Philippine tribal people embrace Jesus Christ after hearing Gospel and viewing 'Passion of the Christ' movie

Children in a remote area of Mindanao, Philippines help gather coconut leaves for a church building that was destroyed by arson on Christmas Eve.(Christian Aid Mission)

Things will never be the same again in a far-flung village in southern Philippines after missionaries from the Christian Aid Mission brought the light of Christianity to tribal people who have known only spiritual darkness.

A local ministry from the Mission spent eight months with the Manobo tribal community in northern Mindanao, holding Bible studies and chronologically teaching the narratives of the Hebrew Scriptures up to the New Testament. The local evangelists also screened portions of the 2004 Mel Gibson film "The Passion of the Christ" which greatly affected the people of the village, The Gospel Herald reports.

Whole families attended the sessions and were particularly riveted by the accounts on the pain and suffering endured by Jesus Christ culminating in His crucifixion.

Those who attended the sessions expressed tremendous thirst for the Gospel, according to a report from Christian Aid Mission, an organisation dedicated to assisting and promoting native missionaries overseas.

"After consistently teaching over the past eight months from Genesis onward, we were able to present the Gospel, and nearly the whole village responded and trusted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour," said the ministry director, who requested anonymity. "It was a great joy for us to see them understand the saving grace of Jesus for salvation; some cried as they shared their testimony of faith."

The villagers shared how the Gospel had changed their lives. One elderly man who was evidently touched by the sacrifices of Jesus Christ, said, "He suffered so much for me. I'm glad He rose again from the dead."

"Many more Manobo, both children and adult, expressed faith in Jesus," the ministry director said. "Truly, God is at work in the lives of these people, moving them from darkness to light, into His eternal kingdom."

After watching "The Passion," which depicts the final hours in the life of Jesus Christ, many of the villagers became emotional. Some expressed anger at the mistreatment of Jesus by Jewish authorities and Roman soldiers.

"One of the old men emotionally said, 'How I wish I could be by Jesus' side and help Him!'" the ministry director said. "But after the truth had been explained concerning the death and resurrection of Christ as God's only provision for man's salvation, a feeling of awe and amazement was felt."