True heroes

One evening, in the years before World War II came to the Philippines, an old Palawano man gathered a group of young people around him and told them, “I have something important to tell you. One day a white man will come to you bringing a book with him. When he comes, listen closely to his teaching, because the book that he brings tells of the true eternal God and how to have eternal life”. Now, more than half a century later, one of those young people, now an old woman herself, is holding that book in her hands. Her son has worked for decades with translator, Bill Davis, and a big team of Palawano translators, to put this treasure in the hands of the Palawano people. One special Sunday in June, the Palawanos gathered from far and wide to thank God for the completion of the New Testament translation. Translator, Bill Davis, with wife Donna, have spent much of the last thirty years translating the New Testament into South Western Palawano.
The Palawan teachers are true heroes. In a culture where families who put their children through university expect their working children to help support the family and put the younger siblings through school, these five faithful teachers, from churches around Palawan, work for no wage. It’s a tough choice for them, and a sacrifice for their families. The produce from the garden helps stretch the budget and feed them and the rest of the household.
Nutrition, teamwork, and commitment are things every student at the Palawano School is learning on the new school farm. Under careful training, four upper school boys each lead a team of kids from pre-school age upwards, preparing and planting their own garden beds to produce food for themselves and their families.
Western Palawan University is poised to partner with them by sending lecturers in organic agriculture, so that these young people can graduate with a tertiary level certificate in agriculture. The course will be also be open to the community as long as they commit to taking the chronological Bible course, and the literacy course as well.
It is exciting to see how God is already using this project in so many ways, not least that the young men are learning leadership skills as they deal with the challenges of coaching their young team mates. These young people are also using their skills in the ‘kitchen garden’, helping to feed the large household of school teachers, students from far-flung villages, and children from the community.
The fruit of many months of teaching by a Filipino believer and missionary Elise Long at a little village close by is sweet! There is now a small group of believers there who are standing firm, despite the pressures of others trying to draw them away from the Gospel. The outreach started when they shared the Gospel with a dying man, and his family and neighbours expressed the desire to hear more. What a joy for this believer to see God at work as he quietly shares the Word with these precious folks.
Elise is so proud of twelve newly-graduated young literacy teachers, helping their elders to be able to read the Word of God!
The team are now teaching them the second phase of the chronological Bible lessons, and the lights are really coming on for them as they see Old Testament truths come alive in the Gospels and Epistles.
They saw clearly that when God clothed Adam and Eve with the skin of an innocent substitute, an animal, it was a clear picture of what Christ did in dying for us to clothe hopeless sinners in His righteousness so that they could be restored to life and friendship with a holy God.
Pray for the new believers and for the young disciples and students’ growth in character, wisdom and passion as they realise their position in Christ, and the privilege of serving Him.
Also pray for the three young Palawanos, along with her literacy consultants, Joyce and Jerry Mc Daniels. They inspired their students to train the tribal believers around the Philippines.
Praise the Lord that the New Testament is now available in two Palawano dialects.
Pray for peace and order around the Philippines given the present climate around the world, so that the Word of God can continue to go forth. Also pray for the young people to stand strong in the face of personal and cultural challenges to and attacks on their faith and especially for the safety of the young girls in the community.
As Elise spends time in Australia with her daughter Becky and her husband who are expecting their first child, she will miss ‘her’ young disciples and her team mates but is confident that God will continue to grow and use them in His service. Pray for a safe delivery for Becky. Elise is so excited to go and be with them!

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