The seminar was simply fabulous! And we had hardly anything to do with it.

Here in the Philippines, there is a large [people] group called the Higaunon to the far north of us. The church in that place is more established than the Banwaon church. Each year they hold two week-long seminars for the church leadership. This year the Higaunon believers agreed to hold their seminar here with the Banwaon church leaders.

We love that the Banwaon elders and deacons organized everything. Dates, times and invitations going out to the Bible teachers in all the Banwaon outreaches. Food for the week, snacks and accommodations. They even built a little toilet block near the church.

Then the day came. Everyone in the village, including us, was fidgety with anticipation, ears to the ground. Finally, we heard the roar of motorbikes…all loaded with Higaunon Bible teachers, church leaders and their wives. We ran out to the road and yelled and waved a big welcome…[to] all eighty-six of the Higaunon believers.

Albert went up to say, “G’day,” but after that, we left them to it. That might seem strange, but we wanted to make a clear point on this very first inter-tribal seminar that they are perfectly capable of running something like this.

We might not have been physically present at the meetings, but we kept hearing wonderful things. Reports of deep, encouraging teaching from the Higaunon church leadership. Singing, sing- ing and more singing. Laughter and fellowship.

Later, the Banwaon church elders shared that they learned so much and now plan to have their own seminars. We are so encouraged. This seminar was a big step forward as we move towards completing the Banwaon New Testament and phasing out of full-time work here in the tribe. The Banwaon church continues to mature.

—Albert and Lynne Castelijn