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A Wednesday to Remember
by Annie Orteza, ACM student
Last of three parts
Another highlight of our trip to the Manobo village happened on a Wednesday morning. While I was drinking coffee at the water reservoir, I noticed a young boy, about two years old, approaching the tub, planning to take a bath that cold early morning.
As he removed his shorts, I went to our room and took some soap and shampoo. I bathed that young boy. I then waited for the other children to come, and did the same thing. I noticed that many of them had wounds, scratches and colds.
After these kids took their baths, Tina cut their long fingernails, and Tita Miriam offered free haircut for those with long hair.
At about nine o'clock in the morning, we had our pine tree planting. One pine tree was assigned per partner. The datu first dug the soil, and then we cleared the soil of weeds before we planted the trees. Somebody was assigned to put fences around the pine trees.
The next few hours, we became very busy preparing for special numbers that we will present on our last night with the village. It was an evening of worship, songs, messages, evangelism and repentance.
It was so amazing to see how these people worship our God! All special numbers were seriously prepared judging by the costumes worn by the elders. Everybody was excited as we watched the program. No dull moments during the night. Everybody has been very responsive to the messages.
The datu and his wife wore their native costumes. When it was time for the datu to speak, he greeted all of us in English. The people were surprised and cheered for their leader. Then he sang a song in their language. Later, the local pastor translated the message delivered by the datu.
A couple of families and groups rendered their special songs and dance. Of course, we also prepared a special native dance and our "finale skit," which served as an entry point for the evangelistic message of Pastor Mhel.
After that special night with the whole tribe, we had our last debriefing with all the leaders. That midnight was a continuation of testimonies, blessings, encouragements and assurance of God's equal love to all His creations.
A Sad But Hopeful Goodbye
Early Thursday morning was our personal devotion near the "cross." Everybody was given a chance to share their reflection and special message for the village. Some had visions that showed the glory of God through the Manobos, and some precautions and warnings for their leaders to be stronger and more faithful to the Lord.
When it was time to say goodbye to our host families and to the rest of the community, we cannot hide our loneliness. It is only God who can tell when we will have a chance to be with them again.
The children accompanied us and carried our baggage all the way to the top of the mountain, where the truck was waiting for us. It was almost a two-hour walk. We were so tired and a bit wet from the rain shower when we reached the top. We felt tears of sadness and joy when we said our thanks and goodbyes to the children.
Our "goodbye" with them is just temporary. Though some of us have plans of going back again in 2012, we still can never tell when God's best plan will be.
The training we had among the Manobos through Asian Center for Missions is more than what we expected. All of us were blessed, and the experience will leave a mark in our hearts that will never be forgotten.
The name of the Lord be continuously praised for what He has done and for all people that He will continue to touch through the indigenous people of the Philippines! All glory belongs to Yahweh alone!
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A single Filipina who has been shy and sheltered all her life finds herself teaching English and the Gospel to hardened convicts in Thailand's prisons. She sees them breaking free of the chains within their hearts.