Celebrate the New Testament in the Philippines

Celebrate the New Testament in the Philippines

June 21, 2024


Meet the Guina-ang Kalinga people.


On January 28, 2024, this universal word of praise rang out from the mouths of Guina-ang Kalinga people. But that’s where the similarities end. Hebrew is not their heart language. Neither is Filipino, the majority language spoken throughout the Philippines.

Guina-ang Kalinga is the language that speaks to their hearts—their innermost being. And now they know that God speaks their language too.

That’s because in January, the Guina-ang Kalinga gathered to celebrate the completion of the New Testament in their heart language! 

Watch the Guina-ang Kalinga New Testament Dedication

Who Are the Guina-ang Kalinga?

The Guina-ang Kalinga people live in a mountainous region of the northern Philippines. Most work as subsistence farmers, though some work as professionals in larger cities and abroad. 

Animism is woven into the tapestry of their long-held spiritual beliefs. In the past, they were headhunters and sought solace in rituals performed by shamans or spirit mediums. 

That all changed when missionaries introduced the Guina-ang Kalinga to the freedom of the gospel in the 1950s. Today, the community boasts a diverse Christian presence, encompassing Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, and members of the Church of Christ. But like any narrative of transformation, theirs is not devoid of challenges.

How God’s Word Brings Hope

For years, local church communities longed for Scripture in their language so they could experience the lasting peace and freedom found in God’s words to them. Even after Christianity was introduced, traditional animistic culture remained strong, often coexisting with Christian practices. Some Guina-ang Kalinga Christians still struggle to fully let go of their reliance on rituals. But Scripture in their own language, they can better shed lingering animistic beliefs. 

When translation work started, the community also expressed a desire to preserve and strengthen their language. Now with Scripture in Guina-ang Kalina, their language is protected from extinction, an unfortunate but likely outcome when majority cultures dominate a region. Preserving the Guina-ang Kalina language also anchors this community’s pride and identity in their culture.

But most of all, having heart language Scripture is fortifying their faith. Local churches wanted their members to have a greater understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. Now that the Guina-ang Kalinga have the New Testament, they can deepen their faith. Please pray that they will lean on the wisdom found in Scripture as they grow in closer communion with God and each other.

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Help Reach People Waiting for God’s Word

God’s Word changes everything. And everyone deserves to have God’s Word in the language they understand best. You can help make that happen.

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