In February the Secretary of the Global Recordings Network, Alex Shaw, visited the Gospel Recordings Centre in the Philippines. The work began there in the days of Joy Ridderhof, but the national office was not established until the 1980's. Absalom Mariano is Director; Jurine Tolentino is the recordist, with Dean Gudes is the promotions officer and distributor. There are 168 language groups in the Philippines, a number of which are still unreached with the Gospel in their own language.
Alex writes, "The power of the volcano, Mount Pinatubo, was very evident as we drove from Manila to Bataan Province. Rivers were silted up almost to bridge level; concrete walls, once houses, barely visible above the ash and silt.
On top of one of the hills inland from the town of Batanga stands a huge cross - a memorial to the end of the Second World War. In a sense, a war is still going on in this region - a fight for the souls of men, women and children. In the surrounding hills live the AETA:Bataan people. They are a small language group numbering about 600 who have no Scriptures. They are one of the groups which the 'PROJECT TAILENDERS' is targeting. This GRN project seeks to record the Gospel for language groups with under 10,000 speakers who have no Gospel witness in their own language. Rev. Jurine Tolentino recently recorded the Gospel message in this language.
Jurine and Absalom took me to visit one of the AETA villages to distribute the recordings. En route we had to check in with the local council office to get permission from the Captain for the distribution. Once these formalities had been completed we were able to proceed with a council policeman to escort us.
On arriving in the village a crowd quickly gathered. Jurine explained why we had come. There was a time of preaching and playing the cassette on the hand wind cassette player. The people listened intently. It was important to recognize the village elder, so Absalom, as the Director of Gospel Recordings Philippines, presented him with a hand wind cassette player and cassette in his language. Many other cassettes were then given out to the people. The AETA people are poor mountain dwellers so the team also gave them some used clothing and salt.
There are many other groups in the Philippines like the AETA. The GR team has plans to reach them for Christ in their own languages. On Luzon Island they are partnering with another mission. Volunteer doctors and nurses from Manila visit village areas to run clinics during the day and to share the Gospel in the evening, leaving behind the GR cassettes.
Let us join the Filipino team in praying - for new workers; for a large increase in local prayer supporters; for Rev. Dean Gudes as he seek to promote the ministry to Christian organizations; and for the Lord to guide in recording and distributing cassettes in a major outreach into Mindanao Province."