By Maria Elena Bicaldo
In Acts 1:8, Jesus Christ gives us clear direction where to spread the redemption message. After Jerusalem, we progress to Judea, Samaria, and until the Gospel reaches the earth’s periphery.
In response to this “Great Commission” to the church, the Tribal Mission Foundation International, Inc. (TMFI), a Davao-City based Christian missions organization has worked with local and international partners for cross-cultural evangelism.
Last July and August, TMFI and JECPP Southern Mindanao united to launch the Kairos Training. The training came with several external challenges. There was an increased military presence at Arakan Valley where the Evangel Tribal Training Center (ETTC) is located and armed conflict could erupt anytime. There was a possibility of the training being cancelled, until it was decided to move the venue to Evangel Family Church in Marahan. A place was built to accommodate the facilitators and participants with the ingenuity of Pastor Patrick Margate and with the help of church members. The team and participants were very grateful. Another challenge was the ambush of the Presidential Security Group by the NPAs that happened in Marilog District; the place was close to the church. Thankfully, the training was not disrupted.
The two-part nine-day course was a milestone not only for the 19 participants but also for the seven TMFI facilitators who conducted the entire training in the Cebuano language for the first time. Despite the participants’ limited access to reading materials, they were able to fully grasp the Cebuano-translated Kairos course which deepened their understanding on global missions.
To facilitate the reading, the participants were divided into small groups and each member took turns in reading out loud. This was followed by sharing of insights and learnings called Growth Point group discussion led by seasoned Kairos facilitators. “All participants read 100% of the materials. This is a first in my experience of conducting the Kairos,” shared Head Facilitator Sherelle Cotecson.
Joy and gratitude were evident among the 19 participants. Pastor Maximo Lasquiete said that God opened his understanding on what Jesus meant when He promised, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20, NKJV) to all who preach salvation in His name. He realized that Jesus is inviting him and other believers to reach out and bless the nations, like Abraham did. Before the training, Pastor Lasquiete said he did not even realize that there are so many unreached tribes.
For Pastor Mivelyn Margate, the course enabled her to gaze farther in the mission field. For almost 20 years, she has labored among the five tribes of the Matigsalog, Kalata, Obu-manubo, Tagabawa, and Kagan in the Arakan Valley, Davao region. She noticed that all villages in her place already has a Christian church. She was wondering where they are headed as a church or where to plant more churches. She was thankful that God enabled her to see the many cross-cultural ministry opportunities during the training. She believed that this cannot be done right away, but the church can begin praying, she said.
God’s heart for the nations and vision to bless the unreached peoples were planted among these harvesters. The Kairos team hopes and prays that God will enable the participants to grow beyond barriers and share this urgent message in their churches.