Maligcong is famous for the terraced mountains that surround its three sitios. You can see more pictures of this beautiful area at our post, Stairways to Heaven.)
At the beginning of the service, they have a Sunday School for all of the children. Alexie read a story from Read-Aloud Bible Stories. It was not something we had planned on, but we brought the book with us in case an opportunity arose. Lisa and I were proud of her willingness to do this in front of the whole church.
During the service, the children moved about. Yet it did not seem a distraction - most of the time. When a little boy crawled onto the stage, one of the guitar players kept an eye on him. When the child got too near the edge, he picked the boy up and took him to his mother. Nobody seemed to be bothered. But when these boys leaned through the window with their frog, some of the girls nearby became a little uncomfortable. I chuckled to myself and Lisa took a couple pictures.
I once had a pastor who put up a large sign. As you were leaving the church, you were reminded that the mission field was all around you - not just on the other side of the world. This idea fit well with my message about an eternal harvest, so I had a similar sign made which we gave to the church.
In so many ways, I have had visual examples of different stories from the Bible since we moved here. Yesterday it was the idea of bringing your first fruits into the house of God. Before we arrived, there were some bananas and palay (sheaves of rice) on the stage. As more people came, the stage became filled with rice, bananas, oranges, peanuts, etc. This was an actual harvest being given to God.
I can only imagine how large it would have been if all could have come. The largest sitio was closed for observation of some of the cultural traditions. Nobody was allowed to enter or leave that part of the village. So they could not attend the service or bring their offerings.
After we took these pictures, we divided the gift and took portions of it to our landlords, neighbors, staff families, and those living at the ministry base.
We went to Maligcong hoping to encourage the people there. We left being abundantly blessed.