Sunday, February 28, 2010

Alexie's Teaching Debut

After traveling with the Titus Project team, we were finally back at our home church in Bontoc. I usually preach once a month and I was scheduled for today. But I had a tough act to follow because Alexie taught Sunday School.

It was Alexie’s teaching debut. She did a really good job.She was much more confident than I was the first time I taught. We are really proud of her.

Last night both of us were working side-by-side to prepare our visual aids.She had some really good ideas of how to visually represent the ideas she wanted to communicate. I enjoyed watching her study the passages that were part of her lesson and working out how best to incorporate them.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bouncing Tiaras

Walking home from marketing with a cute little 7 year old, I overheard her singing as she hopped,
"I want to be a princess,
but I'm a kangaroo

I guess being a princess is not as carefree as you might think.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Titus to Anabel

(Now its two weekends ago. A trip to Baguio interrupted the completion of this post.)

This weekend we escorted the Titus Project team to the village of Anabel where they continued to teach people how to study the Bible. Anabel is about an hour away from Bontoc (plus a 20 minute hike from the jeepney). It is a village of about 140 families with nearly all of the homes built on a hill that rises from the river and the surrounding fields.
It may not be made of just rope and boards, but you do feel a little like Indiana Jones when you cross this bridge. It is easy when your steps are in time with the bouncing and swaying, but a little tricky if you get out of synch.

After the bridge you get to hike through the fields before you get to the village.

And hike some more...

The team spent all day Saturday and then Sunday morning teaching at the Anabel Christian Church.

The church building is on the right; the elementary school is on the left.

Leslie giving some historical background as she teaches on Saturday afternoon.

Some of the congregation that attended the Saturday evening session.

Most of the people in Anabel are subsistence farmers, working to feed their own families.
A pineapple in the early stages of its growth.

A farmer working her camote (sweet potato) field.

Camote is grown in long, raised mounds. Both the leaves and the roots are eaten.

The girls enjoyed helping in some of the farming tasks of the family that hosted our group. Annalise enjoyed having the freedom to use a knife as she helped harvest camote (pronounced cam-o-tee). Both our kids and the children of the team got involved and tried to follow in the traditional methods - even how you carry your harvest.
Annalise with some camote leaves.

Elise with a bucket full of camote.

Adriana's camote hairstyle.

Kenna too, joined in the fun/work!

This little one was born a few days later than his siblings so he sleeps in the house at night and is fed with a bottle in the shade of a banana tree during the day.

Annalise and Alayna helped shell beans while waiting for lunch to be prepared.

Of course, no trip to a village is complete without playing with some of the children. There were a lot of kids. It is fun to see how quickly our kids make friends when we go to a new place.
Skipping rope with a stiff piece of rattan.

Hazel's family opened their house to us while we stayed in Anabel.

The kids loved arriving after the rice had been harvested. It gave them a large area to run and play - even teaching the local children how to play Duck, Duck, Goose.

Why? Because it is there...

What can I say?

Our hosts, Jerome and Agnes, opened their home to our team. Lisa, Annalise, and Alayna stayed close and comfy.
Lisa, Annalise, and Alayna slept close and comfy.

Brittnay, Adriana, Alexie, and Leslie slept on the floor outside of the upstairs bedrooms.

Sunday morning, Brittnay preached a message on the armor of God. As in all of their teaching, she used good visual aids and incorporated the local dialect beyond just oral translation.
Brittnay teaching with Nora (an Anabel resident and former SSM and TDTS student) translating.

While the adults were hearing a Sunday School lesson inside, Victor was teaching the children outside. When I went out to see how things were going, I saw that one child was killing him and chopping off his head. David and Goliath was a great story to act out with this tall Canadian and a young Filipino boy.
Victor and the kids talking about what was learned after acting out the story of David and Goliath.

Adriana enjoying the view from top-load on the jeepney ride home.

Fire Update

This morning, no fires can be seen from our apartment. Parts of the mountain are scorched, but it does not appear that any houses were affected. Thank God for his protection!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fire on the Mountain

The fires on the mountain near Samoki proper.

Fires on the mountain above Bontoc.

After excessive rainfall during the numerous typhoons that swept through our island of Luzon during September and October, we are now experiencing drought. We have not had measurable rainfall since November. Large dust clouds now follow every vehicle that travels on the roads because the soil is so dry.

Of greater concern are the fires that seem to be burning on every mountain. As we have been traveling these past weekends, smoke can be seen in the distance in every direction. Usually, the fires are high on the mountains and away from villages and houses. The fires seem to be burning mostly small plants while the trees tend to be unaffected. But tonight, we noticed that things may be a little more serious now. Our barangay, Samoki, is experiencing some fires that could imperil a large number of homes on the side of the mountain. There is a fire on the mountain that is not higher than the homes and could easily spread into homes that are much too close together to prevent a large scale situation. Additionally, the part of the village that is most at risk is not accessible by either fire engines or water delivery trucks. Narrow foot paths wind between the houses with numerous steps and other obstacles that prevent anything but foot traffic. To make matters worse, the water shortage limits how often municipal water is available to the pipes used to supply households; there are no fire hydrants or other such considerations.

Looking the other direction, across the river into Bontoc, you can see fires burning on the mountain there also. Fortunately, these fires are well above most of the houses. There are still several houses in that area however. At the top of that mountain are the communications towers. If affected, the area could be isolated from internet and phone communications.

Please pray for our community as we await the return of the rains. Municipal water is scheduled. (We have water supply for 1 hour a day.) Springs that water delivery services are using are beginning to fail. Then, of course, there are the fires.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Calvary Gospel School of Ministry

Continuing with their mission to train God's people to study His Word, I escorted the Titus Project team to the nearby village of Talubin to teach inductive Bible study to the students at the Calvary Gospel School of Ministry. I really enjoyed talking with some of the students who were there when I taught a course there in 2008. In fact, one of the students who was there when I taught is now the pastor at Mount Praise Assembly of God in Sagada.

As the team taught the students how to study using the inductive method, they used Colossians as their text. In order to illustrate a portion of the text which talks about getting rid of the old and putting on the new, Victor went all out. As a surprise to both his teammates and students, we broke out the clippers and got rid of the old - hair. He then clothed himself with a new shirt and continued his lecture. He did need to put on a hat because the lack of hair was a little distracting to the class and himself. But I am sure it is a lecture that will be remembered for a long time.
Victor half-way through his new hair-do

That same evening, we celebrated Victor's 30th birthday with the SSM students at the base.
The finished project - with birthday cake

Mount Praise Assembly of God

Last weekend, we escorted the Titus Project team to the village of Sagada. Lisa was sick and could not accompany us so Annalise stayed home to nurse her mommy back to good health. I am not sure all of the plans she had for caring for Lisa worked out, but her heart was golden.

Our ministry was coordinated with the pastors of the Assembly of God church in Bontoc who have an outreach in the village of Sagada. They are working to re-establish a church there and were having a crusade there during the weekend.

In addition to Bible overview teaching and a seminar on Bible study methods, the team assisted with prayer at the end of a Saturday night concert at the local school yard. It was incredible to see so many give their hearts to God and cry out to him at the conclusion of the concert.
Mount Praise Assembly of God

The church is located about a hundred yards off the road in a stand of pine trees.
The path to the church building.

While Victor taught a Sunday School upstairs to the adults, our girls and the children from the team assisted with the lesson for the children downstairs.
Elise, Kenna, Alayna, and Alexie act out Max Lucado's You Are Special for the kids at Sagada.

The kids were proud of the hut they built among the trees near the church building.

Unfortunately, Lisa was not the only person who dealt with sickness through the weekend. While we were in Sagada, Alayna and Nathan developed fevers and sore throats. Often during the teaching, they slept on the floor.
Nathan, under the pink coat, and Alayna trying to rest through their sickness on the floor of the church.

Bontoc Bible Seminars

The Titus Project team's focus is on Bible teaching, especially teaching the inductive Bible study method. Their focus is preparing leaders in the church to be able to share the Word of God with others. On the weekends we have been traveling to villages and holding seminars for the people of the village churches and speaking in the Sunday morning service. During the week, the YWAM Mountain Province is hosting seminars for the people of Bontoc. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, our SSM students and young people from local churches are gathering to learn the inductive Bible study method as we study the book of Philemon. Wednesday mornings, church pastors and leaders are gathering to learn the same techniques as we study the book of Titus.
Joel and Irish studying during the Youth Bible Study Seminar.

Some of the pastors and leaders listen to Amy during the first Pastors/Church Leaders Bible Study Seminar.

Community Leaders

The Titus Project team has been very busy during their visit to YWAM Mountain Province and we have been very busy trying to keep up with homeschooling and our responsibilities for the team.

One of the activities they have participated in is sharing with the Philippine National Police during the Moral Recovery Presentation.
Victor teaching that God is the Source of Wisdom to the Municipal Philippine National Police

After the MRP presentation, we visited Mayor Odsey in his office to pray for him in his leadership of Bontoc.
Brittnay, Victor, Mayor Odsey, and Michael

I am thankful for the opportunity to share God's love and righteousness with leaders within our community.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sadanga Lolo

In 2007, Annalise was adopted as a granddaughter by a man at the Sadanga church we visited during our outreach.
When we went there last weekend, it was her first time back to the village since then. Her lolo (Ilocano for grandfather) brought his traditional outfit to the church when he heard she was coming. He asked for his picture to be taken with her and with our family. How can you turn down such a request?

This time I was not preaching but instead we are escorting the the Titus Project team as they spent the weekend teaching about Ephesians and giving a Bible overview on Saturday then teaching again on Sunday morning.

It was good to be back in the village, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.