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Project: Reaching Tacadang

Fellowship of the King

Story and photos by Ace Concordia
C4C Philippines coordinator

Eight people…gathered together…against difficult odds…to bring hope.
People come together for many reasons, to celebrate, to mourn, to think, or to just simply share thoughts. Usually this involves simple sit-downs around a table or at a nearby coffee shop. But what if you told people to gather for the purpose of walking 9-to-10 hours across several mountain passes with ravines while carrying heavy packs on their backs?! I guess most people would pass.

But Sept. 4-8, eight people said “yes” to this invitation. Seven climbers from Climbing For Christ in Manila along with one climber from Baguio took on the challenge of the project “Reaching Tacadang.” The purpose of the climb was to fulfill a promise made during a previous recon climb to Tacadang. The objective was to bring Bibles and much needed school supplies and slippers to the residents and children of Tacadang.

Scrambling up a ridge to Tacadang.

As we began the task of gathering the items we were to bring to Tacadang we were not sure of how much support we would get. But as the days drew near to the climb the support became overwhelming, so much so that I am still receiving messages offering donations even after we’ve returned from the project. People sent so much that the problem shifted from “what can we bring?” to “how are we going to get all of this up there?” For once, I had a problem that made me smile.

More than just the material blessing, God also sent the right people. On this project we met Danny Sison, a climber from Baguio. Danny had contacted me about joining the climb. He met us at the Dangwa Bus station in Baguio, and right away we struck a good rapport with him. It turns out he speaks Ilocano and had done work offering vocational career courses to youth and people who are seeking jobs overseas. He has climbed many mountains in the Cordilleras, but it would be his first time in Tacadang.

On our first climb to Tacadang (read “How far would you go ... to help someone?”), we could converse with people but there were obvious barriers to the communication because we did not speak the local language. Without even asking, the Lord provided for that need. Danny filled this gap and ended up being an interpreter throughout the project. This allowed us to effectively connect with the people of Tacadang. God bless you, Danny!

Enjoying the Tacadang view.

On our previous climb it was dark and gloomy. We were drenched by the constant rain, and stressed out managing the difficult portions because of the slippery rock. It was as if a wall was being set up to discourage us from coming back. But on the days during the project climb those walls came crashing down! I praise God that even though it’s monsoon season and the likelihood of rain and even a storm was inevitable, WE HAD PERFECT WEATHER! On all three days of the climb! Our God truly reigns over all the earth!

The climb was grueling, but breathtaking. We were able to take pictures of the portions we previously could not, and we handled the difficult portions better because of the dry conditions. I’m still amazed because I learned that as long as you are obedient to what God is asking you to do for Him, not even the weather can stand in your way.

You might be wondering how we got a truckload of supplies up the mountain. Another blessing were the people of Tacadang themselves. Young and old, men and women, volunteer porters came down to haul up all that we brought to Tacadang. It was amazing how fast they traveled while carrying their loads with their bamboo backpacks. I once looked up from resting and saw a line of porters carrying blessings all the way up the mountain trail; it felt like Christmas came early this year.

Bamboo backpacks.

When we reached Tacadang, we were greeted by the townspeople, including the school head and teachers. One elderly man made a comment to my friend Jhun that really touched me. He said, “The first time when there were only two of you who came, we talked among ourselves and considered that you might not return, but because you did, we are happy!”

On Sunday, Sept. 7, we attended a local church service, and then conducted a half-day program at the school. We held a puppet show for the kids and played games with them. We gave away school materials as prizes and then also gave out more than 100 pairs of slippers to the kids. I was given time to share the Good News about Jesus to the townspeople and also prayed with them. We gave out our gifts, which consisted of Bibles and 100 books for the school, office supplies, and some clothing. Then we had a lunch of several meals made out of goat’s meat with the townspeople.

What I will take back the most from this project was seeing how the children, the old folks, the mothers and fathers, how they all had smiles on their faces. The joy in that place on that day, and the hope brought by God was the summit of this adventure. It would not have been possible if not for the gathering together of people and organizations that heard of the need and responded with acts of generous giving. It is truly a coming together, a fellowship for the King!

Carrying the banner for Christ — and C4C Philippines.

Thank you to all of those who helped project “Reaching Tacadang.” May the good Lord bless you more, and we hope we can partner with you on future mission climbs! Thank you to: GO 37 foundation Inc., Sandugo adventure, Habagat, Diwa, TREK “Trails to empower kids,” Filipino Christian church, Bato Balani foundation Inc., Life Builder Global Ministries, and to the countless other people who have generously given to this cause.

To my fellow Climbing for Christ brothers and sisters, Andrea, Pat, Jhun, Mark, Rhea, Ernie, and Danny, thank you for giving of yourselves for the cause of Christ! I look forward to more adventures with you!

To God be all the glory!!!

Posted Sept. 15, 2008

The Word

“We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”
1 John 1:3 (NLT)

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