All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship Building in Gabaldon
We left Saturday morning at about 6:30. It took us about 3 ½ hours to get to Cabanatuan where we would be staying for the weekend. We checked into the Microtel there, relaxed for a little while, and then headed off again for the rest of the trip to Gabaldon. We wanted to touch base with the people there to make some final arrangements for Sunday. We saw Liwanag Evangelista. She and her husband, Lando, and three children (Danstan, Jiro, and Princess) live next door to the church. Lando was busy working in the fields, so we visited with her for a while before heading on our way again.
Sunday morning we were going to eat our complimentary breakfast at the hotel at 7. But after some calculations decided time constraints wouldn't allow for that, since we had to be in Gabaldon by 8:30. Just as well we decided against it. It took us over an hour to get to Gabaldon. I had taken granola bars, raisins and dried fruit along so that served well for our breakfast. The length of the trip could have been partly because I was driving. I'm still a little hesitant, especially when going through more populated areas. I'm never sure what might be suddenly on the road ahead: a child, a chicken, a carabao, a tricycle, or whatever. So, slow is the way to go in my book!
Catechism Class for the Children
The first thing on the agenda for the day was catechism for the children. There were about 10 children there ranging from maybe 4 to 13. Daniel taught them the first lesson in the catechism book for beginners - on Creation. They each had a paper with the lesson in Tagalog. Daniel read the question in Tagalog and they all responded together with the Tagalog answer. Then he taught the lesson (in English) about creation and how it shows God’s power. The children were all very quiet and attentive.
Junely and Daisy
The Two Youngest Catechumens
Next was the worship service. They all had the bulletin in English (next time maybe it will be translated?) and the sermon was printed out as well in both English and Tagalog. Brother Rod Bongat from the Berean church had translated the sermon for Daniel. We followed the order of worship of the Bereans (which is the same as in the PR congregations). The singing (from the Psalter) and prayers were all in English.
Then came the challenge! Reading the sermon in Tagalog! It was on the Pharisee and the Publican in the temple. Daniel did a good job and made it through (although he joked afterwards about wishing he had the gift of tongues. :~)). He had the English printed next to the Tagalog and could glance at it as he went, so he at least knew what he was reading about! We could all follow along on our copies. I wondered how it would go to listen, but it worked well. I could read the English as he went and then follow the Tagalog somewhat as well. Hopefully it helps us with learning the language!
Wearing a Formal Filipino Barong
After a 5 or 10 minute break the adult class started. Daniel is going to lead them through the Heidelberg Catechism, and he did an introduction to that. He talked about the purpose and reason for creeds and about the layout and general content of the HC. He talked slowly, because it was all in English. They all had an outline in English of what he was saying. Again they seemed very attentive and seemed to understand it. At least one of the men was nodding his head a lot of the time.
They had some Bibles (Tagalog) but we brought along a few more for them. Next time they would like us to bring some copies of the Tagalog translation of the Three Forms of Unity. They can use them in the class and for personal use.
All in all it was an exciting and enjoyable weekend. We enjoyed the start in getting to know the people, even though there is somewhat of a language barrier. I came away a little frustrated with myself for not using the Tagalog I do know. I will have to make more of an effort next time. Maybe think ahead of time of some words, questions, and phrases I can use.
We are looking forward to our next trip there on the 14th of February. Maybe then we can tell you about the beautiful scenery on the way to and surrounding Gabaldon.
View Behind the Church Building