Today was one of our first relaxing days! We began our day by having a nice big breakfast, after only having Lugaw all day yesterday, so we started off with a lot of energy and a full stomach. Then we attended the church service at 8:30am, and it was our first of three services that we were to attend throughout the day. The service was made up of Praise and Worship, and Siobhan and Elorah had an opportunity to sing “Waltzing Matilda” before Coach John (Mr Taylor) presented his testimony. I don’t think any of us will get used to Coach Johns’ American accent! Once the service at the church had finished, we made our way to Europa to watch some of the locals get baptised. We were all quite surprised with how they executed the baptizing process as the majority of us hadn’t even seen a baptism before, and the ones that had thought that it was quite different to how it is done in Australia. It was definitely a learning experience for all of us about Christianity and how it varies in different cultures. We all pray to the same God, we just have different ways of completing the same rituals. Once we had seen all of the baptisms and congratulated all of the people who took part, we all made our way back onto the bus to go back to the house to enjoy an amazing lunch.
One of our favorite places here in Cabacungan is the IRC (IKTHUS Redeemed Community), so when we were told that we were going there for a few hours, we were more than excited. The IRC hosted a church service for us where we heard and cherished the stories of locals about their journey in finding Christ was very emotional and confronting. We praised the Lord through worship and prayer with the locals from the IRC community.
All students from the Ellenbrook crew offered to chip in to buy the community a Karrabul; which is a Buffalo like animal that is used for ploughing the fields. The Karrabul was delivered to the community during our service and students can feel proud that this donation will bless the community for many years to come.
After an emotional and powerful service, we spent the next hour playing with the kids of the community and heard the stories of the locals in the community. There was so much enjoyment and excitement on the faces of the children and it was a great experience for the group of ECC students. At 5pm, we returned to the house to recover and have dinner prior to our evening activities that were planned for that night.
Coach John had planned for us to attend a night church service and a special surprise for all of us. During the night service we praised and worshipped the Lord and heard a special testimony by Pastor Ely explaining his passion for God. It was a truly emotional and powerful message that showed Pastor Ely’s hope and heart for God and the community. The service completed and it was time for a surprise. Before we knew it, all the chairs had been moved to the side and these two buff men walked towards us with a packet of wooden sticks. They were wearing gloves and grinning. We were going to learn the Filipino style of Martial Arts. It was a thrilling experience full of excitement and fun. All the students enjoyed the experience of getting to fight one another with wooden sticks. We spent an hour learning the martial art before we headed back to the house for debrief and sleep. It was our last time at the church so we said our goodbyes to the locals we had grown closer to throughout the trip and headed home to get a good sleep before a big day of work and fun tomorrow.
Lewis and Elorah xx