Arriba en la Cordillera

Back in February, Rev. Mienda Uriarte and Rev. Richard Williams of PC(USA) came to visit our partners in in the Philippines.  I was able to join during their visit to Dansalan College.

Ms. Edna Orteza, Program Coordinator of Institutional Ministries, was our guide. She has a long-lasting loving relationship with the school. Also present were mission co-workers Cobbie and Dessa Palm, Pastor Rannieh Mercado (Executive Secretary of Administration) and for a short time Bishop Ligaya Francisco of that same jurisdictional area. We met with the president of the school, Dr. Fedelinda Tawagon.

The students prepared a video to show the future campus of the Iligan campus.  Dansalan College has two campuses, one in Illigan city, the other in Marawi. The first part of the video is about the destruction that occurred in Marawi and the campus there. They used drones to film what was left of the previous buildings. Everything has been burned down, the few walls standing are covered with bullet holes.  The Marawi siege happened two years ago and there is still so much to do .

Few contractors are allowed by the government to work in the city. According to the army the city needs to be destroyed to be sure that there is no mines and bombs remaining. Everything is going to be removed to be able to rebuild. It will take years.

Right now, the emergency is to finish the Iligan campus so the teachers and students can keep on working in a safe place.

After a full morning of meetings, we flew back to Manila in the afternoon. I had a great time learning to know more about Mrs. Edna work. She is in charge of the  CREATE-UCCP (Church Related Educational Action Towards Empowerment – United Church of Christ in the Philippines). The program is the link between the main institutions of the UCCP and their schools.

Thanks to our recent visit to Dansalan College, she invited me to join her for a visit in the Cordillera, the central north region of the island of Luzon. Her cousin Dr. Ruth and Jason Caperas, one of the UCCP drivers joined us for this long road trip.

On Sunday February 24, we left for Nueva Ecija and spent the night at Ms. Orteza’s place where we met her husband who served at the Church of the Holy Redeemer before retiring in the early 2000’s (UCCP Church of the Holy Redeemer is in our neighborhood).

From Nueva Ecija we traveled to the region of Kalinga, 10 hours north. After crossing the pass of Santa Fe, we followed the cordillera range through Nueva Viscaya. We enjoyed beautiful mountains on both side of the road. One of the mountain range is called the Sierra Madre. We were surrounded mainly by rice and corn fields.

We arrived in Tabuk City and visited the Tabuk Institute to drop off books and supplies. Principal Mae Quilawat Pomay-O greeted us with mulberries, Kalinga coffee, camote (sweet potatoes) and black rice.

We visited the school and learned more…. One night in October 2018, the library caught on fire. Most of the books were destroyed. They were able to save some computers and Bibles but every else including the building burned down. This was a tragic loss for the school, not only for the students and the books but also for their certification. Without a library they might lose the subsidies from the government which will be dramatic for the school. They need those subsidies to allow students to study for free. A lot of the students come from poor families who cannot afford school fees. It is an important part of the community where several Kalinga tribes  study  together. They have to rebuild the library as fast as possible to be able to fulfill the academy requirements.

After that first visit, we drove to the heart of the town to St Tonis College, Inc. We met Bishop Elorde Sambat who serves as president of the school. They were getting for the 42nd founding anniversary celebration that will happen over 3 days. The school was built 42 years ago has an extension of the Tabuk Institute and now serves 1168 students. We went to a local restaurant for dinner and meet with one of the owners which happens to be a regular of the NCUC local church where our family worships every Sunday. We also met Dr. Ruth’s brother, Jesse Garcia who happens to be the National President of United Church Men. He was the guest speaker for the Tuesday morning worship service.

Tuesday is the big celebration kick off, with all students and staff attending the morning worship service. There are several prestigious guests including the city mayor, Ferdinand Tubban, who is also a UCCP member.  The students showcased several talents in music, dancing and singing. The former and first principal of the school, Dr. Presentacion Bartolo, sang most the school hymns, which she also wrote. The invocation was led by Rev. Roceni Bakian, the same PC(USA) International Peacemaker in 2018.

After lunch, we met with the principals of the UCCP schools of the Kalinga region. Due to distance and national holidays (Monday was the celebration of the 1986 People Power Revolution), two couldn’t join us: Ms. Merlina Ayam from Apayao Community Learning Canter in Kabugao, Apayao and Ms. Joy Andaya from Abra Mountain Development Education Center in Lamao, Bucloc, Abra.

The purpose of our meeting was to assess the different needs of the schools and to start creating a school system including all the schools in the Cordillera. Dr. Ruth De Lara offered to train the teachers and staff. She is a curriculum writer. With the national Department of Education she helped develop learning competencies for Math and Science for K-12, wrote textbooks, and trained teachers and practitioners. She is a member of the UCCP Formal Education Board. She coordinated the production and publication of the Values Education materials.

We talked first about the Kalinga Academy in Lubuagan, founded in 1927 by the Evangelical United Brethren. The principal Cesar Manalwap talked about losing the school accreditation due to the state of the building. The school is 92 years old and there have been few upgrades through the years. The building is not safe and needs to be replaced but there are no funds. Starting this year, the government will stop providing help and if nothing is done, the school will close in 3 years. They serve a lot of farmers and children from different tribes. The community doesn’t have much money. The region suffers from the tribal wars. Some kids do not go to school during the conflicts due to security or because they take part in it.

By the way, the principal is a trained nurse.  He took the direction of the school because he was the only one willing to step up.

Next Bishop Sambat talked about St. Tonis College’s projects: extending the campus and improving their nursing program. They have some support but the task is great. The students are also suffering from the tribal wars and Bishop Sambat wishes to create a peacemaking group to mediate with the different groups. He is asking for materials or programs that can help him in that task.

Pastor Ruben Puguon, principal of the Ifugao Academy of Kiangan, introduced us to the Centennial Plan that they are following. The school will celebrate 100 years in 2026. He wishes to build a College, as well as a hotel and canteen to create some income. There are 310 students. The building is very old and needs to be renovated.

Principal Mae from the Tabuk Institute talked more about the library fire. They are still looking for an architect to design the new building. They need to finish the gymnasium and build a canopy on the playground. It gets so hot during most of the year, that it is impossible to use that field for any event or activity. They have 3 stores that generates income from selling black rice.

The group also expressed their training needs for their teachers, parents and students. They need support in dealing with bullying, sexual misconduct, social media behaviors, teenage pregnancy and tribal feuds. They are too isolated to send the teachers to conferences, so they hope some UCCP volunteers can come to help with those issues. A lot of the teachers are young and ask for more leadership. The principals also were not trained and learn on the go, and they wished to have better tools to do their work. They are dedicated but lack resources. One of the objectives of CREATE is to provide that support.

Early on Wednesday morning, we left for another 5 hours road trip to Kiangan in the center of Ifugao.  We visited the Ifugao Academy. We ate breakfast in their brand-new canteen. The school is very old and seems about to fall apart. The campus is right across the main public high School. The student comes from all around the region. They stay during the week because they live too far to commute every day. Each grade and section has to participate once a month to the Sunday worship service in a local church.

There is also a World War II museum that commemorate the end of the war and memorializes all the fallen Filipinos. It is close to the top of the main mountain, so you can see the valley from it. There’s an empty lot right at the entrance of the museum, where the school wants to build the College building for the Ifugao Academy. They hope to have a hotel there too, since there are no accommodations for visitors in town.

Before leaving, we did some shopping and enjoyed the crafts from local weavers and wood carvers.

We drove back to Nueva Ecija for the night and came back to Quezon city on Thursday morning.

The Patricio Manns song is still in my head. 

We met again in May during the CREATE general assembly. Looking forward to see how the partnership can go on.

 

2017: Year in Review

In an ideal world,  we would send you a photo collage of all the people, places and things from this past year.  It would arrive on time, maybe in your mailboxes (yes, snail mail) complete with handwritten or even laser printed labels, and you could even post it on your fridges, mantles, or anywhere else for you to see.  Back to the real world, we are now 8 days away from Christmas, and with a few more days until the year’s end.

Our family (aka, Team Chang Lopez) wishes to invite you on a small photo collage “journey” of this past year.  Instead of one Christmas photo, we thought that you might enjoy more than one photo.  While some of these photos were previously posted on Facebook or with our quarterly newsletters, we tried to find new ones to share from our virtual family albums.  Taking cues from many news outlets that will release a similar “Year in Review” in a few weeks, we like the idea– and hope that you do too!  Who knows, maybe we have started a new tradition for this blog!

With deep gratitude, we’re thankful for your being a part of our team, through your prayers, cards, care packages, emails, Facebook posts and messages, and financial support, all to partner with us in ministry here in Southeast Asia.

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March: March 8 marked “International Women’s Day” as well as my and our daughter’s first protest march.  Too bad the heat and humidity were too strong for her.  “Solidarity against exploitation of women” is emblazoned our T-shirts and never too young to teach anyone
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March: March 17 marks the death of Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Flor Contemplacion, twenty-two years ago.  Each year many remember her death and call attention to those OFWs stlil on death row, as well as the many abuses and exploitations that many still endure.
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April:  Visit with the key leaders of TADI, one of the only anti-human trafficking ministries based in an UCCP local church.  TADI is housed in the UCCP Dumaguete city church, in Negros Oriental.  During this visit, the pastor also invited me to preach for their November Annual Thanksgiving worship service and share more about my work

 

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June:  Parents of Jennifer Dalquez share a message to advocates and supporters during a celebration-gathering, because of being freed from death row in the United Arab Emirates.  Sadly Jennifer still must serve 2 1/2 additional years for theft
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June:  Flying solo during brief visit to Lake Huron Presbytery (Michigan) and Grace Presbytery (Texas).  Grateful for the extra efforts to keep our family and our partners, in the minds and hearts of supportive churches
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September: First days of the Presbyterian Women Global Exchange in Jakarta, with U.S. and Indonesian sisters eager to learn about one another.  At the GPIB national office and guest house
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More questions and answers with a prominent Muslim feminist scholar
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Learning how to play marimba-style instrument called “gambang.”  Young performers were extra patient with us, after their top-notch performance that included audience participation with us singing “This is the Day”

 

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Enjoying the view and victory of traveling up hundreds of steps at Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple
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While in Jakarta, one of our speakers was an anti-human trafficking advocate.  While we only spent few hours together, maybe there will be more opportunities to serve together in the future
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October:  Participants from Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Thailand share brief reports about the situation from their respective countries
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October:  During our family’s first return to the U.S. after moving to the Philippines, we began our jet-lagged days with breakfasts at the Princeton Theological Seminary cafeteria, during the Women in Ministry conference.  Serving as panel discussion participant and workshop leader requires a strong, healthy breakfast
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November:  According to the UCCP church calendar, November 19 is designated as Migrant Worker Sunday.  While I crafted a liturgy for all UCCP churches, UCCP Bacoor invited me to preach and share more about Migrant Ministry.  **Some of you might recall the same sermon title from before, but I assure you that I re-wrote many parts of this sermon for my Filipino brothers and sisters!
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December:  Our daughter began taekwondo in July and participated in her first poomsae tournament.  Thankfully her grand master is Korean, so she can learn more Korean beyond the simple meal prayer that I learned from my grandparents and we sing almost every day

Take Two/Indonesia Too/Second Time Around

Nearly six months have passed since I’ve last contributed to the blogosphere – so it feels like this is my second chance at trying to regain your trust, your friendship, your readership.  Nearly two weeks away from the end of the year, I am now reflecting on these past few months.  I’ve never felt more stretched to speak, write, and visit new places to meet new people and revisiting places to meet old friends, and trying to keep up with everything else in life.

English is still the main language that I was speaking and writing in all those places.  I wish that I could speak heart-to-heart in Tagalog, Visayan, Cebuano, Ilonggo, Bahasa Indonesian, Cantonese/Mandarin, Thai, with the many people whom I have met.  What I cannot say in your own languages, I still write with deep affection and admiration.  In the coming years, it is my heart’s desire to learn to meet and accompany you in your own languages.  Until then, please accept these brief “love notes.”

To my Indonesian sisters whom I met in November 2016, and again this past September, with the Presbyterian Women Global Exchange, you are beautiful and brave and bold.  You shared the beautiful parts of your culture, music, arts and food.  You shared about the challenges of being a Christian minority and the opportunities to work with other faith traditions for the betterment of civil society.  You shared the brave desire to serve women suffering under domestic violence.  You asked about programs from the Presbyterian Women.  Who would know if you were asking for yourselves… for friends… or for other women in your families… in your communities.  In the way that you were asking, especially weeks before #metoo and #churchtoo, you were also saying so much – and trying to do much more.

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Enjoying a lighthearted moment with our main hosts from Indonesia, through the Presbyterian Women Global Exchange

 

To the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) church workers who I’ve met at Dumaguete, but come from all over the Philippines, and especially the most recent ones who I’ve met in Western Visayas, thank you for your Facebook and actual friendship.  In your pulpits, in your parsonages, in your communities, and in your families, you are striving to serve God and the people with the fullness of your hearts, minds and bodies. Such faithfulness demands me to step up my game and speak with as much theological and Biblical integrity, whenever you have invited me to preach in your pulpits and lecterns, walk and hear about the struggles and triumphs in your communities, meet your members.

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To the unnamed young woman in Chiang Mai (Thailand) and older man from Culasi (Philippines) whose names I’ve forgotten, but whose gestures are well preserved in my memories, thank you for accompanying me.  To the unnamed motorcycle drivers on Carlos P. Garcia Island (Bohol) and Madia-as (brief video below), thank you for holding onto me, even as I held onto you for my dear life.  From my brief lifespan, you were only my first and second motorcycle rides through the Presbyterian history of churches, as well as the enduring witness of living churches and faithful church people.  Desiring to explore and be fully immersed in the places where you live and where you come from, I was at your mercy.  Not knowing where to step in a rice field or in a river bed, I have lost my footing and a shoe, in the mud.  You have retrieved my shoes and tenderly washed both my shoe and foot.  You’ve also shown me that I must learn again how to be served, not just how to serve.

 

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To the creative people at Westminster Presbyterian Church, West Chester, who created the Wittenberg door, and to the UCCP church workers of Western Visayas Conference, you are now connected in a new way.  This was our family’s second time to visit Westminster.  That Sunday when our family visited in late October, we donned our Sunday best, in the Filipino way.  In a barong, my husband Juan also placed Martin Luther’s black cap on his head, to complete the outfit.   Although it seemed silly at the time, this picture has prompted serious theological reflection, “What does the Protestant Reformation mean for the Philippines 500 years later?”  Or as I like to put it, “Can Martin Luther wear a barong?”  Theologians like Dr. Everett Mendoza, Dr. Victor Aguilan, and many others have reflected on these questions, and I was privileged to facilitate this discussion with the current and retired church workers (even a recent widow!) of Western Visayas .

 

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Wittenberg Door “prop” used for children’s sermon at Westminster Presbyterian Church — husband later becomes the “prop” in discussion with Western Visayas church workers
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Views from morning bath in the river near the Mt. Maja-as, moments before our discussions about “Martin Luther in a barong”

Getting Away and Getting Back

marawi_b5cce9f481d03c549f6a321ee9458c3e.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000Jesus got away from it all and went the mountains to pray – to be clear, I’m not saying that I’m Jesus. What I am saying is that this rare occasion serves as a helpful reminder, especially for people like me, that all of us need to take time away from our regular routines.

Nearly two weeks ago, our family left the Philippines to spend some quality time with my in-laws in France.   This was our first extended time away since moving to the Philippines — but also this visit was an extension of my commitment to spend quality time with family as much as we could.  Ever demanding and relentless has been the pace of life for the past few months, so we gladly disconnected from Facebook and breathed in the fresh mountain air on hikes and savored my father-in-law’s empanadas and enjoyed the smiles of satisfaction from our daughter who devoured fresh supplies of strawberries and cheese.

A few days before our return to the Philippines, we learned of some alarming news while scanning through our Facebook newsfeed:  a group of ISIS-inspired terrorists were attacking a city in the southern Philippines called Marawi.  Philippine President Duterte had cut short his trip to Russia and had already declared martial law in that southern province called Mindanao.

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What makes this attack and this declaration of martial law more than mere news headlines, but something more personal and close to home is that the Maute group had already been destroying several properties on the campus of Dansalan College – a United Church of Christ in the Philippines college which serves many students and much-needed education and employment in this city and region.

UCCP General Secretary Bishop Marigza and the other jurisdictional bishops already prepared their response in a pastoral statement.  Now, several UCCP church leaders are assessing the situation on the ground and discerning the next course of actions which include finding out about the 7-unaccounted-for people from the college.

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This is not what our family expected to come back to, but then again this is a small piece of the world as we already glimpsed it during our vacation:  Upon arriving in France and awaiting our family’s turn to go through customs, I detected one solitary sign with some helpful hints about a passenger’s rights:  for example, what to do if one is forcibly removed from a flight.  Of our first visits in Paris was a memorial erected for the victims after the Bataclan bombing.  Of the several bookstores that we visited, I noticed and later picked up a book about refugees called “Eux, c’est nous.”  A nearly completed mosque in my husband’s childhood neighborhood is among the many new community buildings.  During our Metro rides and train rides and walks around mostly tourist spots, the national police with larger-sized ammunition served as a reminder of the heightened security considering many recent events in France.  Hours before our flight back to the Philippines, during our last visit to a children’s park, at the entrance with both French and British flags at half-mast, to remember the victims of the recent Manchester bombing.

Somehow the tourist in me still found a way to reflect more on fear and the fragility of life:  Yes, I even thought about how quickly all of this, this life and this visit, could disappear in the blink of an eye.

Just a few days after returning to the Philippines, I am caught with the physical and social and emotional demands of jet lag.  Part-zombie, part-person, I can only hope that I can continue with a full and whole heart.  I’ll be returning to the US for 3 weeks, and maybe there’s one question that will still linger and guide my reflections and conversations with people:  Where is our faith amid this fear and fragility?  It keeps me getting away to those mountains, maybe not with more trips to France, but getting back from those mountains with more appreciation for my family and for my family of faith through many UCCP brothers and sisters.

Art and Science of Letter Writing

To save the life of Jennifer Dalquez, there has been an outpouring of support through prayers, social media posts, pastoral statements, and letters from advocates around the world.

What follows are three different letters that I helped to write, in collaboration with the PCUSA Human Trafficking Roundtable, and finally sent to the Office of Stated Clerk with the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II

Joint Letter from UCCP-PCUSA for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

UCCPPCUSALetter

Letter for Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan

UAEletter

Letter for all PCUSA members

PCUSAmemberletter

 

 

Write Up Too

 

When I last wrote about my emotions surrounding the U.S. presidential inauguration and the Women’s March, there was one more “up” to add to the litany that closed out my previous blogpost:  write up.

Writing is more than me hunched over my laptop and tapping away in the hopes of putting some words and phrases into something meaningful.  Writing means having the strong enough muscles to sit – and to stand – and to stand up.  Yesterday I stayed home to rest strained back muscles that were more tired than I thought:  one press conference, one prayer vigil, two protest marches, and several writings later, my body was trying to tell me to rest.  These were firsts for me, which also might account for the additional energies expended for these efforts.

Here’s a peek into those writing muscles at work: In response to an advocacy campaign for an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) named Jennifer Dalquez, I have tested out some new forms of writing, mostly to lift her situation and plead for her life. She is imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates and is awaiting appeal from the death penalty, in a hearing that will take place on March 27.  She fatally wounded her former employer who was attempting to sexually assault her. She is claiming self-defense.

When Jennifer’s parents represented her at a press conference, I joined several other church advocates in their support.  I represented the PCUSA and UCCP, so they invited me to write a prayer to include in the press kit.  Around then I also prepped for an International Women’s Day Forum, which I would provide the Rationale.  Trying to make sense of a theme prepared by the United Nations, as well as another UCCP theme of “Spirituality of New Humanity in Eliminating Modern-Day Slavery,” as well as the pursuit of peace talks, I attempted to put something coherent for this forum.  PHEW!  I asked my partner church UCCP if they could provide a statement in support of Jennifer Dalquez.  This is when I learned that when you ask, be prepared to act upon it:  I drafted and crafted until General Secretary Bishop Marigza refined and approved the statement.  Thanks to one of my UCCP colleagues Pastor Nonie Aviso, he gave me the crash course version on pastoral statements:  challenge, response and call.

As if an advocacy campaign, a forum, and a pastoral statement were not enough to stretch me, I also enlisted the support of the PCUSA Human Trafficking Roundtable, to join the appeal for life for Jennifer Dalquez.  One conference call, along with more crafting and drafting letters for the Stated Clerk also built up writing muscles: a letter for PCUSA churches; a letter for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte; and a letter for United Arab Emirates Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan **If/when I receive permission, I will share those letters.

Challenge, response and call: besides pastoral statements and letter writing, could this apply to a sermon, an article, or any other written or spoken word, or song?  What else could work here?  Maybe conversations with young daughter about why we’re praying for the president or Jennifer.  Maybe other speaking engagements or upcoming blog posts.

Here’s a sampling of “write ups” from the past few weeks:

Save the Life of Jennifer Dalquez (UCCP pastoral statement)

Rationale for International Women’s Day Forum (scroll to bottom of page)

 

 

 

More Together than Alone

 

To the sisters and brothers who gathered to march throughout the world for the Women’s March, I was right there with you.  There were no sister marches here in Manila.  Thanks mostly to my Facebooks news feed and the news diet that includes both local and international newspapers, I enjoyed watching the live speeches and songs, as well as the many colorfully creative posters.

Being surrounded by other Americans is what I thought that I needed this weekend, since most of the time I’m the only American in the room.  It used to be that I was the only Asian-American clergywoman under 40 when I lived in the U.S., but now it seems that I’m the only Korean-American clergywoman under 50 serving as a mission worker in the room.  This distinction is noticeable during instances like this past Wednesday, when I attended an ongoing series called the Wednesday Forum.  Originally started in the 1970s at the UCCP-Cosmopolitan church, this forum provided a place for dissenting voices during the martial law years under President Marcos.  Church leaders relaunched this forum last October to discuss critical issues such as the impact of the peace process on indigenous peoples, war on drugs, and most recently the status of foreign relations under President Duterte.  I have attended all but one event, but I have yet to comment or raise any questions.  Considering the upcoming weekend with both Presidential inauguration and worldwide marches, I hoped to say something – but in the end, I sat back and listened.

As much as I felt like I was there with the women’s marchers, I also felt strangely alone, maybe because I couldn’t march here, maybe because I regretted my choice to stay silent, maybe because I was caught in trying to find the right adjectives or metaphors to explain how I was feeling over the weekend.  Starting Friday, black was my wardrobe color of choice.  In the afternoon, I read through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the quietness of our national church offices.  I stayed in that shroud of sadness, although I did come up for air when it was time to eat or time to dance and sing to the soundtrack of “Sing” with my daughter.

Sometime on Saturday I received an invitation to participate in a Facebook Secret group called “The Resistance.”  I accepted the invitation because I knew the colleague who invited me, but I didn’t recognize many of the people in this newly formed group.  After a day of watching different posts, one pinned post came through with this question, “Small acts of resistance matter… What’s yours?”

Getting dressed for church on Sunday morning, I chose to exchange the Friday black for Sunday green, to be more precise, Pantone 2017 greenery.   Walking into church a few minutes late, with the opening strains of a familiar hymn tune with different lyrics, God must have known that I needed to hear these lyrics and let them come over me:

For stories told and told again to every generation,

To give us strength in times of pain, to give us consolation.

Our spirits to revive to keep our dreams alive,

When we are far from home and evil seasons come;

How firm is our foundation.

 

For God our way, our bread, our rest, of all these gifts the Giver

Our strength, our guide, our nurturing breast whose hand will yet deliver.

Who keeps us till the day when night shall pass away,

When hate and fear are gone, and all our work is done, and we shall sing forever.

 

Although the hymn writer Ken Medema originally wrote these lyrics in celebration of the Reformation, which I learned only recently, I am still struck by how this hymn inspired by events 500 years ago, could still provide me with much needed comfort on this day.

To my sisters and brothers who are serving as mission workers throughout the world – and to the many individuals and churches who support them, I wonder if any of you feel like your work is considered “resistance.”  Maybe the individuals, church partners, and the organizations with whom you serve are doing everything to upset the status quo, which could be corruption in government, a culture of impunity or generations of poverty.  Working with and for a church in the Philippines, along with many organizations that are striving to write a different narrative for this country, it is our privilege to witness and testify to their acts of resistance through their pastoral and prophetic ministries.

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To my sisters and brothers of the resistance in the United States, I wonder if our work as international mission co-workers could also support the work that you’re already doing, or now it’s the work that you’ve committed yourselves to.  I don’t know what it looks like to be part of the “resistance,” in this in-between space of being American and serving in a country that wants to redefine its relationship with America.  Strangely both countries desire to cultivate their relationship with Russia.   Here’s what I know how to do:  wake up, show up, speak up, listen up and join up with people.