BEYOND THE MOUNTAINS


BEYOND THE MOUNTAINS

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings…”

 Isaiah 52:7

Seeing the mountains

            As our Kia van entered the territorial jurisdiction of Jose Abad Santos, the road ushered us into a rugged terrain with steep slopes overlooking the sea. Unlike the mountains of other places where the plain stretches for a few more miles before the terrain ascends to a steep heights, in Nuing the mountains start in just a few meters from the sea. As our van transited the road which was constructed along the edges of these mountains, some thoughts played in my mind. What would be my mission in these mountains? What will I be doing in a place where empty lots are more conspicuous than houses?

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In the mountains of Camalian. Notice the house on top of the hill?

The mission begins

            As we began our house visits, there I learned that the mountains have hidden treasures within them. Yes, we passed along empty lots but like diamonds lurking somewhere were the houses and its residents eagerly waiting for our visit. There is life after all beyond these mountains. If only one has the genuine desire to spread God’s message, there would not be a place lacking for such an opportunity. In these mountains, the people hunger for God’s presence as much as or perhaps more than the people in the plains.

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Motorcycle straining hard to pass the flooding river of Balangonan. Sometimes when the waters are too high, men has to carry the motorcycle to save the engine from drowning.

 

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The house where we had our lunch was actually located on the summit of this hill. It took us three and a half hours to get there.

 

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Now I’m a habal-habal driver.

Mountain climbers

            There I realized that in the Bible, the messengers of God were mountain climbers. When Moses was given the commandments of God, it was in the mountain of Sinai. When Elijah has to contend with the prophets of Baal, it was in the mountain of Carmel. When Jesus’ glory was revealed to the apostle Peter, it was in the mountain of Tabor. I can say that when my heart was filled with the desire to follow Christ, I was made firm in the mountains of Nuing. It became my joy to live with people even in their sorry condition. It became my encouragement to spend time talking to or even listening to folks I met every day. Even without explicit preaching, spending time with them already speaks a lot about God. My 40-minute travel to different chapels in order to give seminars did not wear me out even though sometimes  I have to travel alone with a load of backpack and a projector. My desire to share my knowledge about our faith has somehow compensated for that needed strength. I thought I’m the one teaching them, but knowing how far they walked just to attend the seminar, in the end, with their zeal and persistence, I realized I’m the one being taught.

            My mission in Nuing may have ended, but truly a piece of my heart was left somewhere.

            In that place where I met God beyond the mountains.

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