Wood Backgrounds

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Isabella: Trip to the North of Luzon

I never intended to travel to the Northern Province of Isabella. I did not even know about Isabella. But when I met Pastor Rey at the YunJin Ministry Center in Manila, I could not turn down his invitation to see his Province. A plane ride later I found myself in the province of Isabella, the most rural place I had traveled to in the Philippines. I stayed with Pastor Rey in his home. During the four days I was there I traveled to four different churches speaking and sharing my testimony of how Christ came into my life. The four days in the rural farmlands can be summarized in one word: unforgettable. Here is a little bit from my experience....

I slept all night to the drizzle of rain on the sheet metal roof. The rain cooled the air down, making it fresh. I woke up early and had a quick breakfast. I drew water from the well for my shower and added boiled water to warm it up a bit. The service was not until 9am but left around 8am to be sure we had enough time to catch a ferry across the other river to Santa Maria, even though it is only 10 miles from the house to the church. The bridge we had crossed just 2 days earlier was no longer visible...the ferry was interesting. All 25 passengers loaded on, motor bikes and all into the 30ft motor boat. We chugged along about a foot above water. I learned firsthand why locals do not swim in the river during rainy season. I think the 5+ mile an hour current and slimy foam would make me second guess as well. The motor almost gave out a few times, which didn't seem to bother the man emptying out buckets of water that had leaked into the boat. We got to the bank, jumped out and jumped into the next mode of transportation--a trike. Rey, his family, myself, about three other people and the driver piled onto the scooter with re-bar side car then we arrived to the concrete chapel in Santa Maria 15 after 9. Worship was a mix of English and the local dialect. I shared what I had prepared; speaking as clearly as I possibly could. After the service we gathered behind the chapel at the Pastors make-shift living area and enjoyed lunch. We finished our lunch and then gathered back in the chapel to close for the day. The congregation of Living Springs Community Church demonstrated their appreciation for my visit when they asked to pray for me before I left. So, the pastor and his deacons gathered around me and we prayed. We embraced and said our farewells. Isabella how can I forget you!?

(Continued series from Joe who spent the summer volunteering in Manila)

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