Friday, January 2, 2009

12/17 Binarioan, Poquey, and Centro

Mount Mayan - if you look closely, you can see the smoke coming from the volcano.

Sandwiched between the days of language learning, we accompanied the Hagens to the villages of Binarioan, Poquey, and Centro. The Hagens have a ministry in those villages. In order to get to the villages, we had to take a boat ride across a lake. It was a large lake with huts scattered over it. Apparently, they have pens in the water and raise tilapia. The huts provide a shelter for the men to sleep in to provide security during the night. The lake was smooth and the boat ride was pleasantly uneventful. (We were a little worried about it as we thought of the motion sickness during the bus ride.)
All Aboard!

Ben, Alayna, and Zach cruising the lake

It was exciting to see the church in each of these communities gather in houses and study the Bible together. So many of the things that come to mind with the word church were non-existent in this setting. They did not have a building, a choir, a youth program, a printed program or order of service. They did not even take up an offering. Instead, they read from the Bible and talked about what they read (as in group discussion, not one person saying everything and everyone else listening). First the story was read in Tagalog. Then restated in the local dialect becuase they don't have Bibles in their native language. Then they repeated the main points either by summary or by asking questions of people. Finally, they talked about what it meant and how what they read may apply to them. There was no dissection of the Greek or snappy power point. I loved when we went to Poquey. They did not have a scheduled worship time. Instead (I thought this was soooo cool) one of the believers had written a song in their own dialect and sang it for the group. They plan to all learn it so they can worship God together in their native tongue. Just the Bible and their own lives mixed together for a while so they could know God better and learn to live as His children.
View of the lake from Poquey
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against many of the things I mentioned above. They are good and useful. But as was discussed that day, having these things can take our time and resources away from the purpose we gather in the first place.
House church in Binarioan

Hiking from one village to another

While we were with Steve and Jen at the Bible studies, the kids played with the kids from the villages. They built shelters (the Americano kids must have come up with the idea of teepees though), climbed trees, and played in the stream.

Hanging out in the trees!

When we arrived at the location of the first Bible study, there were people gathered around a small shelter. In the shelter a lady and a man were taking turns stripping fibers from the bark of a tree. A machete had been arranged in a contraption that was tightened across the bark. Then the bark was pulled through it, leaving the operator with a length of coarse, blonde fibers. These were then draped over a line and dried in the sun. Adriana was interested in the process and asked if she could give it a try. We just slowed them down, but the people there got a laugh watching Adriana, then me, do our best at it. At least I had the advantage of a bit more weight in my backside than anyone there. I think everyone agreed it was best left to the experts.

By the time we made it to Centro for the Bible study, Annalise was wiped out. She actually stretched out on a dining table in the house we were at and tried to sleep instead of playing with the kids. But she was found out by the other kids so rest was not going to happen. In order to reduce the noise in the house, I grabbed my camera and went outside. (If you want to gather a crowd of kids taking their pictures and letting them see themselves on the display is a great way to do it.) They even had me record a movie of them singing a song. About that time, Lisa came out of the house and said that if I was going to make so much noise, I needed to move farther away from the house. (I guess bamboo and open windows don’t provide much of a sound barrier, who knew?)

Then it was time to go. For the trip back, some of the guys from the village gave us a ride. The lake was beautiful and we got to watch the sunset as we crossed.


  1. Great postS! Looks like a fun and very profitable trip. I really enjoyed the video of the kids singing. What a cool canoe? ride.

    What do they use the fibers from the bark for?

    Happy New Year!
    Holly Wallace

  2. The kids were fun. I have no idea what they are singing but they were eager to do it. I am not sure what they call the boat, but it was the typical style on the lake - not an aluminum jon boat to be seen. The fibers are used for weaving - purses, mats, etc. The left over stuff would be used to make paper.