I was supposed to write this earlier today, but I've been in a custody battle with my computer. It seems my hard drive is trying to take some of my files and run away to Mexico with them. I'm not sure what is wrong with my computer but it is behaving very strangely. Now before some of you give me the "Oh, how the mighty have fallen" speech, I'd like to point out that this is most likely a hardware problem, not a software problem. So I don't want to hear any anti-Mac sentiments out there.
Oh dear, I'm supposed to be telling you about my trip, but instead I've succumbed to using cheap prose to defend my MacBook's honor. A classic example of why my blog entries are always too long...Okay, about my trip:
I preached twice in Kidipawan on Sunday. The first service was difficult because they didn't provide a translator. By the end of that service, I was feeling terribly alone and mildly dejected. Right where the Lord wanted me I suspect. I had a few brief moments in my bedroom in the church basement after the service. The Lord suddenly started downloading love and acceptance onto me like I hadn't experienced it in a long time. Within minutes, all of the loneliness had left me and I was very aware of my standing with my Father.
By the time we reached the second church, my heart was so full of the Father's love, I could hardly stand it. I couldn't help but preach about being sons and daughters of the living God, and this time I had a translator. The response was very encouraging. This second church that I attended was made up of tribal people up in the mountains. They were celebrating Thanksgiving (not a national holiday here, but something that churches will celebrate at various times of the year), so many of the elders dressed in their tribal outfits and performed a traditional harvest dance. It was really neat to see them celebrate the Lord's goodness in their own unique way. I felt funny taking pictures because I was the guest speaker, but I couldn't help but take a few snapshots (see below).
On Monday morning I got in a car with three other men and traveled to a city called Dipolog. It is a thirteen hour drive across the entire island of Mindanao. We drove through the mountains during sunrise. The "highway" wound its way up and down the mountains like an inebriated snake that has lost its way. It took everything in me to keep from being sick. And yet the beauty was exquisite as the sun slowly pulled its way up out of a distant valley, casting a purple glow upon the morning fog. Never before have I felt such agony and bliss in the same moment...Oops, sorry, more cheap prose.
The driver that took us on our thirteen hour journey was crazy. He drove at very high speeds (at one point I caught him doing 140 km/hr) along roads that should have been replaced years ago. When driving through school zones, he actually sped up! We were nearly involved in three head-on collisions and countless other accidents. I was glad to see that I wasn't the only one in the car who was experiencing an intense terror. The Filipino man sitting next to me exchanged several glances with me that suggested he was catching up on his prayer life as a result of our stunt driver.
In addition to the "aggressive" driving, there was lots of horn honking. Honking your horn regularly is expected, if not mandatory in this country. Having said that, thirteen hours of honking is a bit much. I did a bit of math. My conservative estimate is that our driver honked his horn 3000 times that day.
I'd like to tell you about my time on the other side of Mindanao, but I think I will leave it for the next installment. For now I will say thank you all for praying for me during my week away. I met some great people and hope to minister with them lots in the future. I learned more than I could have imagined, and though it was difficult at times, it was exactly what I needed. The Lord took me on my own journey and I am feeling more secure in Him than ever before. And my preaching improved too! I was very eager to get back to my lovely wife. And I appreciate her more now than ever.