The children at a VOM-supported home in Mindanao, Philippines, all have one thing in common. They were brought there by local pastors, working in areas where Christians are most at risk.
In the Muslim-majority region of Mindanao, Muslim groups and the government have engaged in a long-standing conflict over the Muslims’ desire to form an independent Muslim state. Islamic extremists routinely threaten Christians, often driving them out of Muslim-majority areas, and many pastors and believers have been killed.
Another terrorist group, known to burn down churches and attack Christian homes, is the communist New People’s Army (NPA). The NPA is the armed wing of The Communist Party of the Philippines, which seeks to overthrow the Philippine government in favour of a new state led by the working class and to expel US influence from the Philippines.
Thousands of children have been orphaned or abandoned as a result of extremist attacks.
Pastor Jacob and his wife are just two of a significant number of believers, who have remained in Mindanao to share their faith. They run the VOM-supported ministry centre, where they care for a number of children in need.
Most of the children have lost parents in Muslim extremist or NPA attacks. The others were abandoned by their parents due to abject poverty.
Reymart, who is from the Caraga Region, was brought to the home by a pastor working in the area. His father was killed by the NPA when he was 12 months old. Shortly after his father was killed, his mother left him in the care of his grandmother. She found herself unable to care for him and went to the pastor for help.
Justin is from north Cotabato. His father was killed by Muslims when he went into a Muslim-dominated area. He is from an extremely poor family. He was brought to the home by a pastor.
Apple was also brought to the home by a pastor. She had been abandoned by her father due to extreme poverty.
These are just some of the children in the care of Pastor Jacob and his wife. The children are well cared-for, receive a Christian education and practise daily devotions.
Over the past ten years, Pastor Jacob and his wife have cared for many children. Some have gone on to attend a VOM-supported Bible college nearby in the hope of becoming pastors themselves.
Each year VOM Australia helps Pastor Jacob to provide these children with necessities including food, clothing and school fees. They are most grateful for the support we provide.
Thank the Lord for Pastor Jacob and his wife. Pray the children they care for will grow in knowledge and understanding of God, and love and serve Him all their lives.
This year, we are planning to distribute Christmas Care packs in six countries, including the Philippines.
If you would like more information on our Christmas Care project visit vom.com.au/christmascare