Thursday, September 22, 2011

Am-Among Festival, 2011

 The 2011 Am-Among Festival was once again a colorful visual and cultural experience for all who participated in and observed the activities.

Lisa snapped these photos as the street dancers were queing up for the parade.

In years past, these young ladies may have been comparing actual tattoos covering their arms.

The dances and cultural represented aspects of traditional life among the Bontoc people.  All of these presentations were made through the medium of traditional gong music and dancing.  Many depicted the agricultural background of the people here.

The girl on the left is Casey, a friend who used to be part of our SSM program.

Other Igorot historical practices such as courtship were highlighted as well.  But perhaps the most exciting was a presentation of a war dance where two combatants struggled against each other using traditional weapons.  The dancers showed intensity as the gongs played and they alternately danced for position and charged, clashing shields as they leaped through the air.

The festival was a great opportunity for our visiting team to experience the sights and sounds of the culture of Bontoc.  While enjoying the festival, the team distributed water bottles, as we have done in the past, to spectators in an effort to share the love of God with others.
Arielle sharing a drink with a new friend.

Popcorn Birthday Cake

Although I am trying to work my way through a backlog of post possibilities for this blog, I wanted to take the opportunity to brag on my beloved and creative wife.  Lisa loves to honor birthdays and with the team here, there are more opportunities than usual.

In our last post, we mentioned that a cake was shared to celebrate the birthdays of 3 team members.  That would have been fine, but one member of the team has gluten allergies so she could not have any.  Seeking to include the team member in the birthday celebrations of her teammates, Lisa did some research and came up with a solution:  a popcorn cake.  (Think Rice Crispies Treats using popcorn and m&m's.)

Everybody was able to enjoy a slice of the cake as we (re)celebrated Amy's birthday on her actual birthday.

Happy Birthday, Amy!
I am so blessed to have such a wonderful wife!  It is great how she works so hard to make others feel special.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Official Welcome

2011 YWAM Salem Crossroads Discipleship Training School

Monday we escorted the team to the Bontoc Museum.  They especially enjoyed the outdoor exhibits where they could touch and climb and explore.

In the evening YWAM Mountain Province hosted a welcome dinner.  All of our staff and their families gathered together with the team for an evening of fellowship, eating, worship, and dancing.
Thea and Katie modeling some traditional Bontoc attire.
Shane, Rufina, and Patrick
Rudy and Eric

Taden is such a happy little guy, everybody loves to get their hands on him.

Jazlynn, Annalise, and Ariana

A good time got even better when the gongs were brought out.  The Filipinos performed a few dances then everybody got involved.  The team was adventurous and soon joined in the dancing and even playing the gongs.

After the gongs, the Salem team presented a few of the songs and a drama they have prepared to share as they minister over the next couple months.

We also celebrated a few birthdays.  Michelle celebrated her birthday while traveling here.  Arielle's birthday was Monday so she had quite a memorable celebration.  Amy's birthday was later in the week.
Michelle, Arielle, and Amy
It was a full day of learning about the Igorot culture.  Later in the week Bontoc celebrated the Am-Among Festival; but that's another post.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fetchin' the YWAM Salem CDTS

Last week I made the journey to Manila to meet a YWAM team from Salem, Oregon.  God blessed me with an uneventful journey and I arrived in Manila with a little bit of time to spare.  I used the opportunity to hunt down a Subway restaurant for dinner - my favorite.
This photo I took on the way to Baguio has nothing to do with the team, but I love looking down on the clouds. This was particularly impressive as the clouds completely covered the valley and only the mountain tops were visible.
I arrived at the airport early because their arrival was not scheduled until 11 pm and I had nowhere else to go.  I heard their arrival announced on-time.  However, it was not until after 1 am that they arrived in the passenger pick-up area.  Everybody was tired, but people and bags were all accounted for.

The pictures are a bit blurry, but I think that reflects the mental status of all of us at that time.

Leigh had the right plan as we waited for the bus to arrive.
We had made arrangements for a bus to pick us up at the airport and drive us through the night to the YWAM Baguio Training Center - a trip of about 7 hours.

The next day - actually, later the same day (Friday) - we went into Baguio and looked around while trying to get the team through some of the struggles of jet lag.

Saturday morning the bus that would take us from Baguio to Bontoc arrived a bit early and got everybody flying around trying to get things repacked and loaded onto the bus.  Once baggage, people, and motion sickness medicine was all on-board we were off - to wait in traffic due to the construction before leaving Baguio.
Everyone bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the beginning of the trip - before the sleepiness of the motion sickness medicine set in.

Jazlynn enjoying a snack along the way.
While I traveled to get the team, Lisa and the girls made preparations to welcome the team to Bontoc.

Gathering for a meal Saturday evening

Alayna and a very exhausted Taden.
It was a couple of long days and everyone was ready to go to sleep by the end of the meal - most made it to their beds before falling asleep, but not everyone.

We are so excited to have the team here ministering with us for the next two months.  We look forward to seeing what God will do in them and through them as they serve Him in Mountain Province.