By Ace Concordia
Climbing For Christ Philippines coordinator
Massive flooding caused by merciless torrential rains, a billion-peso government corruption expose under investigation, and Muslim rebels holding more than 100 hostages in one of the southern islands are among the headlines in the Philippines. These are challenging times. But Filipinos are resilient.
Despite our resiliency and our ability to jest at calamities, there is much need for encouragement and hope. Where does one find it amidst the seemingly unrelenting trials being thrown our way? What keeps our country from falling apart amidst the chaos?
Filipinos have a deep belief in God, and at the end of the day we all know He is our only hope.
It is even more challenging in the mountain communities where the most basic of education, medical care, and livelihood are in short supply. Such is the case at the destination for our upcoming mission climb, which starts Thursday (Sept. 19) and continues through Sept. 24. We return to the village of Badeo to visit our Kankanaey brothers and sisters and bring them a very special gift. Apart from the usual medical and school supplies that we will be bringing, we are currently printing Bibles to bring to Badeo. We have brought Bibles to Badeo before, but this batch is special. We return to this village bringing Bibles in the native Kankanaey language!
A Kankanaey child holding a Bible in her language delivered to Tacadang in June 2013 by a Climbing For Christ team. (Photo by Celso Callo)
Kankanaey Bibles have not been distributed to the Kankanaey for many years now, resulting in the Kankanaey using the Bible from another dialect, Ilocano. Based on a survey we made in 2012 and on previous mission climbs many Kankanaey want the Bible in their native Kankanaey language for one reason: to understand the word of God more.
That is why bringing back the Kankanaey Bible to the Kankanaey has been the project of C4C Philippines for 2013, and we are now on our third delivery run. Praise God!
The precious and powerful Word of God reprinted by Climbing For Christ in the Kankanaey language.
The enemy truly is on the prowl and continues to ravage the lives of the Kankanaey people with poverty, leading many of them to engage in illegal activities. But the most devastating attack of the enemy is in their hearts and minds; he robs them of a vital element to a meaningful existence – the hope of Christ.
They need to know that all is not lost, that despite the challenges they face, there is Someone looking out for them, who loves them, and has given literally everything to ensure that they have hope. But there is only one way for them to know Jesus, and that is to read His love letter, the Bible. That is why the truly precious cargo we bring on this upcoming mission climb will not be the medicines or the school supplies, it will be the Word of God.
There is no question in my mind that even if we had nothing else to bring, the Word of God is more than sufficient to provide whatever is lacking in the lives of Kankanaey people. To bring them what they need is a good thing, but to bring them closer to God is the best thing we can do for them.
That has always been our mission: to bring God’s Word to a place where no one ever goes. Our dream is ultimately to have a Bible in the hands of every Kankanaey.
But this dream is like climbing a mountain; it’s an uphill battle. What makes it more difficult is while we’re trying to get up the mountain the enemy is throwing everything at us to discourage us and to make us reconsider our goal.
The enemy always makes it seem he has the upper hand, the higher ground. His goal is to intimidate us into believing that the task is too great and that it is impossible to accomplish. He laughs at the idea of a Kankanaey Bible in the hands of every Kankanaey.
I was talking to C4C member Jael Garcia recently and she reminded me of how Nehemiah set off on a seemingly impossible mission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in the midst of many enemies. When Nehemiah was being taunted by his enemies and was asked to come down and stop building, this was his response:
“And I sent messengers to them, saying, ‘I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?’” – Nehemiah 6:3 (ESV)
Nehemiah was being asked to come down to talk to his enemies. His enemies were on the ground and Nehemiah was on the wall. This is a reality many of us as Christians need to know. We are not at the losing end – we have the upper hand!
The enemy is trying to bear his weapons on us, but God has already built a wall around us and we stand on the top of it. The enemy is the one who is desperate and is losing the battle. So despite his seemingly endless challenges, we as Christians should be the ones who are relentless. We should not stop doing the great work that God has given us.
Lay aside all fear! Do not pause to doubt! Do not hesitate! Keep moving forward! Be relentless in your pursuit to serve God! You are doing great work! You are on the wall! Never come down for anything or anyone! You are on the winning side!
The Bibles we bring to Kibungan are the like the bricks Nehemiah used to build the wall. So we climb once more to Kibungan filled with fire and encouragement, knowing that with every Bible we bring to the Kankanaey people we fortify the wall God is building for them. God continues to build his church in Kibungan and it grows stronger because of God’s Word.
Climbing For Christ moves forward in the Philippines with God’s plan, and by God’s grace we have confidence in another successful mission – because we are building a great wall for Kibungan, all for God’s glory!
To my fellow C4C volunteers, ministers, workers, and supporters: let’s keep building! Let’s keep pushing forward! Let’s be relentless! We are on the wall!
Please pray for Mission: Philippines and delivery of Kankanaey Bibles into the mountains of Kibungan. Give financially to Project Living Word. The delivery of a Kankanaey Bible in the Philippines costs US$12.
CLICK HERE to read Dispatches from Mission: Philippines 2013 in September.