My first mission exposure trip was truly a learning experience for me. God taught and made me realized so many things.We stayed in Rosario Agusan Del Sur from Feb. 18 to 19 where we have our workshop on Exploring Culture. I give Glory to God for giving us a host who served us selflessly, headed by Ptr. Dondon from Foursquare Gospel Church.
“double click photo to enlarge”
We traveled from Butuan City to Rosario, Agusan Del Sur for almost 4 hours, we arrived at Four Square Gospel Church at lunch. Everyone was hungry. Thank God for the food that was served to us. One of which was the snake with black beans “sarap.” It was an initiation for all of us. I wasn’t sure if all of us tasted it but I was really disappointed for not eating because it was my fasting schedule that day.
The following day, we started our workshop on Exploring Culture headed by Ma’am Lilet and Ma’am Ghie from TMFI
Our goal for the workshop was to enhance our learning and experience on culture and contextualization prior to our local exposure trip to Manobo Tribal Group. Pastors from Four Square Gospel Church also joined us.
The workshop opened my eyes especially with my being ethnocentric, it means looking or doing things the way they are seen or done back home (according to the missionary’s culture not the culture of your target people) It’s only through God’s grace that I did not bring my culture, compare and judge their culture based on mine. I was struck by this statement “as a cross-cultural workers, we are to present Christ regardless of cultural identity-no color, no ethnic heritage and no cultural distinction except the holiness and righteousness of God”
We have more activities that I really enjoyed. I appreciated much the adult way of teaching which our facilitators used.
During our last day They told us to summarize what we have learned in a song our group came up with this in the tune of Leron Leron Sinta.
Sa aming pagyapak sa Airport ng Butuan
Sobrang init ng araw pati ang pagtanggap
Kami ay namanha ibang iba pala
Ang kultura nila sa Maynila
From Butuan to Agusan ang haba ng biyahe
Joke joke kuya Oli kaya huli ng Pulis
Pagdating sa Rosario pag-kain ay sawa
Marami pang prutas, ang saya saya
Ate Lilet and Ghie, sila aming teachers
Puso’y naantig sa kanilang worshop
Ang bawat kultura ay dapat igalang
Indigenous people ay dapat i-reach out
Pag-ibig ni Hesus ay para sa lahat
Di lang sa mga Hudyo pati sa mga tribo
Wag nang mag-alinlangan itaas na si Kristo
Halina’t mag-mission doon sa Manobo
The night before we left, the group soaked in prayer, did spiritual cleansing, we wrote our worries placed in the envelope, sealed it and exchanged it with someone and prayed for it.
While having my QT that night, I once again asked the Lord this “Lord what do you want me to do in Sabang Gibong, how will I share your word. What I received from Him is this, eat what they eat, drink what they drink, just share my love for these people.” God did not specifically mention how. I only realized after the trip that all God wanted me to do was to be a learner because oftentimes when we go out in the mission field we usually thought of the things, like, what will I teach? what will I share? But all He wants is for me to learn.
We hired a truck to transfer us to the place where we got our transportation going to Sabang Gibong.
I still had no clue of what will be the place looked like, my knowledge of the place was based on hearsay from the first group who went there. All I know was the water is not clean and for our entire stay there, we will not take a bath.
We arrived at Sabang Gibong after 3 hours of travel by boat, I was amazed of the place, it was my first time to see houses floating. We are surrounded with water, we could not see any land, it seemed like we were in the time of Noah.
The place was a “wow” for me, I haven’t seen any place like this in my entire life. My mind wasn’t working, I can’t really imagine how we will share the gospel, because the first group did an evangelistic crusade but I was thinking how can we have a crusade with this kind of environment.
The Holy Spirit guided us, we were divided into eight groups. Eight families were picked up to be our host. We did what the Holy Spirit instructed us to do.
We lived with them, did what they did, ate what they ate, drank what they drank.
We washed the dishes, where we washed our clothes, that’s also where we bathed, threw our garbage, and that’s also where we “pooh” and “pee.”
What I missed most is the ginataang kuhol(snail with coconut milk) and adobong kuhol(snail with soy sauce and vinegar), and Langlang the youngest daughter of Nanay Rose. She’s very sweet.
We were assigned with Nanay Rose, every night we had a bible study with the family. Praise God for they were receptive with the Word of God. Manobo Tribe people group has an Animist Catholic belief. It was during our first night of bible study that we led them to Christ, during our second night, Nanay Rose asked about “What is Born Again,”
Other than doing a bible study every night, our group had devotional every morning. We also assigned to do the household chores, cooking, washing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen.
February 22, we had the first Sunday worship, the preacher must be from our group, just like what the apostles did in
Acts we cast a lots, Tita Virgie was chosen.
The group presented a mime after the praise and worship. It was indeed a powerful Sunday worship. God moved in the mighty way.
Even the kids accepted Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior, I remember during my time I was also at their age when the first missionaries went in our Town. Looking at the kids while they were praying, I had faith in my heart that with this group God will raise His mighty armies to be used by Him in the end times.
I was crying while we were having a praise and worship in Cebuano dialect. It was indeed one of my intimate moments with God. He was reminding me of His will. It pleases Him when every tribe, every tongue every nation bow down before Jesus and worship him. And that what we are doing is just an enforcement of His will. And this is the cry of my heart, seeing every tongue, tribe and nation worshipping Jesus, which He deserves most.
We also had a bible study with the group of women. They named the group SAGIWA (Sabang Gibong Women’s Association). They were more active than men. After their meeting with Bro Cris from TMFI regarding the fish nets, we shared with them the love of Christ and we led them to acceptance prayer. There was something that I struggling with, how to share the word of God using their language because some of them can not understand Tagalog, I asked for an interpreter.
We were not able to give the fish net during our stay because we did not raise the complete funds. We even learned when we arrived that there are 70 plus families instead of 56 families. The TMFI worker needed to talk to them first, and explain the real situation.
One of the workers from TMFI got back last week to deliver the fish net to them. I remember what Ma’am Lilet told us when they visited one of the tribes in Mindanao, one local told them this “how can we hear about your Jesus if the first thing that we hear is the sound of our stomach” The purpose of the trip was not only to share the gospel and to study their culture but also to give them a sustainable source of income. Thank you for partnering with us. We may not deliver the fish nets on time but we believed God has a purpose.
We did our debriefing the day when we got back to Rosario (Foursquare Gospel Church), I remember one of us said this “God did not want to highlight the fish net, but He wanted first the Manobo Tribe to know their great Provider and I believed that was His purpose why we did not able to give the fish net on our target date.
The Foursquare Gospel Church will be doing church planting in that place. As what they have shared us, we are also one of the answers to their desires and prayers to reach this people group. I praise and give glory to God for He raised people who have a burden for the unreached.
We have been open to the community, even our observations regarding their culture, our dreams for the community we let them read those. We did not want to hide anything but we refrained of comparing their culture with the culture here in Manila. We did not treat them as “kawawa”
When we left the place most of the families that we stayed with especially the mothers were crying. They even told us to go back. We know that we impacted their lives through the relationship that we showed them. God touched their lives through us. We were able to communicate God’s love to this people the way He wanted us to do. To Him be all the Glory
I’ve learned so much from this trip, it just reminded me once again of the things that I need to do in the field. God constantly reminding me to leave all the cultural baggages that I have. I can not bring the culture that I have in terms of preaching, teaching, doing the praise and worship, etc. I will let them serve, worship God, etc the way they are culturally gifted. It made me also realized how important it is to know the language of the people group you are ministering.The language, the food, the place were a challenge for us, but God reminded me personally, what I had, is just preparation for the great task that He wants us to accomplish for His glory.
There was one thing that I hold on to when I went to Manobo Tribe, His promise in Isaiah 43:2 When I pass through the waters I will be with you, and when I pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over me. When I walk through the fire I will not be burned, the fire will not set me ablaze. And I know as we go to the place where God gave us as an inheritance. Surely, He will be with us always.
Once again thank you so much for partnering with us. God will surely reward you. In fact the souls that came to Christ are your rewards. They may not know your faces but I can only imagine when the time will come that we have reunion in heaven, someone might shake with your hands and say thank you for your generosity, Our Lord told us of your part in my salvation.
Romans 10:14-15 ” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY AND HONOR FOREVER AND EVER.
© The Emissary’s Feet