Friday, April 18, 2008
This Kagayanen word means “to love” and it stood as the theme for our day which began early with breakfast and a devotional by Dr. Tony Evans. He enthusiastically spoke of the critical work of Bible translation and the foundational role of God’s Word in the heart language. He did not, however, stop there – rather, he reminded us that until God’s Word has done its work in the life of a believer and is manifesting itself in obedience, the translation is incomplete.
Interesting that he chose this topic on a day set aside for practical demonstrations of the love which Christ has for the people of Palawan province. Sa Bawa Wika’s leadership along with Filipino pastors and church leaders from Palawan prepared and lead six different events. Each of us who came to Puerto Princesa City for the Kagayanen dedication had the opportunity to choose one of these ventures and join in the fun.
The Kagayanen speaking community in PPC through a medical mission made possible because of a number of volunteer doctors and nurses, the donation of medicines and medical supplies from a variety of drug companies in the Philippines, and a host of volunteers. Guests were among those volunteers.
Another group was joined by nearly 200 youth of the area and, together, they planted cashew and jack fruit trees. Besides that, under the conviction that God desires to do a new thing in this area, they prayed that God would break the curse of the bole weevil that is infecting the mango trees here, making that crop impossible to export.
Children at two different day care facilities that serve the fishermen of Palawan were visited by a fourth group who prayed for children and parents and teachers, brought many appropriate gifts for the facility, and shared together in a simple program.
Another ministry to children that benefitted from a visit was one serving special needs children who are picked up at their homes, cared for and taught, and returned home again by a group of faithful volunteers. Some from our group joined then for the morning and connected with them through song, puppets, story and lots of hugs.
The final group who ministered to children joined women from a local church and served the children of prison staff and prisoners from a local penal colony. They shared games, story, craft, song and many giggles. I loved participating in this activity. The children – as I have found any group of healthy, happy children, were engaging and creative and delightful.
Also at the prison, a group helped disassemble a bamboo wall, participated in the ceremony to turn over soil and hand over a water filtration system to the prison authorities and then toured the prison and met many of the minimum and medium security inmates.
These two groups who served at the prison and the tree planters gathered at the prison for a lunch prepared by a pastor in that prison community where families live with the inmates (this was started early last century by the US as an experiment – turned over the Filipino government and which continues to run with good success. Our lunch included small crabs, coconut milk through a straw stuck into the coconuts freshly picked, and a salad made from a large flower-bud like “heart” of banana. And rice, there is always rice.
There were a few free hours in the afternoon – different people took naps, explored the crocodile center, shopped at a cultural craft fair at a local church and sat in the lobby and drank coffee.
The day had been HOT and full of energy-draining activity which was also energizing – so most of us needed some kind of rest in the afternoon before the evening banquet where celebrated the day with testimonies and photos and a great meal (as they all have been).