Except for those that I am really close with, not many people know that I love going to church. I became a Christian after I was discharged from the Academy and everyday that I stay here as a is a blessing to me. Every now and then I get to learn things that touch me in a very special way. The little sharing this morning was one of it.
Our guest was a new officer assigned here with us who just came from Lanao. He is founder of a foundation called Project ISLAM (for I sincerely love all muslims). He shared with us a video documentary of this project and how it has affected lives of our muslim brothers. And I was very touched that I wanted to be assigned in Mindanao immediately after graduation to help in that project.
The Project was a brain child of a Christian Pastor by the name of Florentino de Jesus who was deeply concerned with our muslim insurgency. He advocated that the only way to solve this problem is for the Christians to show genuine love to our muslim brothers. He spent 40 years trying to make something out of this vision but it just wasn't time. But this did not mean that his prayers were not heard by God. It was because of his dedication to this vision that one military officer by the name of Col Macaranas was convicted to commit to this cause. And so he did.
In 2000, when the government declared an all out war against the MILF rebels, many muslim communities became helpless victims to the ravages of war. Many of them were displaced and some even lost their lives. Their livelihood was destroyed and they were further shoved deep into poverty. This is where God started to work through Project Islam. In an onbscure town called Debalayan in Lanao Del Norte (or Sur, i'm not sure anymore) a group of soldiers started to rebuild what was destroyed by the war. They rebuilt houses for the muslims, gave clothes and fed them. This was something that the muslims of that community did not really receive so well for they were suspiscious that the Christians just wanted to convert them. The breakthrough came when they built a mosque for the people in that community. As the documentary would put it, it was perhaps the first mosque built by Christians. After this the muslims began to open up and all the suspiscion were lost. Now the Debalayan town is back on its feet but this time has felt the love of Christians. They have come to understand that although they differ in religion, they in fact worship one true God (it will take a lot of time to explain why is this so, maybe next time). Project Islam continues to support the community by sending some of its children to schools so that they can lead their community into further improving their lives.
The message of that project was very simple, that love begets love. War can not be solved by waging war but through its antidote, loving one another. If war is a solution then we certainly could have ended this problem. The example of Project Islam is an illustration of the power of God's love that just changes the heart of people, conquering religious barriers and making this world a better place.
As I said, I was touched by that project and I am thinking of interviewing that officer so that I can write something up for the Corps Magazine to spread the message of Project Islam further. But the message is clear love begets Love