Classrooms and carabao

Teaching takes many forms in many locations among varied groups of people for Elise Long and her teammates.

Training and teaching among the Palowanos takes on many creative venues and travel modes.

Elise Long’s literacy program brings opportunity not only to teach the Brooke's Point Palawano people but to teach trainee missionaries who “showed a passion and enthusiasm for giving the ‘key to the pantry’ to spiritually hungry people,” during their training in England.

Very different from when the roosters are the alarm to start the charcoal fire. The boys will be up pumping and hauling water for both the households and the little elementary school. The flag ceremony is bright and early during the week.

Six of these young people then gather up all they need on Saturday to race off on the water buffalo carts to teach in the market. Sunday is a scene of vivid pictures hung around a meeting house with dramas acted out, many taking part so that it is “sure we will teach the Word in just the way that will reach a Palawano heart.”

“It’s a joy to see understanding on the faces of young and old as they hear the Bible taught in the language of their hearts. Story by Bible story, they see the names of those who believed God transferred from the little cart pulled by a little black wooden carabao suspended from the roof, into the cart pulled by the white carabao, signifying that they have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light as they believe God’s promise to send the Deliverer,” Elise writes.

Whether it’s travel by motorbike or real live carabao, the trek is made to yet another village so that they too can be taught the Word of God by a team of Palawano believers whose hearts have been changed by the Gospel message.

In another village, Dave and Julie Ward are holding the first phase of Bible class in their living room. The fan is trying to move through the hot, humid, sticky afternoon air while they sit paying close.

Julie felt like she was the only one concerned with all the interruptions, “An elderly couple from across the river who we don’t see very often turned up on our porch for a visit. What were we to do? We gave them coffee and biscuits, excused ourselves and went on with the lesson. Then seeing the couple on the porch with coffee etc. other neighbours decided to visit as well. One guy liked to stick his head in the window and grin at us while some children were pulling themselves up to look over the bottom half of our door. They were all chatting noisily, seemingly competing with Dave’s voice and at times drowning him out! Not wanting to miss the fun, a rooster and his three wives toddled over and decided to join in by starting a meeting of their own, crowing and clucking right outside the window …”

Whether it’s a 20-minute hike downriver to spend the night in a little house he built to teach one lesson, or the crowd that gathers on the porch or classroom they know that, “This work is impossible for us to do alone and even though we’ve said it many times before we’ll continue to say we really do appreciate your prayers and support.”