Tuesday, February 19, 2013

It Doesn't Seem Quite Right to Say Goodbye: Part 2

Here is the update for the last Sabbath and also pictures from the entire trip. I didn't write a play by play, so I'll have to make one up...

Feb 16, 2013 - Iloco Sur Trip: Day 10

Can't believe it's the last day already. 

The students are put on a special newscast for Sabbath School. It's hard to understand their English (and the sound system isn't that great), so I'm not exactly sure what it is about. I think it has to do with a mission focus. Today is the hottest yet.

A quick lunch, and then get ready for the baptisms. We have to go down the mountain to the river.

Phew, what an awesome ride on the motorbike with one of the pastors! We were late to catch the jeepney. Rode in skirt and all.

I'm always touched to see young people give their lives to God and signify their commitment through baptism. I remember that one of the boys responded to one of my appeals this week (in the message about the cross and God's love), and very enthusiastically too when not many other students did. Praise the Lord!

Another ride up the mountain. Now we have an afternoon program put on by the Angel Force, with a small appreciation ceremony for the pastors and I and the tech guy we brought along. 

(NOTE: Many of the pictures below were not taken by me, but by the tech guy. I was so busy during the week preparing sermons, as I have described in previous posts, so he was able to get more pictures when I wasn't even around. He also doesn't prefer his name to be used online for some reason, which I think is kind of funny. Oh well.)

After the program I played my violin for some of the students. They had only heard me play improvised hymns all week. They got really excited over the fiddle songs.

Another quick meal, and Social Night starts soon. They want me to play three songs: Canon in D and some fiddle songs. Not sure what else will go on other than games and such.

Just participated in one of the games, which was fun. Interesting though, because even though I only graduated 2 years ago, I am 4 years ahead of these kids, since their high school is grade 7-10. 

Wow some of the village kids put on a cultural dance, and they are really good! I was watching the boys bang the dongy things, and it takes certain hand technique and skill to get them to make the different sounds. Later the big kids did some cultural dances, but they weren't near as good. 

Just got pulled into the cultural dance! In their culture, if they give you one of the blankets used in dancing, you have to join the dance. Haha I haven't done a Filipino cultural dance since I was little. The kids got a kick out of it. They said I was good though. Must be in my blood I guess.

Now it's the marching. I've been warned about this, so I'll just stay put...too many guys were crushing on me all week (which was quite annoying. Someone said I resemble Jessica Sanchez. Ugh). This would be Adventist or "veggie" dancing as someone called it.. You go in pairs, boy and girl, and "march." Ate Marlin, the principal, leads with the whistle. 

Haha, Pastor Imai is with one of the girls, he is so funny! He also joined the cultural dances earlier, and boy was that a hoot. What a cool guy. Did I tell you yet that he is a Hiroshima survivor? The only one in his class. He was 6 years old, and not a Christian yet. But he knows God saved him because he had a plan for him. He is a retired pastor, but now his wife is working as a nurse. 73 and doing the work of 5 nurses! It is because of her work and his senior pension that he can afford to go on mission trips to preach and build churches, all on his own money. He and Pastor Panghulan started the "NIPPI Caring Foundation" which helps underprivileged students go to school etc.

There were some songs, and now the end. Ate Marlin is giving her last speech, and we will too.

They gave us each an Angel Force album. During my farewell speech I played this song by Melissa Otto, See You When We Get There for the students. It pretty much sums up everything, and it definitely encapsulated our feelings on that last night. I will never forget these people, this place, or this experience.

It doesn’t seem quite right
To say goodbye my friend
But there’s a work to be done
To tell the world that He is love
If I don’t see you here again

My brother
I’ll see you when we get there
God’s great mercy be forever with you
Courage, courage until we get there
We are here for just a little while

My sister God surely gives beautiful gifts
You are dear to my heart 
Reminding me of His caring love
Fellow pilgrim 
We’ll still be taking the same way home
Even though oceans apart
We’ll still be fighting the same fight together
If I don’t see you here again

My sister
I’ll see you when we get there
God’s great mercy be forever with you
Courage, courage until we get there
We are here for just a little while

For the blessed hope we have
Has to be known by all our family
So our Father can finally take us home
I’ll be praying for you
That He will hold and keep you through
Until He comes and He is coming soon

Brother, Sister
I’ll see you when we get there
God’s great mercy be forever with you
Courage, courage until we get there
We are here for just a little while

We are here for just a little while


My room at our stopover at an Adventist College on the way to Concepcion.

 Out in the middle of nowhere...

Tricycle got stuck while crossing the river 

 Welcome to G. Del Pilar, Iloco Sur

Windy, bumpy road. This part has concrete at least

Greeted by part of the marching band on our way up the driveway 

Angel Force sings to welcome us

 Guest rooms, where some of the girls live. My room is the second door.

My humble abode for the week

Boys' dorm, I think

The fairly new church building

Library and school building 

 I think this is the kitchen.

 Pastor Imai preaching and Pastor Panghulan translating

My first Jeepney ride (that I can actually remember). Rode every single day to the evening meetings (except for once on a motorbike with one of the pastors)

 The students sit in columns, not rows

A view inside one of the offices

Very long, very high, not so scary at night when you can't see anything...I never tried it during the day

This is where we had the evening meetings 

It's an outdoor hall

The basketball court, stage, and mountains in the background 

The library. I didn't even get to see this. 

This driveway is verrrrryyyyy steeep 

No explanation necessary

 Panorama of the campus from the stage

Side view of the guest rooms

 My bathroom. What a cultural experience. To flush, you pour water in the toilet with the bucket, which is about 1.5' high. To bathe, you pour water on yourself. It's soooo cold! Many houses are like this in the Philippines, except that they would have tile covering the floors and walls and a divider between the toilet and bathing area.

A picture one of the grade 7 students drew, copying the background streamer on the stage

On Friday morning they put on a small show for us. This is the marching band. Pretty impressive. 

 Shot taken at the last week of prayer meeting

Praise the Lord for these seven girls who responded to the appeal to give their lives fully to God and follow His plan for them, knowing that He needs them to finish the Story! 

After every afternoon meeting we broke into groups to pray. Notice how they hold hands around the circle by crossing arms. One of the few "CAA" things that make it special. 

"WE NEED YOUR HELP" Most of the students are not well off, and the teachers only get paid about 3000 PhP (about $75) per month. They do it to serve the Lord. If you would like to help, contact me and I can put you in touch with Pastor Panghulan.

Riding the motorbike in a skirt. Fun!

Baptisms at the river on Sabbath. Praise God for 15 souls, mostly students and three kids. A group of the students are not Adventist. But that group has now shrunk by one!

Only in the Philippines.... 

Certificates of appreciation

Angel Force, the full group of 4 official members and 11 trainees

 Pastor Imai brought boxes of clothes for the students and staff

Kids doing a cultural dance at Social Night on the last Saturday night. They were really good, especially the younger kids!

Last goodbye at Candon...

It doesn't seem quite right to say goodbye, my friend...


  1. Hey hey! That picture that has the caption, "only in the Philippines"...that totally happens in Timor every day! lol ;) It was so nice to see some pics, Val, especially of you! Love you, girly!

  2. I have to agree with Katie, Val! In Nicaragua, the buses (for 6+ hour trips) are in worse condition and they pack more people, and fish, chickens, and produce from the market on them! These people are very economical......lol! And Val, I am proud to call you my friend and to see the amazing ways God is working through you to touch young hearts for Him. Praise Him for those people who were baptized!

  3. i love how we're all comparing the third-world countries we've lived/are living. I'm so happy we're all able to have these experiences.

  4. thanks for sharing! jesus shines!


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