March 27, 2012
Though the Philippines is a mostly Christian nation, Christians in the south face persecution and death where Muslims are trying to build an Islamic state, CBN News reports. This year, at least four house churches have shut down after their pastors and lay leaders were killed by Muslim extremists. Pastor Mario Acidre, a convert from Islam who boldly shared the gospel with his Muslim relatives and neighbors, was one of them; he was murdered in his own home shortly after telling some Muslim vendors he didn't believe in the amulets they were trying to sell him. The incident "triggered threats to other Muslims who converted," leading to several house churches closing down, said Pastor Edilberto Beira, coordinator of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Churches of the Philippines in the Muslim region. Acidre's widow and other believers, however, continue to worship at the only surviving Christian church in their city. Even though church attendance has decreased by 70 percent, Beira said he believes the church will prevail even if driven underground. "We are still confident that the work of the Lord will go on," he said.