when the romance of missions crashes into reality…

Why We Are Here.

This is fiesta season in the Philippines. Fiestas are the celebrations of the patron saints in each town. Each town is separated into smaller communities called barangays. They are essentially neighborhoods, but they have their own form of local government. And each barangay has its own patron saint. Each town in the Philippines has multiples fiestas every year, celebrating each barangay’s patron saint, and then one large fiesta in which the town saint is honored.

Fiesta is such a sad time for us, because we see repeatedly the misdirected worship of the people. In San Andres, each fiesta celebration lasts about 9 or 10 days. For the first 9 days, every single night there is a procession, in which there are one or two idols on pedestals that are followed by people, with one woman singing what sounds like a dirge all through the streets. It is eerie. Then at the end of the fiesta everyone gathers at a plaza where there is obnoxiously loud (to us, at least) music, a dance, and LOTS of alcohol. There are 2 or 3 of these dances during the fiesta…for each barangay.

When the processions go by our house, Josiah always wants to see the “parade,” so we talk to him about how we worship the True God, and we are sad for the people in the “parade” b/c they don’t know Jesus. He is I’m sure confused at times because some of the idols look like pictures of Jesus, or have crosses, etc. The other night we went out to see the “parade,” and I was moved to tears. The majority of participants were children. They were walking with mothers or grandmothers (men don’t usually partake in spiritual activity). The woman singing the eerie song was a grandmother’s age. So I just had this thought, this image, that that woman was led as a child in procession after idols throughout her childhood, then she as a mother led her children, and now she’s leading them all, in a way, as she sings in the procession. Each person in that procession has been following idols their whole lives. Those children that I saw running alongside, sometimes ahead, not understanding what they were doing, were being taught at an early age to follow idols, and right before my eyes I was watching the beginning of their bondage.

And this is why we’re here.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if we were able to see families turning away from idolatry and toward the Living God? The see the generational influence of a grandmother/mother/child following idols shift to a grandmother and grandfather, mother and father, leading their children in worship to Jesus alone in faith that saves as they turn their lives away from superstitious penitent works toward the God of grace, mercy, holiness, and security?

May it be so.




One response

  1. Linda Mitts

    I am praying that your testimonies and witnessing will bring about change in the hearts and minds of many people that do not know the truth about who God is. I also pray that Josiah will tell other children why he loves a God that fills people with joy and not mourning. Blessings to you all.

    May 8, 2013 at 1:59 pm

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