An interview with Mark Chapman, a missionary who tells of using Genesis to reach an animist people.
Russell Grigg: Mark, please tell us about the Tigwa people.
Mark Chapman: They are a tribe of about 10,000 animists who are part of the Manobo people group, living in the mountains on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. They plant corn, sweet potato, rice, and a few other vegetables, and they hunt in the jungle for wild pigs and small animals. For hunting, they use traps, spears, bows and arrows, and home-made guns. They make the latter from lengths of waterpipe, with match-heads for gunpowder, and bits of lead from old batteries for bullets, all held in with cotton wool.
What does it mean when you say they are animists?
Animism is the belief that animals, plants, and inanimate objects are inhabited by spirits. The Tigwas’ lives are ruled by fear of evil spirits (demons). Demons are often mentioned in the Bible, mainly in the Gospels, as causing some physical and mental disorders, possessing human beings, and opposing the work of God. We have seen examples of these things during our time among the Tigwa people. They worship the spirits of rocks, trees, and rivers, and so have direct contact with the spirit world.
They also consult witch doctors (shamans), especially before planting their fields, and after calamities such as sickness, which they attribute to the spirits. They then go to the shaman to find out how they may have offended the spirits and what to do to appease them.
Why do you call them ‘the people who walk backwards into the future’?
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