I looked at the crowd gathered around me. They were all women, smiling, laughing and talking with me and my Palawano companions. Most of the women were holding at least one child in their arms. They squatted in the dirt. Some of the children were dirty. Some of the babies cried, some smiled, and some played games with the people around them. I was in Marmá again.
We had come to Marmá for our monthly witnessing visit consisting of Bible stories, sermons, songs, prayer and medical check-ups. In the past, the women here have been very shy, and stood back and let the men talk with us and interact. Not this time. To my great joy, the women broke out of their reserve. This time they came and asked us questions and let us ask them questions in return.
“What is your name?”
“How many children do you have?”
They held their children and told us who in the village was sick, who was pregnant, and who had lost children, how many and why. They told us that some of the men had gone to town to sell bebtik (a tree sap that is used for fire starter). They also made it a point to tell me all the local gossip. This was not an isolated instance. They returned every opportunity they could to attend the worship services, receive a medical assessment or just for an enjoyable and relaxing time.
Please keep the people of Marmá in your prayers. Pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to work in the lives of the people who live there, that they will continue to be more open to us and the Holy Spirit, and that they will increase in their understanding of Jesus.