Thursday, May 17, 2012

Greetings from Mindoro!

During the meeting in which we were asked to leave Tamisan, back in
December, Fausto, the Batangan "Mayor," mentioned a meeting scheduled for
March. This meeting was called for by the highland Batangan, and it was to
address once-and-for-all the "problem" of religions.

Though I was not invited to attend, I heard rumors that the meeting occurred
and the outcome wasn't favorable. I didn't hear anything official, though,
so I continued on as per my agreement with Fausto.

That was until two weeks ago. I had a meeting with the head of the local
branch of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) in Sablayan.
During the meeting, I was officially informed of the decision at the
meeting. After two days and nights of non-stop meetings, the tribe agreed
to close the interior to missions. I was restricted to Bangalabong, and the
highland Batangan officially became a closed people group.
I told the director of my previous agreement with Fausto, that if I was
invited/a village agreed to let me come, that I was free to go into the
interior, and by God's grace he agreed. This is only an oral agreement for
the moment, but I'm working to get it in writing.

Partly in response to this development, the church at Bangalabong met last
Sabbath, and one of the items on the agenda was my mission. I was asked if
I were willing to move into the interior now if it were to work out. Of
course I heartily assured them that I would love to. They then picked four
men, men of respect and wisdom, and set a date to send an expedition into
the interior. Included among the four men is Lito, our one member who is a
first generation highlander. He got fed up with the witchcraft in the
interior and came down with the intention of becoming a Christian. He is
our key to the highlands. Sandy, Abel, and Jun are the other three, all
church leaders and good friends of mine.

The group will leave Sunday, May 20, and will be come back no later than
Friday, May 25. Their primary purpose will not be to evangelize a
particular village, but simply to seek out open minded people and villages,
warming them up to the idea of a foreigner coming to visit, and letting them
know that I have medicine.

This expedition, and the others that are sure to follow, will likely be a
deciding factor in my getting into the interior, where I end up in the
interior, and how long it will take to get in. Much good can be done, and
many barriers broken down. Many barriers could also be raised and the work
delayed if things go wrong.

May I please ask for your special prayers during this coming week, from May
20-25. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will go before the expedition,
softening the right hearts. Pray that the Spirit will fill these men,
leading them to the right place and speaking the right words through them.
Pray that God will send His angels to bind and push back Satan's forces, and
to protect the men as they travel. Above all, may God's will be
accomplished and His work forwarded in His good time and way.

Thank you so much! I really appreciate your being a part of this team, and
helping to advance God's kingdom among the Batangan. May God richly bless