Monday, September 15, 2008

Lunch in the Captains Quarters

The Am-Among Festival continues here in Bontoc. Today there was more dancing at the municipal plaza performed by area schools. It was an interesting presentation.

At the conclusion of the program, a westerner came up to me and introduced himself, Laurie. (Lawrence, when he was in trouble with his mom or when called by a telemarketer.) He had spent a number of years in the area beginning in 1959. He is a linguist who has published several dictionaries for the Philippine dialects. Originally from New Zealand, he spent some time in Hawaii (where his daughter was connected with YWAM), and now lives in Japan.

While talking with him, we were introduced to Julia. Julia (pronounced Hulia) invited us to join them for lunch at the Bontoc barangay offices. (The term barangay is similar to town or village.) There we were introduced to the Barangay Captain, Saturnino Fana-Ang, Jr. He is part way through his first 3-year term as Barangay Captain.

Over lunch we talked about some of his responsibilities. He hears cases and settles disputes between residents. One of his goals is to resolve the issues that arise before they escalate to litigation and need to be resolved in the courts. (This is even scriptural - something the western church could learn from.) We also talked about a few of the political issues facing the barangay. It was interesting to learn more about this aspect of life here.

Moreover, we enjoyed making new friends. It is amazing how hospitable the people are in this country. There we were, on the street, and were invited to join someone for lunch whom we had not met until about 90 seconds earlier. I look forward to getting to know Laurie, Julia, Rose, Tomasa, and the others we met as we spend more time here. (Tomorrow, Laurie will be giving us some tips that will help us with language learning.)

Before leaving the barangay offices I was able to pray that God would bless Captain Fana-Ang with wisdom as he serves the people of Bontoc.

Afterwards, Julia took us to her home and introduced us to her family and neighbors before we were on our way home. Again, the hospitality of the people here is incredible.

We are glad to be building relationships in our new home.


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