On Good Friday, I (Curt) witnessed a person literally have his hands and feet nailed to a cross. While the pictures I took may at first glance portray piety, this unfortunately could not be farther from the truth. The great irony of the mock execution I observed is the fact that the man portraying Jesus had no comprehension of Jesus’ final words, “It is finished.” (Jn. 19:30) Later, I learned the man crucified has been participating in this act for 20 years for the sake of his family’s health. To him, he was earning God’s favor through this annual sacrifice.
His hope was in his own works rather than the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. As the gospel of grace teaches, grace is a free gift and cannot be earned. (Eph. 2:8-9) Just like many parts of the world, “religion” here can be observed masquerading as Christianity, but with closer examination, it could not be farther from the truth.
As we dive deeper into culture, we are given more insight into the Tagalog language since language and culture are inseparable. Recently, we had our first language and culture evaluation. We were encouraged to see the progress we have made since the beginning of our study, yet realize we still have a lifetime of learning to do.
With temperatures soaring and children out of school, summer has already arrived. A few weeks ago, we were able to attend a number of graduations and ceremonies. One of our Filipino friend’s daughter received an award at her elementary school for academic excellence. As teachers, it was interesting to witness how a public school operates here in the Philippines.
In addition, we attended a graduation for our national co-workers. Just down the road is our national training program for Filipinos. These graduates will now begin the next steps necessary to reach unreached people groups in the Philippines.
We are thankful for many things! Despite major life transitions, Sadie is thriving and enjoying life as a toddler. She says a few words in Tagalog and makes friends wherever we go. We recently celebrated her second birthday and took her to see dolphins at a nearby beach.
On another note, we are thankful that the Monobo people heard the gospel for the first time in their own language a few months ago and many have believed! I was able to visit this people group here when we took our first trip to the Philippines in 2014!
We can always use prayer. Learning to function in a new environment is a never-ending endeavor. Even when we are at home, we still have random knocks on our door and leaky plumbing to deal with. As we continue to push ourselves out of our comfort zone, we are also learning our limits and the importance of Sabbath rest.
Thank you for your prayers and faithful support. We cannot be here without you!