A dance for God
By Ace Concordia
C4C Philippines coordinator
- CLICK HERE for details about Mission: Philippines 2014
Feet were stomping and hands waving like a bird ready for flight. Colorful robes were draped around the dancers and the sound of wooden instruments and gongs made up the “Canao” tribal dance. This was a traditional dance performed by the Kankanaey to celebrate or to make an offering to the spirits and gods of the mountains. It was my first time to witness it.
A Foundation Day participant performing the tribal dance of the Kankanaey.
I was a member of a Climbing For Christ team that was invited to become part of the Foundation Day celebrations of the municipality of Kibungan in November 2013. As I watched I realized that this dance has been performed for many, many years by the Kankanaey people. Their zest for this tradition can be seen in the vigor of their presentations.
The Kankanaey people have a common belief in a higher power. That is why they worship through their music and dances. I can relate to this form of worship because singing and dancing for God is one of the highlights of a Sunday service for me.
I have experienced being so immersed in worship that when I opened my eyes I was the only one left standing with my hands raised up. It’s an experience of being totally overwhelmed that you drown out everything around you and just simply abandon yourself to His presence. In the midst of being lost in this moment you jump and dance and lose all thought and care for the world. It’s simply a taste of heaven that I believe has no comparison to any form of human experience.
That is why C4C Philippines continues to endeavor to reach out to the Kankanaey people. Our goal of helping to finish the Kankanaey Bible translation and distribution in Kibungan started this year 2013. Three successful mission climbs saw the distribution of more than 100 Kankanaey New Testaments to four remote villages.
Our participation in the Foundation Day ceremonies helped us meet more pastors serving in Kibungan and share with them our goals for the Kankanaey Bible. We praise God for such a blessed year! But it was only the beginning of God’s great plan.
In 2014, C4C Philippines will once more return to the villages of Tacadang, Dalipey, Badeo, Les-eng, Bekes and Culiang to pursue our promotion of the Kankaney Bible. That project remains a top priority. C4C Philippines also hopes to continue discussions with partner organizations, like Summer Institute of Linguistics, regarding the completion of the Old Testament part of the Kankanaey Bible.
We will continue to bring school supplies and medicines to help people who have become our friends. It has also been planned to have small teams stay in villages for a few extra days with a host family to understand more about the Kankanaey people.
Also, C4C Philippines will organize more pastor fellowships for promotion of the Kankanaey Bible project and train and equip Kankanaey church leaders.
There is still much to do in 2014. We ask for those who support Climbing For Christ to continue to pray for us. There are many challenges ahead, maybe even more than before. Despite what we see as another busy year, in the hearts of our volunteers it will all be worth it.
We look forward to the day when we can sing and dance with the Kankanaey people. When we can hear the sounds of wooden instruments and gongs as we worship the One true God together.