In 2008 God opened the door for us to work with children from a Least Reached People Group, the Badjao Sea Nomads. This “Folk Muslim” group is marginalised, being rejected by orthodox Muslim groups in the South. Landless and economically destitute, they have struggled to co-exist with the lowland Filipinos. Most live over the sea in stilted homes - their lives are dangerous and hard, their homes vulnerable to tropical storms and their children often malnourished and unhealthy.
In 2008, our team began meeting with a group of the Badjao children once a week for a hearty lunch, sports, literacy education and Bible teaching and worship. This ministry has blossomed and today we gather a group of the older children weekly for mentoring, study and livelihood training. Many of them show great promise in craftsmanship and practical skills. It is our goal to continue to support this community, and see many of them come to an understanding of the Gospel and be equipped to lead healthy and fruitful lives.
The Badjao are a semi-nomadic tribe spread across the Southern Philippine archipelago and Eastern Malaysia. Dubbed “Sea Gypsies”, their traditional way of life revolves around fishing, diving for pearls and ocean edibles, and selling their catch in port towns for a small income. With disappearing fish stocks and the uncertainties of the market, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the Badjao to sustain traditional ways of making a living, and thus part of our vision is to train up the children in a variety of livelihood skills. Many of the boys have been spending time with Dhong and Jun crafting coconut shells, which are in abundant supply in this part of the world, into marketable craft products.
We believe that it is time for the Good News to go out to every tribe and nation, and are thrilled that the Lord has given us a part to play in that vision through our friendship with the Badjao people. It is estimated that there are 116,000 of them in the Philippines, and around 55,000 in Malaysia. Join with us in praying that He will send out more workers for the Badjao, for the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. We are currently seeking to recruit two singles or a couple as long-term (5 years+) dedicated Badjao workers, to learn their language and advance this ministry.
For more information about the Badjao, please see the Joshua Project website.