I Wasn’t Expecting This – Palanan, Isabela Trip Page 2


I like physical activity so climbing the stairs, although it was tiring, was fun for me. So was the plane ride, and the boat ride. But I didn’t expect this kind of reward.

When we reached the top of the staircase, what met us was breathtaking. So, this is what’s on the other side?

The path on the left is the trail to the staircase. The edge of the grass lawn goes downward. The field and the mountains you see afar are on the other side of the river.

I felt like I was Poh of Kung Fu Panda after climbing that high wall (although my tiredness may be way less). After that last step, it’s like I just pulled the curtains to a different world.

“Hello lovely village. Thank you for the invitation to be here.”

The first thing that you’ll notice is the breathtaking view of the river, the fields and the mountains behind you. Then moving forward, there’s the basketball court (very Filipino!) and the village houses.





After a couple of steps from the basketball court, we get to our abode. Boy, it’s big. This is where they have their guests stay. I feel like royalty. Aren’t we supposed to be suffering when we’re on outreach?

Our abode for 1 week (for some of us 2)
View front of our “house”
Dining area
Dining area view at the back of the building
More view from our “backyard” (Some morning fog)
Sometimes we get visitors. The lone turkey in the village. No we’re not going to cook it! She’s part of the family! (Then again, maybe not!)
Our backyard view. Using DSLR cam.
One night, when the sunset was showffing off


We kind of panicked and grabbed our phones and tried to “capture” the sky while the scenery lasted.


Duane, our leader. Chillin’ one afternoon.


Laundry dries on one side of the house.
The boys set up hammocks up front 😉 Neat!
You can dine outside too…


So yeah, now that we’re all set up! We’ll go around the village next.



‘so’ loved

If we put our heads together...

Jacob ‘so loved’ Benjamin that he would die of grief should this youngest son’s life be taken from him. He also ‘so loved’ Joseph that from the time Joseph disappeared and had been assumed dead, Jacob never stopped grieving their separation.

After Joseph disappeared:

He mourned deeply for his son for a long time. 35 His family all tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “I will go to my grave mourning for my son,” he would say, and then he would weep. Genesis 37:34-35, NLT

Judah speaks about ‘the boy’ Benjamin:

“And now, my lord, I cannot go back to my father without the boy. Our father’s life is bound up in the boy’s life. 31 If he sees that the boy is not with us, our father will die. We, your servants, will indeed be responsible for sending that grieving, white-haired man to his grave…” Genesis 44:30-31, NLT (emphasis mine)

I could not help but weep after reading this last passage about Jacob’s affections for Benjamin. His life was bound up in the boy’s life, the Scripture said, that he believed he would die should he lose his son! How closely knit to a son could a father get? Certainly not closer than Jacob was to Benjamin! What tenderness and fragility in an old man’s heart! He must have adored the kid and every moment of it’s life that the thought of losing him would mean being ripped apart.

That moment, Father God came speaking to me with the same tenderness of Jacob’s heart. I love my Son this way. I love each and every son I have this way. I love each and every daughter I have created, this way. Do you understand it now Riz?

I literally sobbed feeling the intensity of God’s pain and affection, the longing of my Abba Father, to redeem his lost children, blinded by sin, unaware of a love so unconditional and tender. If you want to preach the Gospel Riza, do understand this. Do you now understand?

For the first time in my life, I think I finally began to understand. For a moment I stopped weeping and wiped my tears, then I wept again, stopped, then wept again. It felt as though God would want to reveal more but my tiny heart felt like it could no longer contain the intense passion of His pure love for His children.

O God I want to understand more, but my heart seemed so full of other things. Help me make room for more of You in my heart. Help me make room for the souls you want to save.

16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16, NIV (emphasis mine)

My love it satisfies, my blood it gives you life. My mercy far outweighs your need. My justice never fails. My faithfulness prevails. My strength is poured out for the weak. There is a river… that never runs dry… My cup runneth over, the wellspring of life, oh it satisfies! — Wellspring by Audra Lynn