A crowd for hope
By Ace Concordia
C4C Philippines coordinator
It was a hot and humid afternoon, and we were all sweating from the heat. More than 130 souls were packed in the small classroom of the elementary school. The crowd pressed in from the doors and windows of the room to get a glimpse of what was going on inside. This was a unique event in their village, and they did not want to pass the opportunity to witness it.
On a sheet of white cloth pinned to a blackboard the story of Jesus’s life was being shown, and the people heard His story in their own Kankanaey language.
Villagers watching the Jesus film in Mogcao.
This was the program of Mission: Philippines June 2014 in the village of Mogcao in Kibungan Benguet. Despite the movie being nearly two hours long and the afternoon heat, the people who gathered to watch the Jesus film did not waver. Their attention was drawn to the unfolding of the life of Jesus.
This scene had been no different two nights before in the village of Badeo, where more than 70 villagers arrived to watch the film despite a torrent of rain. You could see in people’s eyes how they were captured by the events of Jesus’s life: from the healing of the blind, the resurrection of the dead, the deliverance of those possessed the calming of the storm, and His preaching in the temples. They gasped at His betrayal, the mockery made of Him during His trial, the pain on His body as He was whipped and finally nailed upon a cross between two criminals.
They heard His words in their own language, as He spoke of hope, forgiveness, love, and salvation. It was truly a special time for these Kankanaey villages – finally they were witnesses to the greatness of God’s love.
Michael Wall, a member of this year’s mission team from Durango, CO, USA, told me afterward that the film showing was actually very much like the gatherings during the time of Jesus. Multitudes of people would come just to see Him. Many of them had (and have) only heard of His name and the miracles that He had done.
They would climb trees, push through crowds, climb windows, stand at doorways, climb on roofs, and linger for hours and even days to see His miracles and hear His message. They endured all sorts of weather, cramped spaces, and discomfort for undetermined amounts of time for the opportunity to be one of those who finally saw and heard Him.
“Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.”
– Matthew 15:30 (NIV)
Despite the passing of time, many things in this world remain the same. Many people still only know Jesus as a name. Many hearts are still anxious to know who He really is, and what He means to our lives. Many still continue to search for hope in this world. That includes the Kankanaey people, whose struggle with poverty leads them to desperate measures.
That is why, when they heard that the story of Jesus was going to be shown, they came. They gathered in search of hope – for burdens to be lifted and sorrows eased, for deliverance from their difficulties and the healing of their lives. When the film had reached its end we all prayed. I know many found new confidence because they understood the extent of God’s love for them.
This is what a C4C mission is all about: to go to places where no one would go and bring Jesus, so people can gather and hear about His life and love for us.
Climbing For Christ Philippines would like to lift our praises to God for the success of the BADEO 2014 mission climb, which had participants from the Philippines and United States. The team was able to bring school supplies, medicines, and New Testaments in the Kankanaey language to the villages of Badeo and Mogcao. The main objective of evangelizing by showing the Jesus film in the native Kananaey language was an overwhelming victory for the Lord as more than 200 Kankanaey watched the film and heard the good news of Christ’s love. Our deepest gratitude to everyone who supported this mission through prayers and their generosity. We look forward to sharing more about the life of Jesus to many more villages in Kibungan and to gather as many more people as we can to hear His message of love and hope. To God alone be all the glory!
Ace Concordia is a Climbing For Christ board member and the coordinator of C4C Philippines based in Metro Manila.