Open Doors staff are bringing aid to believers in the Muslim-majority region of Mindanao, southern Philippines, after 21 Christians were killed and 81 wounded in bomb blasts at the cathedral in Jolo.
As well as visiting victims in the hospital, Open Doors workers are providing financial help to some of the affected families. They are also starting to provide trauma care, focusing on some of the children who were affected.
'No' to hatred
The reason for the bombing is not yet fully known.
One of the victims sees it as an attempt to sow discord amongst the communities.
"It’s not grudges nor hatred," she says. "In my personal experience, I've seen how Christians and Muslims respect each other, showing love and peace to live together. But I think the intention of the bombing is to provoke both the Muslims and Christians to hate each other."
The Philippine government believes that the prime suspect behind the attack is the Abu Sayyaf group, an organisation that has pledged allegiance to so-called Islamic State. The Philippines is a region where Islamic extremists have been increasingly active. As identified in the 2019 World Watch List, as Islamic militants have been forced out of the Middle East, a lot of these fighters have moved elsewhere, taking their violent excesses with them.
Trust in God
Open Doors is continuing to monitor the victims and offer support.
"Many innocent lives have been affected because of greed, meaningless ideology, and people having no fear of the Lord," said a team member.
"Nevertheless, Jesus Christ encourages us: 'Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God and trust also in Me.' In this worst of times, we have someone who lives and dwells in us, who we can hold on to no matter what. God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?'"
- For the victims of the bombing and their families, that they will experience more of God’s presence, comfort and peace
- For the government, that God will give them wisdom and discernment on how to deal with this matter
- That the people of Mindanao will not allow this to destroy relationships and trust.