challenge that the Bl’aan people face is access to healthcare and education. Most of the Bl’aan people are animists and still believe and practise indigenous rituals and customs.
In 2014 through the Holy Spirit’s leading, RiverLife started our first frontier mission work in Sarangani. The plan for a small and unassuming project – a simple pastors’ revival conference in April 2014 – eventually developed into a full-fledged revival movement that saw the gospel impacting the Bl’aan tribe in tremendous ways! Before 2013, most of the Bl’aan were practicing animists and only 4% were Christians. Today, about 80% of the tribe are believers!
So far, ten tribal churches have been planted by RiverLife among the Bl’aan community. Outreach efforts include organising children and youth camps, evangelistic rallies, medical missions, relief efforts, and equipping sessions for pastors and leaders.