Sunday, August 16, 2015

*Tagong Isla

the view one afternoon at the island's fort

Are you ready to bring the Gospel to the unreached people in hard to reach places? If so, let’s go to* Tagong Isla!  (Hidden Island).

our ride to the island  for 8-10 hours that took only 6hours!

Tagong Isla (not its real name) is a group of islands, south- east of Palawan. It is really hidden in the eyes of many travelers and ferries and only those who are from there would know the way to get there. 

Sometimes you would not even find these islands marked in a Philippine map!

"can i take your picture?"

But the island is really beautiful and the people so friendly. They are devoted to the religion that they know but they long to know  to know the God that they hope they serve. They have been waiting.

As we walked around the island and visited some islands, we saw both beauty and pain. this is a paradise! Every where we look displayed the beauty of God's power. The believers gathering  in the only church in this island continue to be joyful, persevering in prayer and getting involved in bible training and improving the Bible in their language. But the island has 7, 000 people that need to hear the gospel and many of them live in villages and islands far from the church. 

Countless shells like these and others adorned the walls , window
 frames and the altar of the island's religious facility.
 Each big and tiny shell placed by hand. 
water would have to be fetched from deep wells.
Rain water is their main drinking water.
when we came, it has not rained for 6 months. 

kids would gather in the afternoons in the villages' chapels to
offer prayers and flowers. they have been taught this since they
are very little and could now gather even without any of the older
villagers leading them.

After 4days, we were ready to go but it took 8 more days before a passenger boat was available and allowed to travel because of an incoming typhoon. 

upon reaching the main land,  we could finally meet this pastor who has served in the Island for over 20 years and corresponded with us for 2 years. He said, “For years we waited and waited for people from our group to come and help us. There is the means to go, but no one was willing. Then three years ago, we asked the Lord for any evangelical- bible believing workers to come, and you responded. And so we welcome you. Help us. Let us work together for it seems like we have been forgotten.”

leaving the island on a sunset. we were on the boat
for 20 hours.
the island that you see in this photo does not have
a church either. 

Do you hear the pain in the heart of this Pastor? He had felt like they had been forgotten. Maps may. People would. But the Lord could not for he hears the cry of his people. He has opened a way. Finally after 3 years of waiting, Hidden Island had been surveyed and several areas have been set up. 

We are going and we need you to go with us. Will you accept the invitation and respond to the call for help of this Pastor to serve in this hidden place? Don’t just be amazed by the photos or touched by the story. Get up, set your feet and start moving into going!

-        -    with Maribel
Franchise Leader, Supervisor
Palawan Nehemiah Teams

Monday, August 10, 2015

river stories

I have Your word but I won't understand unless someone explains…

April 30, I went to the Oras River to visit one of the Filipino Nehemiah Teams assigned there. I came to ask them how they are as a team and as individuals, see how the community responds to them, encourage, assist, pray for them and be part of the team while I am there. The team teaches the kids and does home bible studies and one on one witnessing. One of the homes we do bible study with was with an older woman named Dolores – Nanay Dolores is how we call her. she had been a faithful bible study contact of the previous teams that came to their community and enjoys and wants to have regular bible studies, but still has a hard time understanding God’s word. She has so many questions that she needs answer to and she is very happy to have us come and help her understand.

One day as we were having bible study, she asked us, “Is it right to worship idols?” as she points to the pictures posted on the walls of their house. I opened the Bible to Jeremiah 10:1-11and read it with her. The word of God says "For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.” and Exodus 20:3-5 

“You shall have no other gods before me
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God....”

as I read, Nanay Dolores would voice out what she understood, “ Indeed. We fasten them with hammer so we are sure they don’t fall and break, we carry them around because they cant walk on their own because they are just man made!”
I then stood and pointed to the pictures of Jesus Christ on the wall. “If this is really how the face of the Lord Jesus looks like, then how come he looks different in every picture?”
“That is why I no longer go to our church to attend our religious activity and pray.”  With tears falling down her cheeks she added, “I have just chosen to stay at home and pray here.”
I hugged her really tight because he really wants to understand and obey God. she was very thankful that the team had come to help her understand. the Holy Spirit had been working in her and just used us to lead her to understanding. As I think of her and possibly many people like her who have reverence and even great love for God that they read his word yet could not understand, I remember the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch in the Acts 8. " Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. “How can I,” the Eunuch said, “unless someone explains it to me?

There are many Eunuch and Dolores out there holding the Bible desiring to understand. some of them wait for such a long time. Will you come to them to be used by the God to help them understand His truth?

-          - Gigi
Waray Team travelling supervisor
Nehemiah Teams Samar-Leyte 2015