Friday, December 4, 2009

So There I Was - 1

Our whole family made the trip to Baguio this week. We left on Monday and returned on Wednesday. That allowed us to do our banking for November and December all in one trip as well as pick up things unavailable to us in Bontoc. Amidst the shopping, we enjoyed the familiar tastes of McDonald's and Pizza Hut.

So there I was... So there I was browsing in the men's clothing at a department store in the Baguio SM Mall. One of the characteristics of this particular store is the abundance of sales clerks. While in most stores in the US, you need to look for someone to help you, at this store I sometimes begin to understand the struggle famous people have with paparazzi; they are everywhere. So there I was trying to avoid sales clerks when one sneaked up on me to ask if she could help me find something. In an attempt to be friendly but not encourage a fashion show, I continued to flip through the shirts on a rack and asked her questions about herself instead.

So there I was not trying to be a missionary when she suddenly said, "Inglesia ni Cristo." Our discussion to that point had been about how long she had worked at the store and how many hours she had worked that day. This phrase was kind of surprising and got my attention off of t-shirts and into the discussion. (Inglesia ni Cristo is a religious group throughout the Philippines that you could liken to the Jehovah's Witnesses or the Mormons - appearing Christian until you actually learn about their beliefs.) I asked her whether she was saying she was Ingelsia ni Cristo or if she was asking if I was. English got in the way; the Ilocano language does not use pronouns and most of the Filipinos we talk with struggle to use them properly when speaking English.

To clarify, she asked what religion I was. I told her I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. "But what religion?" Because denominational tags carry so much baggage, I try hard to avoid them and focus on who Jesus is to me.

About that time, another sales clerk entered the conversation. This young lady was shocked when I mentioned that Inglesia ni Cristo was not really Christian because they do not believe Jesus is Lord. It was quickly apparent that she was INC. She invited me to join an INC Bible study so I could learn that Jesus was not God. Unfortunately, our conversation was very short because she had other customers she was helping. We tried to talk a couple more times, but she had to pay attention to her work so we did not get too far.

I never did discover anything about the faith of the first young lady. She watched and listened as her friend and I talked about who the Bible says Jesus is.

Knowing that God uses everything, I pray that He will in some way use the little bits of conversation we had to reveal the truth of the Gospel to both of these young ladies.



  1. Iglesia ni Cristo sect believes that Jesus is not God but just a man or a prophet. They love to debate about it with other sects and often mislead/proselyte Catholics to join their church. Second to the Catholic Church, the Iglesia ni Cristo in the Philippines has a big following and is very influential in the political scene. With the elections coming next year, their leaders would release official memos which party or candidates to support.

    On another note, pronouns in Ilocano are seldom used but we do have words like "ac" (me, as in "si-ac met" - me, too), "isuna" (her,him), "isuda" (them, theirs), "si-ca" (you)..etc. Hope that helps. =)

  2. Am I right in understanding that the few pronouns that are used do not differentiate between masculine and feminine? For example, isn't "isuna" used for either male or female?


  3. Oh, yes, there is no gender in pronouns used. Same with the tagalog "siya", "isuna", is both used for feminine and masculine.