PO Box 55938, Port­land, OR 97238 USA mcni.usa@gmail.com (559) 478-0252

Mount Moriah Tribal Training School

Mt Moriah Campus Church

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: .

  • Location:  Tribal people are not familiar or comfortable in cities or regions outside their own, so the school needed to be somewhere in Mindanao.
  • Academic:  Few tribal people have higher than an elementary school education.
  • Language:  Tribal people speak their own dialect as their first language and have learned Cebuano as their second or trade language, so the school must teach in Cebuano.
  • Affordability:  Most tribal people are subsistence farmers or hunters with little extra to spend on secondary education
  • Equality:  Tribal people are on the lowest end of the social ladder and are often discriminated against by the more dominant non-tribal population of the Philippines.

 

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.