Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fang-orao, Finally!

As we mentioned a few posts ago, we had been prevented from making our way to the church in Fang-orao.  At that time, we made plans with Pastor Frederick to visit Fang-orao last weekend.  Even then, we had challenges in order to make it there and minister.  First, we got behind and missed the first jeepney to Maligcong, only to find that on Sunday, there is only one jeepney to Maligcong.  When I contacted Pastor Frederick, even though he was already hiking through the fields for Fang-orao, he said he would drive to Bontoc to get us.
Everywhere in Maligcong were signs of the harvest.  Just outside the church this lady was drying sheaves of rice called palay.

By the time we finally arrived at the end of the road in Maligcong where we could begin the hike to Fang-orao, we were already late. We kept a good pace hiking through the magnificence of the Maligcong rice terraces and once we were on the branch of the mountain with Fang-orao, Pastor Frederick asked if we were up to taking the shortcut.  In Ilocano, as in many cultures, you pronounce the word "shortcut" as "adventure".  At first it seemed pretty simple, the path went from an 18" wide concrete path on the top of a rice terrace wall to a 10" dirt path on the top of a rice terrace wall.  Soon it became a 4-6" muddy, wet, and slippery concrete path on the top of a rice terrace wall.  Good practice for balance.  We only had one person slip so much that their foot found its way into the squishy mud of the rice field.  Fortunately it was in a place where both sides were near the height of the path and not a 5' drop.  Then we came to the place where we needed to climb the "stairs" up toward the church.  In this case, the translation of "stairs" is "steep, moist, red clay embankment with precarious footholds".  No injuries, no ruined clothes (brown pants are key), and no words of complaint.  I am not sure which is the greatest of these.


When we arrived, Sunday School was nearly completed and soon the worship service began.  A guitar, a bass guitar, a few tambourines, and a set of drums accompanied the upbeat mix of English and native worship songs.

A final obstacle that needed to be overcome was that I had been feeling sick.  During much of the worship, I sat bent over praying for strength.  When I began teaching, I asked the congregation to uphold me in prayer because I felt weak.  As I began teaching, my discomfort faded to the background and God gave me the strength I needed to continue.

I presented an overview of the Bible's redemption story and we listened to the crucifixion and resurrection story using the Proclaimer Wendy donated to the church.  This is the teaching that had been planned before when the t-er prevented our coming.

Rita is the name of the lady on the right.  She was apparently listening with her heart, as well as her ears.

I love this picture.  Before closing, I asked if anyone had any questions, observations, or thoughts to share.  This dear lady was more bold than most and willingly shared some great insights.

For a number of reasons, I decided not to have an "altar call". Instead I encouraged people to talk with Pastor, Pastora, me, or another believer afterward if they wanted to follow Jesus.  Before proceeding much further though, I was interrupted when Rita raised her hand to say that she wanted to make Jesus her Lord.
Praying with Rita, Dominga tanslating

Rita proclaiming her new faith to the congregation, accompanied by a friend for encouragement.

The Fang-orao branch of Maligcong Christian Fellowship - with a few Americanos thrown in for the fun of it.

Then it was time to leave.  This time we did not use the shortcut.  There were more stairs, but these were much easier to climb.

A handful of miscellaneous photos of our day in 
Fang-orao, Maligcong
Drying palay

Alayna loves going to villages because she gets to hold babies.

Reviewing the stories that Adriana, Alexie, Alayna, and Annalise taught to the children.

Peeking through the pew 

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