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News / Thoughts

Philippines: Youth camps this month

April 11, 2016

“Lying has always been an issue for me. I have a hard time letting go of this habit, especially at home. I have to lie about attending church. My family doesn’t want me to attend, they say I am just wasting my time or that the church members tell me to do things I’m not supposed to do. But I am trying to surrender this habit to Isa (Jesus). That is how I will overcome it. I pray and ask God for forgiveness for lying. I also read the Kitab (Bible) to remind myself that I should trust Isa because He is the only one who can solve my problems.”
Nuraida*, attendee of an Open Doors youth weekend in Southern Philippines 

Being a Christian, and being young, can come with all sorts of pressures. Whether we’re based in the UK or the Philippines, like Nuraida, we can face some very difficult choices. Many young Christians in this region are forbidden by their families from going to church. Janina* knows this well. “My grandmother does not want me to go to church. She says that the church is for the ‘bisaya’, a derogatory term they use for people from the South who convert. I know that I should continue in my faith in the Lord because I know that this is the truth.”

Nuraida and Janina are like the many other young people who have turned their backs on Islam and have chosen a new life with Isa Almasih (Jesus Christ). But in doing so, they feel isolated, alone and in need of encouragement from other young Christians. Open Doors helps by working with local partners to organise weekend camps and retreats for young people to learn, connect and grow together.

Learning about God’s love

At the overnight camp, Nuraida, Janina, and thirteen others aged 13-18 were taught about more about Jesus, the Bible and how much God loves them.

Nhur-In Salih*, who went along, says “The blessings that we experience every day are proofs that God really loves us so much. In our community, other people say bad things about me, that I have become a bisaya. Add to that the financial difficulty my family is going through. The things I have learned here will really help me grow in the Lord.”

“I learned many things about God and how He created us to have a relationship with Him,” shares Aisa*. “ I will share what I learned here with my friends and to those who bully me because they have learned that I have followed Isa Almasih. I am happy to have spent time with my friends. I am blessed because they really welcome us and give us encouragements. That will help me stand in my faith when I get back to Basilan.”

Pray for camps this month

This April, there are several youth camps that for Muslim-background believers like Nuraida, Janina, Aisa, and Nhur-in Salih. One of the camp organisers has asked us to pray for the following things:

“Please pray for the campers as some of them will travel by boat to the venue. Pray for financial provision, and pray too for strength and wisdom for the organizers and our partners. We will need sensitivity, humility, and unity. Pray we will also be quick to celebrate the contribution of each member during and after the camp.”

“Pray that everyone will be protected from the effects of the extremely hot weather and the drought. The frequent blackouts will also pose a challenge for us. Pray for provision to cover the expenses. We praise God for donors, and we continually believe that more will come.”

“Lastly, please pray for security and everybody’s health since we are experiencing El Nino, an exceptionally dry season. Pray that no one will get sick.”

*Names and locations changed for the believers’ protection

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