Update posted 12.04.2010
Well, December is here at last, and Christmas music and decorations are everywhere. I've also seen my first carolers at the gate this year, some of which carried the traditional stringed instrument known as a kuglung
, and played it far better than I can play mine. The local government has tried to reach out to the tribal people of the nearby mountains by giving them aid during Christmas for years. While they have nothing but good intentions, this has encouraged these indigenous people groups to enter the cities, and while doing so, accept the role of beggars in mainstream Filipino society, dependent on the people of the lowlands who can give them rice and other aid. This is a holdover from the mindset of the colonial period, and many here never stop to think about how disturbingly backwards it is - the tribes may not have SUVs or new cell phones or money in the bank, but they carry the rich cultural traditions of the Philippines that have become watered down, and sometimes abandoned, in the cities. They should be respected and valued, and if we are to help them, it's better if we can go to them, rather than making them come to us. This, I am told, is the inspiration behind the Christmas party organized each year though Tribal Mission Foundation
and Simbahang Kristianong Lumad. Cathy and I have been a part of this for several years, along with friends from our church, and have at times been able to contribute to the budget for food. This year, we are bringing clothes that have been donated, which will give our friends in Malikongkong's SimKris church the unenviable task of distributing them in a non-chaotic way. We hope you will pray with us that this will be used by God to be a blessing, rather than sparking quarreling or envy. What we want most is to share with them the love of the Father that sent Jesus into our world to rescue us. That is what all the fuss over Christmas is about anyway. And this year will be interesting as we are bringing our son Roldan with us, too. If it goes well, we might be able to start doing things like this more often again.
Our support letter from earlier in the year can still be downloaded here
, and we also have a color brochure here
. Some of the info is outdated but they are still useful.