Monday, July 25, 2011

Maligcong T-er

One place we were looking forward to taking Wendy for both ministry and beauty aspects was Maligcong. The views are breathtaking and the terraces cut into the mountainsides are a marvel to behold.  Our plan was to arrive early Saturday and hike through the fields to the sitio (neighborhood) of Fang-orao.  There we would visit and pray with people until evening when a special service would be held.
A view of the Maligcong rice terraces from the jeepney turn-around point.

The hike to Fang-orao is about 30 minutes or so on the narrow pathway through the fields.  The views along the way are beautiful, especially on clear days.

Unfortunately, while attending the ordination of a Bontoc pastor, we found out that we would not be able to take this path during the weekend due to a pagan holy day called "T-er".  The village elders declared this holy day in preparation of the impending rice harvest.  As part of the ceremony, a few men gather a cup of rice and hike through the fields and over the mountain into Bontoc with the intention of symbolically leading the rats and birds away from the village in a manner similar to the pied piper of Hamlin.  Following this ceremony, nobody is allowed to pass near the fields for 3 days.  The people of Fang-orao and Favarey which is another 30 minutes hike beyond are cut off during this time.

During discussion with Pastor Augustin who was helping to coordinate our visit and pastors the church in Fabuyan, at the jeepney turn-around, another pathway was mentioned.  It is a difficult and rarely used trail that goes around the fields by going down one mountain and up the other into Fang-orao.  Not being sure that everyone in our group could handle the hike or the return hike in the dark, it was decided that Alexie and I would go on Saturday and the rest would take the early jeep Sunday morning to join us for the service in Fabuyan.

Once Alexie and I arrived however, we were told that the other pathway came near a rice field also so nobody could walk that way either.  Pastor Frederick who pastors the church in Fang-orao took us to talk with one of the village elders, Edward, to see if we could work something out.

We met with Edward at his daughter's home and over coffee discussed our desire to find a way to go to Fang-orao.  Most of the discussion was in the Igorot dialect between Edward, Pastor, and Edward's son-in-law.  But I did get to talk a little with Edward about his role as a messenger for the US troops during WWII.  The end of the discussion was that he would talk with the chief elder about our dilemma when the other returned from checking on his animals in the mountain.  For the meantime, we could plan on using the path through the terraces on Sunday afternoon to go as far as Fang-orao, but no further.

Thomas and Edward
When Pastor Augustin arrived after completing his route as a jeepney driver, it was decided that we would hold a service at his church Saturday evening.  Alexie performed an interpretive dance and I shared about how God hears when people call out to Him.  (Once again, the Read Aloud Bible Stories that have been translated were helpful.)

During the service there were a number of young men from Favarey, the farthest sitio.  They had taken the jeepney from Bontoc only to find that they could not proceed to their homes.  Since they had nothing else to do, they showed up for the service even though they are not believers.  Maybe God had a plan amidst the frustrations of the t-er after all.
Alexie during her dance to "Above All"
In the morning, even before the 1st jeep had arrived from Bontoc with Wendy, Lisa, and the girls, we were told that we would not be able to pass by either pathway to Fang-orao.  So we continued with the service planned at Fabuyan with Pastor Augustin's congregation.  Alexie performed another dance to The Power Of Your Love.  Wendy shared some songs using sign language.
Alexie dancing to "The Power of Your Love"
The 4A's presenting Sunday School to the children in the newly finished classroom.

Best of all Wendy was able to present the pastors of both communities, Fabuyan and Fang-orao, with Proclaimers.  The pictures below were taken while the congregation listened to the story of the crucifixion and resurrection in the Ilocano language.

This dear lady shared great insights and had thoughtful questions in our discussion after listening.

Pastor Augustin listening to the Proclaimer recite Matthew 27 & 28 
Having heard that we held our health clinic for the people of Can-eo, Pastor Augustin asked if we would do the same in Maligcong.  It went well, but because of the t-er, only the people of Fabuyan could attend.

While Lisa and I squeezed arms and poked fingers, Wendy made friends with the ladies who were there.
Wendy and Pastora Evelyn talking on the porch
At the same time, our girls had fun with babies and balloons.  They twisted animal balloons for the children nearby and passed the babies from one to another.

The little guy in the picture below seems to have figured out how to turn a balloon animal into a wind instrument.

Now he is giving lessons to a friend.

And he's back to playing a solo.

Lunch at the pastor's house

Time to head home to Bontoc


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