Story Philippines | 06 October 2023

Former Muslims share faith in secret storytelling group


Show: false / Country: Philippines /
"God is always with us on our journey.” —Wahid*

Ten-year-old Wahid has already learned a powerful truth—words that he can cling to in the difficult times ahead. Where Wahid lives in the Southern Philippines, following Jesus can be an extremely dangerous pursuit. In the tight-knit Muslim community, anyone who leaves Islam for another faith can receive death threats and be disowned by their extended families and community.

That’s why God’s Word is so important to Wahid and the group of young secret believers and their parents who share the new stories they’re reading in the Bible. In these covert storytelling sessions led by Open Doors partners, these converts from Islam find both comfort and inspiration as they read the Bible together.

The group meets twice a month, sharing stories about the heroes of faith and how God takes care of His children. Each time someone tells a story, they learn how to disciple others, ensuring that everyone learns these important lessons. Faith*, an Open Doors local partner, shares: “At this very young age, there are dangers that they will face but these children don’t easily give up.”

Lately, the kids have read and shared about the story of Abraham and Isaac—and how God continued to care for Hagar and Ishmael in Genesis 21:8-27. “This story reminds the kids that even when things are hard, they can get strong by sharing their stories and knowing that God helps others through them,” Faith says. “By telling this story, they're not just talking about the past. They're spreading hope and understanding in their community.”

Wahid and Ramsi*, another young believer, resonate deeply with this passage. "God won't leave us, and He helps us when [we’re in] need,” Ramsi says. The secret meetings wouldn’t be possible without the support of the parents want to see their children grow in their new faith. “Even though there's danger,” Faith says, “the parents support their kids, showing how faith can help families stick together, cope and overcome tough times.”

Like beacons of hope

Looking ahead, the group wants to help even more people understand the Bible. More kids are interested in hearing these stories, and they want to reach out to them. The stories can help everyone see that we're all connected. Faith notes that in a region where danger and faith often intersect, these kids from this Southern Philippine tribe are like beacons of hope.

“Their whispered stories, admirable faith and unity show how people can be strong regardless of the circumstances,” she explains. Shamira*, one of the young participants, says she looks forward to each gathering and testifies to the power of fellowship. “I thank God for the times we meet,” she says. “I always wait for the day we come together again. It's amazing to know that God can do many things."

In this Muslim-dominated area where these gatherings take place, numerous secret believers know they live in a region where openly declaring their Christianity can lead to expulsion from their homes or even death. Because of your prayers and support, Open Doors’ local partners can provide valuable support to families in this community, not only through the secret storytelling sessions for kids, but also through a range of training programs including persecution preparedness training, discipleship programs, couples' seminars, health training and trauma debriefing.

Pray with us for your family in the Southern Philippines

• Pray for the safety and protection of these children and their families as they gather in secret to share stories of faith. Ask God to give them the courage, boldness and will to deepen their faith despite the challenges they face.

• Pray these gatherings would multiply throughout this part of the country and beyond and foster a deep sense of unity and mutual support among the participants. Ask that their shared stories and experiences would strengthen their relationships, helping them to overcome differences and challenges with love and understanding.

• Pray that God would use the faith of these young believers and their parents—and that the stories they tell will make a life-changing difference in the broader community.

• Ask God to bring more opportunities to share their testimonies and lessons with others, touching hearts and inspiring more individuals to seek faith, unity and hope in the face of adversity.

*name changed due to security reasons



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