Survey Climb: Bekes/Culiang Trip Report (Mission: Philippines 2012)
By Ace Concordia
C4C Philippines coordinator
“We did not send you an invitation to visit us, and yet you came. You are an answer to our prayers!” Pastor Samuel Bandas said, as he delivered a message at the worship of the UCCP church in Bekes on Sunday, May 20.
Pastor Samuel had served as a minister in Kibungan for many years. He suffered a stroke a few years back and was using crutches to walk. He considers it God’s miracle that he was able to recover and now can function normally again. He was vibrant in delivering his message, a contrast to the inherent shyness of the Kankanaey people. His years of serving God were evident by the strength of his message that Sunday morning.
Ace Concordia surveying some of the terrain covered by the C4C Philippines mission team.
We had reached the villages of Culiang and Bekes in the Kibungan, Benguet province, after crossing the Amburayan river via a bamboo raft and two days of climbing up a mountain that featured some of the steepest assaults we have ever encountered in Kibungan. These two villages were considered the most remote communities in this mountainous region. C4C Philippines had been planning to visit ever since we heard of them more than 1½ years ago. Back then, no one invited us to go to these villages. So what prompted us to visit them? It was hearing that they were the villages that needed the most help because they were the farthest.
From the very beginning of C4C Philippines ministry, no one invited us to go to Tacadang on our first Evangelic Expedition in Kibungan. We simply found out that it was a village that people never went to because of its distance and the difficulty of getting there. It sounded like a place for C4C to minister in. Despite the lack of an invite, we went.
When people started hearing about C4C’s ministry in Tacadang, we started receiving invitations to visit other villages. That is how mission climbs for the villages of Badeo, Dalipey and Les-eng were established.
But I recall that, even before we received an invitation, we had already heard of these villages and had already planned to visit them. The invitations only served as a confirmation that we were going there. Most often we went to these remote villages in Kibungan, not because we were invited, but because we saw the need to share Christ to as many of the Kankanaey people that we could possibly reach.
There was a time in my Christian life when I waited for opportunities to share my faith with others. I did not actively seek to share it, for fear of being misunderstood or offending people. As I waited and waited, it seemed that days would pass by and the opportunities to witness would not present themselves. It resulted in discouragement and self-doubt. It is absolutely miserable to carry something so important and not be able to share it with those around you. It’s like carrying a life vest in a sea of drowning people.
I was always waiting for the right time or the right moment, never knowing when it would be. It was as if I was waiting for their invitation to share the important message that I had. I only ended up asking myself in frustration: “Will I ever bring anyone to Christ?”
Team member KZ Abesamis with a Kankanaey man.
During our climb to Bekes we stopped by a local hut and saw an elderly couple. Their age could be seen in the wrinkles on their faces, on their skin made dark from planting under the sun, in their eyes that had seen the seasons change in Kibungan. I could not help but think to myself, “After their many years of life, do they know the salvation of Jesus Christ?” It made me glad we didn’t need an invitation to come to this remote village. Now that we were here, we could shine the light of God’s love for them.
As Christians, what are we waiting for? Now is not the time to hesitate or hide your faith. The Bible says that salvation is always today! The more we wait, the more we lose our chance to witness to others. Every day, every hour, every minute we do nothing is time we can never get back. The salvation of many around you depends on you showing them and telling them about the grace of God through Christ. We should live our lives every day showcasing the new life we have received from the Lord! Let’s not wait for the right time, because time is running out.
We live in a dark world; we don’t need an invitation to turn on the light.
“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.” — Luke 11:33 (NIV)
Posted May 27, 2012