(Yeah, yeah, look it up…).
As we get close to the end, I want to introduce you to two local blokes.
Bloke 1: Mark Pedder.
Along with his wife, Christine, Mark (ex-Adelaide) has lived and worked among the people of Baseco for over a decade.
He runs church services and several bible studies every day. He has raised up and trained local pastors and youth pastors to run studies and activities in the community. This week, Mark will de-worm over 5000 kids.
They run a “Birthing Better Babies” program, now with over 100 fat, healthy, breast fed babies having been born, thanks to vitamin supplements, education and a hygienic place to give birth. Each fortnight, they put a few pesos in envelopes and give them to kids (who have applied) to allow them to buy stuff for school, in addition to a school sponsorship program, where $90 or $250 AUD a year puts a local child through elementary school, or high school, respectively. They have 300+ kids on their books.
Christine and Mark often spend time wandering around, talking to people, helping out where they see the need. They are the local apothecaries of burn creams and bandages. They tend to boils and burns. A woman’s husband was going into hospital. Mark asked if she had food for her family. She said no. “Come see me and I will give you some rice”. After the recent floods, they stuffed 100 plastic bags with groceries, and just went wandering, handing them out to people who were in need.
Mark has tatts, a shaved head, and he calls a spade “a shovel” if you get my drift. He wears a singlet and thongs to church, because in this community of the poor, he wants everyone to know you don’t need good clothes to be part of church. Without drawing too much of a long bow, he channels the picture I have in my head of Jesus wandering around, hanging out with the outcast and dispossessed, doing good stuff for people and sharing the Kingdom of God.
Meanwhile, just down the road a ways is…
Bloke 2: Apollo C. Quibonoy
According to his own 24hour tv channel here in the Philippines, televangelist Apollo C Quibonoy is actually the “appointed son of God”. He is the incarnation of Jesus, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the alpha and the omega. He has a church called, “The Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name Above Every Name, Incorporated”.
Quiboloy is rebuilding the Garden of Eden in “the new Jerusalem”, Davao City, called “Covenant Mountain” and this is God’s new headquarters on earth, the new temple where God’s spirit will dwell and reign over the earth. Because it is God’s new residence, there are lots of rules about what you do there. (http://www.kingdomofjesuschrist.org/tger/rules.html). There are dress rules. No boisterous laughter, and you need to ask for assistance “if you feel to urinate”. You can’t touch the plants, because they are holy, but you can purchase holy seedlings “at affordable prices” at Gate 2.
If you donate, you can become a “Covenant Partner” (and get a signed Covenant Partnership Certificate), you get to go to the services in the Jesus Christ Kingdom Cathedral but you can only go the next step to be a “Covenant Citizen” if you really put down the credit card.
Once a citizen, you get to wear the uniform. Everyone must wear the same sparking white and sequined outfit. Men have to have Donny Osmond haircuts and the women, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis bobs, and sequined two piece outfits reminiscent of Pan Am stewardesses circa 1955. Worship music is strictly limited to God’s favourite style – 1960’s middle America country and western, with slide guitar and foot tappin’ violin.
Anyway, thought you’d just like to meet these two guys. Don’t know about you, but i know who’s getting my cash.