120212 The Urban Tracker (In Cagayan Valley) : The Feeding Medley In Iguig

A generous hearty meal to partake with Iguig locals.
ocal kids along with some families were sprawled all over the ground unmindful of afternoon heat as they finished off a share of a hearty meal.

One of those many days they have been receiving from a band of people from the little church in Iguig and for another, giving them access to hearing the great news about God's word.

Immanuel church emblem at Iguig
The order of today began from Immanuel church of Iguig, the mother church as it observed its joint fellowship anniversary along with its daughter churches of Alcala and San Vicente this first Sunday of December.

Well-loved bible stories retold in an outdoor gathering.
The church swelled with participants as we aimed to capture the program highlights but more than anything, Immanuel's feeding tradition captured our interest probably it kept the church on its feet or rooted to the people. That morning the joint service was going on in the main sanctuary while in nearby shaded space young kids gathered all intent in listening to Bible stories. The young people were telling stories about the creation that the kids gamely raised their hands when asked. Their opportunity to hear God's word in itself, an act of selflessness.

Inside the church, praises and celebration got more intense
As soon as we heard the roars of praise and worship, we joined with the congregation to witness their kinship with emotions unhindered. It's their chance after all to express their gratitude for hurdling all the woes and challenges that kept their church harmonious, intact and growing. The Immanuel church of Iguig was honored to have the vice mayor of the town for their anniversary speaker. With crowd inside in still, outside church volunteers were wrapping up their last batch of cooking the sopas (pasta soup) and they were laying it in big pots.

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After an hour of potluck feast of shared lunch inside the church that culminated the program in the sanctuary, then the elders assembled the invited kids of the nearby community for a little brief lecture about God's word with delight on their face. Then they were made to fall in line as they were given a plate of sopas as a bonus treat. Our group started to volunteer as more kids gathered around a hundred of them and other families appeared with their tag along all wanting to have a share. They were all served and satisfied after an hour with all the 5 containers of sopas were enough to feed them all. The open ground has become a dining table until all plates emptied and fed all.

Alcala locals busy in preparation for the feeding.
The feeding was just the first leg of what we were more about to witness as we moved to Alcala, San Vicente. The kids here this time were all cooperative in singing songs and reciting bible verses as we proceeded with our coverage. We were even invited to a local birthday party which even us strangers were given a chance to speak and gave our words of regards in the members' house then a festive song and praise proceeded. It felt more like a fiesta with irresistible and notable warmth and endearing nature of Cagayenos.

Twilight view of the Cagayan river by San Vicente bank.
A resiliency in a real sense was brewing here. The values this church community spreading were clearly about giving. It's camaraderie a spirit that is lost in urban setting and present in this rural part. It's the kind of this genuine fellowship what must define a church. Earlier in San Vicente, I caught the sunset view of Cagayan river with its strange charm but I guess the locals have let me witnessed that hope that is much more an intensity on this side of town... AMEN!