When I enrolled for the Anthropology for Missions class, I did so because I did not want to have too much load for the Inter-semester because of a very important event in my life. I thought there would be less paperwork in Dr. Dizon's class. Well, not only was I mistaken, I was also surprised that there was a scheduled missions trip to Zambales, something I just couldn’t’ afford because of work and previous commitments. Nevertheless, when the Lord calls one person, He does so in ways that are not necessarily convenient for him. During the period of class lecture and discussions, I somehow acquiesced into the idea of going to the Aetas. Not that I am not used to going to remote areas occupied by minorities, I have had my fair share of cultural minority immersion and study trips myself in the past. But this time, it feels so much different because I would be going there as an observer, a tourist. Aside from that, the discussions on culture before the trip helped in instigating a desire to really find out what it is like in the mission field. So when the scheduled trip came, I only had one thing in mind—what can Adventism do to the Aeta community that is not offered by NGOs, government agencies (to which I used to be a part of), academic institutions (to which I also used to hail from), and other religious persuasions?
"Funny looking caps." I thought to myself. I was in Dubai when I first saw a group of M-uslim men who sported an unusual looking cap.
I asked my friend where they are from and he answered: "Amboniya*."
On my way to the airport, I met several of them again, this time, wearing colorful headgear. I thought, "Maybe they're from Africa." Most of them were darker looking than the Arabs. That was in November 2013. I never imagined that I would actually go to their country - a land that so mysterious and filled with so much amazing stories.
We often like to think that we are the first to reach the unreached, or that regions like the Middle East is closed to the gospel. As I travel and talk with people in this needy region, however, my understanding of our role and the reality of God’s active involvement in “closed” countries has been greatly modified.
by Ab Nur
Good question! It all started when my wife felt pity for her Islampuri* classmates at AIIAS’ Big 4 Islamic Studies program. She saw that they had no laptop and asked me if we have any old laptop we can to them. The only laptop we had at PFM that no one was using had a problem with the “hinge” of the LCD screen. It needed to be propped up so it would fall down. In spite of its condition, the two Islampuri brothers I met with to explain about the laptop’s “special user specification” were very happy and very thankful for it. That was two years ago. Last year, I got to know these Islampuri brothers better, especially Alif* and Hajji*. One of the things I learned about them is that they were actual practitioners of Muslim evangelism. What was amazing to me was when the Big 4 Program Director commented that Hajji has won 2,000 Muslims to the Lord!
by Ab Nur
"Why are you in Islampur?" People come up to me and ask. After being there for 11 days now (and being stranded in Damam City because of the persistent transportation strikes) I could not help but ask the same thing to myself!
My first visit to Sagada was in May 2009. It was just a trip to celebrate the completed evangelistic crusades of our missionaries assigned in Tinoc (Ifugao) and Bakun (Benguet). Abner and I brought our faithful Toyota Tamaraw FX, and together with our kids, packed the vehicle with our stuff and the missionaries for an overnight tour. It was a memorable trip for all of us. Many members of us either got car-sick or had stomach trouble because of the water we drank there.
The first time I met her was in 1996. She seemed so fragile. I remember wondering silently: “How can she survive in the mountains?” But she was so sure that God wanted her to be a frontier missionary, I just had to give her a chance to serve. Deep inside me, I thought: “She’d be home in a year or two.” She served for six years among the Tagbanuas in Quezon, Palawan where they had 21 converts.
One of the things I had been sharing with her batch was my dream of seeing our missionaries serve overseas. But I never thought the time would come when she would actually be able to go. Imagine my surprise when I heard that she had gone to China, where she felt called to go to. Another former PFM missionary and batchmate of hers (Ernest Ochoco Jr.), had been instrumental in opening the door for her foreign mission experience. She was able to teach English in China for a month but had to return home when her visa was not renewed. I thought that was going to be the end of her overseas mission. Surprise! When I met a friend of hers from Palawan and asked how Minnie is doing, she said: “Oh, she is a missionary in Africa!”
By Ab Nur