A whole family from a violent tribe in the Philippines have come to know Jesus during the pandemic. Here’s how they encountered Christ in lockdown.
The Santos family, in the Philippines, chose to start following Jesus during Covid-19 lockdown
You might struggle to think of anything good that has come out of this appalling pandemic. But, by God’s grace, there is amazing news for one family in the Philippines.
The Santos – not their real name – are from a Muslim tribe in the southern Philippines, in a Muslim-majority area. The tribe is known for its anger and hatred towards anybody who opposes them, and often retaliate violently or seek vengeance.
Like most of you, the Santos are having to spend a lot of time at home this year, particularly during the lockdown. Jose, one of their relatives, took the opportunity to organise a small house group with the Santos. As a Christian and a leader in his local church, Jose had long wanted the chance to tell his extended family about Jesus.
Each of the Santos family decided to follow Jesus, and decided to get baptised.
He started by sharing stories from the Bible and had open conversations about who Jesus is. These conversations led the family to ask more questions about Jesus and the life that He lived.
Over the course of several months, Jose continued to pray that each member of the family would have a personal encounter with Jesus. However much they learned about Jesus’ life, what they really needed was to discover Him personally.
Wonderfully, the whole family did exactly that. Each of them decided to follow Jesus, and decided to get baptised. Praise the Lord!
In their community, they couldn’t be baptised openly without fear of being persecuted. So they had to have a secret ceremony with local church leaders. And the way they did it, without raising the suspicions of local Muslims, was by diving into the water. It’s a pretty unusual way to get baptised, but it was still a really special moment for the Santos family.
They will continue to have their weekly Bible study and pray together with their small group leader, which will help prepare them for the trials to come. “It is not a bed of roses to follow Jesus,” said their leader.
Thankfully, the few Christians in this community have so far not faced violent persecution – but they are mocked for their faith, and shunned by some. But their relationship with Jesus has transformed them: “Instead they are learning to respond to such mockery with love, and extend love and forgiveness to those who oppose them,” said their leader.
Coronavirus is undoubtedly a terrible thing – but we know that God can bring blessings out of pain. The Santos family’s story of salvation is one of many hidden stories of how God is working triumphantly. Praise God. And thank you for your continuing prayers and gifts for the persecuted church during this ongoing pandemic.
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