When we traveled to Luzon (upper Philippines) for our training a couple weeks ago, we accepted an invitation to visit a new church that was recently planted as a result of the translation of the New Testament into the Central Ifugao language. The church is located in the village of Bitu in the Hinyon municipality in the province of Ifugao. During the service I was invited to give my testimony which I did with the help of an interpreter.
Kids in the church
The service was quite special for us even though we did not understand anything that was said. After the service we had a potluck (though they do not call it that) eating locally grown rice and "native chicken". They also served a type a root which was boiled which tasted different but I do not remember what it was called.
Entrance to the church
The people were very nice and welcoming to us. I heard afterward that we made a good impression on them as well with no significant social gaffes. The local kids were amazed at how tall we were.
Half completed state of the church building
View from beside the church
House located next to the church
Entrance to the church from a distance
Pigpen on left, church outhouse on right (behind blue barrel)
As can be seen from the pictures, the church is located in a very rural, mountainous area. The bathroom (called a comfort room in the Philippines) was a small outhouse located next to a pig pen. The church itself was half finished and they were still raising funds to finish the building. The building probably seats 40 to 50 people comfortably. It has three walls now which makes it quite airy (which in this climate is a blessing).
Prior to the scriptures being translated into the Central Ifugao language, this village was known to be very pagan including spirit worship and other practices. Now, through the influence of the Word of God, the gospel is being proclaimed as never before. Yet, there is a long way to go in helping the people understand what it means to live as a mature person in Christ in the Philippine context. Case in point, we witnessed what was reported to us as a case of demon possession at the end of the church service. God knows if that was the case for sure, but based on what we saw it is not hard to believe.