Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Taylors-Reaching Tribal People in the Philippines

Always saying, "Goodbye."
Back row: Christine Taylor, Kim Taylor Johnson,
Scott Taylor, Rell Lackland, Ariel Taylor, Billy Taylor
Front row: Carol Lackland, Karen Taylor, Sarah Caudill

I have wanted for some time to share with my friends the wonderful ministry of my nephew Scott Taylor, his wife, Karen, and children Ariel, Billy, and Christine in the Philippines.

Scott had studied the Batak people of the Philippines in a sociology class. He learned that it was estimated they would be extinct as a people group by the year 2000. He and Karen lived among them providing basic medical care and love. The Batak are not extinct but growing in health and in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I intend to share their letters with you as I receive their emails. Scott and his family live simply and sacrificially. They come home infrequently. Please pray for them and their ever expanding work in the Philippines.

If the Lord would lead you to contribute to this ministry the address for contributions is:

The Taylors (this is the only address to send contributions)
C/O Glenda Norris
25665 Nightingale Drive
Lebanon, MO 65536
Their Field Address:
Scott and Karen Taylor
P.O. Box 113
Puerto Princessa City
5300 Palawan, Philippines


Dear Rell & Carol,
Greetings from Riyan Dakan. We are now at our home in our tribal village, enjoying the Batak and the beauty of living again in the rain forest. Our busy April/May camp season begins in several weeks, so this will be our last chance to have uninterrupted time with the people here.
Our Christmas holiday season went extremely well. We were able to minister to around 1000 people through our various works and outreaches. The Gospel was presented and others were taught to better appreciate the priceless gift of the Christ’s birth.
We continue to be astounded by the remarkable variety of people that participate in our camp ministry: Primitive Batak tribal people, a Korean millionaire businessman, a Nigerian missionary, a transvestite, members of the Tagbanwa tribe, a famous anthropologist, Muslims, a group of Chinese doctors, college students, Palawano tribal people, Korean missionaries, fisherman, a group of young people that arrived with their own military escort, armed with automatic weapons, Australian missionaries, and farmers. People from six different countries, speaking fourteen different languages and dialects, passed through the camp ministry during the Christmas Holiday season. We have been amazed that in spite of the economic crisis, people continue to come.
Something is now occurring for the first time, also in connection with our camp ministry. When we first opened, some of the young people attending camps made commitments to go into full time Christian ministry. We wondered at the time, how many would follow through with their pledges. We are now seeing some of those same young people bringing their own groups for camps. They have completed their schooling and are now Pastors or church workers.
We had a new addition to our team of workers in February. Brian is from Fresno, California and will be joining us for a year. Sarah from Wisconsin is now in her ninth month with us, and continues to be a huge blessing.
With the extra support provided by Brian and Sarah, we are now able to be involved in projects that we previously never had time for. One of these projects is ministering to tribal people with leprosy. In spite of having a medical program for many years, we have never succeeded in saving the life of a single patient suffering from leprosy. Traditionally, people with leprosy are forced to live in a leper colony located on an island far to the north of us. Such a prospect is terrifying to a Batak and they normally go into hiding in remote parts of the jungle. There, they live an incredible existence of loneliness and suffering, with no access to medical care. Normally, they only come to us when they are in the last, critical stages of their disease. By that time, there is very little we can do to help them.
The main difficulties in working with a Batak with leprosy is first finding them, and then spending many hours trying to gain their trust. They must be convinced that we can help them and are not just trying to trick them into going to the leper colony.
Recently, a Batak with leprosy attended a Batak believer’s conference held at our camp. It was heartbreaking and yet incredibly inspiring, to see him standing though the lengthy song service, tottering on feet that were mostly gone. With difficulty, he clapped his hands in time with the music. It was difficult because he has no fingers. His enthusiasm in worship and hunger for teaching was truly an inspiration to all of us.
In the months since the conference, we have managed to gain his trust and have convinced him to undergo treatment. A government doctor from the city has agreed to supply a years worth of free drugs for his treatment, and to allow us to administer them. The only condition is that the Batak must first be examined by him. Unfortunately, on the day that the examination was to take place, the Batak disappeared and was rumored to be somewhere deep in the rainforest. Pray for Busingan and his wife.
Several years ago, a group of women came to us requesting help. Because of a dwindling membership and the loss of their Pastor, their church was on the verge of closing its doors. They asked us to help them and we agreed. Carol, Marlyn, Pastor Ongcal, and Bekay, worked many hours with the church, in addition to their own ministry responsibilities. Happily, the church is now doing much better and has called a new Pastor.
One aspect of our ministry that continues to not go very well is our outreach to the local, teenage boys. Often they will attend The Youth Center (many times faithfully) but later succumb to the temptation of drinking, drugs and the violence that are so prevalent in our area. For a time, one young man faithfully attended the Youth Center. You might remember him as a boxer in one of our videos. He joined the army and was stationed in the lowland village that we pass through on the way to our home in the tribe. Several months ago, he was part of a large crowd that was taking part in our lowland village’s Foundation Day. He was not in uniform and armed, but his friend was, and they had been drinking. Later in the evening, he became involved in an altercation and soon his opponent returned with some of his friends. His armed friend felt threatened (no doubt his judgment was clouded by his drinking.) and opened fire on the crowd. A huge stampede resulted, injuring many in addition to those had been shot. Our Tribal Chieftain Marina was standing next to one of those shot, and was severely trampled. She came to our clinic for treatment and was covered with cuts and bruises. The young soldier from our Youth Center now faces charges, has ruined his military career, and brought shame on his family. Please pray for the young men in our area.
How is everything in Hanging Dog? Are you seeing any warm weather yet? The other day, we got out our pictures of the big snowstorm we experienced in Wisconsin right before Micah’s wedding. It is hard to believe that a year has gone by already. I really do miss the cold weather. It has been unusually hot here, even for the tropics. Sarah is from Northern Wisconsin and has had a difficult adjustment to the heat.

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