Saturday, August 31, 2013
"Ate Bebe, how do I get to the Adventist church on jeepneys?"
That question resulted in this map and a 20 minute explanation of jeepney routes, fares, and a few key phrases in Visayan, from our language teacher Ate Bebe. I decided to visit the church that is downtown today, and maybe try the further one by the Adventist hospital when I'm feeling especially adventurous. Ate Bebe is so awesome, and gave me directions to both.
Being the only one looking for a church on Saturday morning instead of Sunday, church-going has become my time to really get up my courage and venture out solo in the city. Last week I went to an Adventist church just down the road that I could walk to from my house. It was a great experience, but I want to visit all three churches in the city eventually.
This morning I headed out, jumped on a jeepney, and surreptitiously studied my map in my purse as we headed downtown. The Filipino people I've asked help from have always been SO helpful and nice...it's just a matter of breaking the barrier and actually asking! I think most of the time they are just as shy of me as I am of them. So eventually I just asked the driver if he could help me know when to get off. He smiled so big and was so happy to direct me :)
The church was packed and the service was a mix of English and Visayan. I just think it is so neat that wherever I go in the world, there most often is an Adventist church and community to connect with. What a blessing.
Afterwards, I was determined to try and connect a bit with some of the people...which is sometimes a bit daunting because I was the only white person in the entire church and people were constantly stealing glances at me during the service, with kids just outright staring. But I made my first friend!! So excited to make some connections outside of the clinic and program I'm in here. I asked a young lady, that looked about my age, to help me find my way back home. We ended up walking a ways together and chatting about why we were both in Davao. I heard a bit of her story about how her family is Catholic and when she became Adventist a few years ago, they told her that she was no longer part of their family. Just recently, though, they are becoming more open to it, and she hopes to travel back home soon to visit them.
She got my number to text me next week when she's on her way to church so that we can meet up. So maybe I won't have to wander alone anymore :) Although I do love exploring!