Introduction / History According to literature, the Tiruray share a common legendary ancestry with the Maguindanao. They are said to be related to the Muslim Maguindanao. The Tirurays live in the district of Dinaig, south of the Cotabato River in southwestern Mindanao. They are divided into coastal, river and mountain groups. Coastal or lowland Tirurays have close contact with the Maguindanao Muslims and the "Christian" population. Many of them are modernized and have adopted them neighbors' culture. However, Tirurays who live in the mountains have remained to live in the traditional way.
Some of the Tiruray have moved to other areas. In 1974, Tiruray settlements were reported in Davao del Norte. Even if there is much influence from other cultures, they are able to maintain a distinct culture of their own, characterized by communal households, polygamy, and an indigenous moral-legal system.
Economic life of coastal Tirurays is centered around farming, hunting, fishing and basket weaving. They are known for their artistic skill in basket weaving in two-toned geometric designs. Those living in the mountains are engaged in dry field agriculture supplemented by hunting and gathering of forest products.
Modernized Tirurays have adapted to the political mainstream of their province/municipal/barangay location.
What are their beliefs? Indigenous beliefs and practice, customs and rituals are animistic. Tirurays who have close contact with the Muslim Maguindanao were influenced to believe the Islam faith. The Roman Catholics and the Episcopalian church have been working among them for a long time and many modernized Tirurays were influenced to believe. However many of them still keep the old beliefs and still practice indigenous rituals.
Tiruray's knowledge of Christianity comes largely from Roman Catholics, partly from Episcopal influence, and partly from other agencies. Many have turned away from animistic beliefs and were won to the Lord, discipled, and trained. Several churches have been established which are pure Tiruray churches and some have Tiruray pastors.
Prayer Points * The Tiruray are a non-Muslim cultural community. However, they are going through the process of Islamization. Pray that Christians will face the challenge of Islam - that they see the need to love and evangelize the Muslim Maguindanao and Muslim Tirurays.
* Islam propagation. Pray for God to open up the Muslim communities for the Lord Jesus.
* The Tiruray location is always considered a "troubled area". Pray to God to protect those that labor for the gospel among them, to open the hearts of the Tirurays and bless the efforts made to reach this people.
* Tiruray churches to be strong, and that Tiruray believers remain in God's keeping and not fall back into the old ways. Pray for these churches to be alive, dynamic and outstanding.
* Tiruray communities, families not yet reached. For God to stir up/mobilize existing Tiruray churches to minister, to reach the remaining unsaved Tirurays. * Pray for the availability of the Jesus Film in the primary language of this people.