The first outreach of MCN International was with the Subanen people of SW Mindanao, Philippines in 1987. MCN workers experienced a significant response to the Gospel by the Subanen and it soon became apparent that leadership and training was needed to help them begin planting churches in their villages and towns.
A search was made for a suitable Bible school for these tribal background people that could meet their set of special needs such as: .
By early 1989 it was apparent that such a school did not exist. So with little funds and no staff, MCN began the faith adventure of establishing such a school. A six Hectare (15 acre) piece of land in a Subanen area of Zamboanga del Sur was purchased, and we dedicated this as Mount Moriah Tribal Training School (MMTTS). Classes began in July of 1989.
An existing small thatch farm house was repaired and expanded to serve as the dormitory and staff housing. A bamboo, thatch, and dirt floor building was constructed to be the chapel/classroom/kitchen. Two teachers, who had just completed their three year Bible school study in Cebu, volunteered to become the first teaching staff. A curriculum was found that was in Cebuano, and written for students with just a grammar school education.
To address the fact that tribal students would come with little or no money to pay for education, a work-study policy was established as the property had farming potential Students are required to work on the school farm 4 hours day, five days a week and attend classes in the afternoon, five days a week.
On July 1, 1989 MMTTS began its first classes with 6 Subanen students (4 singles and 1 couple). It was a very shoestring beginning! The school was a ½ mile hike from the main road, there was no electricity, no running water, little food and lots of mosquitoes. However what was lacking in material supply was made up in zeal and spiritual hunger from the students and staff.
Today, MMTTS has electricity, running water, four permanent concrete buildings, a fairly constant food supply from the farm, a staff of three teachers and four helpers, and fewer mosquitoes. MMTTS is now a three year pastor training program. Over 50 tribal students have graduated from it, and have started over 25 churches. The focus is still on the special need of tribal students so only those from a tribal background are accepted.
The need of tribal churches to be planted in tribal communities across Mindanao is still huge! Subanen, Manobo, Higaonon, Mamanwa, Ata Manobo, Mandaya, Mansaka, Davaoeno, Mati Salug, just to name a few, are tribal groups where still relatively few churches exists that people of those cultures can hear the Gospel in their own language. MMTTS is committed to continue to provide a place where tribal background people can come to be trained for ministry.
MMTTS does need help to accomplish this. The work that students do on the school farm provides for their food needs. Other needs such as books, pens, paper, teacher’s funding, building maintenance, transportation, etc. are needs that MCN must provide to MMTTS each month to keep the doors open.