After leaving beautiful Bulusan, we then crossed from the east side of Sorsogon Province to the west side, dropping off Pastor Gumer in his home of Irosin along the way. We’d be stopping back in Irosin after spending the weekend in Bulan. From Irosin to Bulan, and back from Bulan to Irosin, these were the only travel legs in the province where we were without a native escort. So we had to rely on my (Mike’s) memory of where to go, which eventually got us to our destinations in a bit of a round about fashion. One of my landmarks for finding the PAMI Church in Bulan is that I remembered it was close to the cemetary in a part of town called San Vicente. Cemetaries there look a bit different than back home, what with crypts stacked up to 3 or 4 high and people hanging laundry there.
Bulan is where PAMI started 30 years ago when my uncle Norval and aunt Ardelle Thorud arrived as PAMI’s first missionaries in 1982. In turn, the Bulan church is the most well developed, what with it’s own property and large building, a large group of active elders and deacons and young people that help with ministry, and three daughter churches in outlying barangays of Bulan (i.e. Fabrica pastored by Joel Homo , Lapinig pastored by Pio Guray, and Monte Calvario pastored by Nonie Polo). Besides being head of the Bulan partition of four churches, Pastor Virgilio Fulo has also served as overall field director since Pastor Chito passed away last June. Pastor Virgilio and his wife Letty have been with PAMI a long time–since 1984–Virgilio being one of the first EBI students and Letty being one of the first EBI teachers (they got married in 1990).
Since Letty used to live with my uncle and aunt, she’s familiar with American comfort foods and took good care of us. That was especially nice when all three of us got sick digestive systems our first night (must have been something we ate or drank in Bulusan). While we were taking turns making urgent trips to the CR (comfort room = bathroom) all night, we were sure glad it was happening here rather than on a crowded jeepney ride. Fortunately, Pam and I felt well enough the next morning to attend the March 16 group baptism (see April 2nd post), while Ben stayed behind to sleep it off. Then by late afternoon, all three of us were well enough to do a Kids Time at the home of Bro James Tumula in North Roque, Bulan. After the Kids Time we walked through the rice field across the street for a Bible study at Brother Manding’s house (where a blind guy played the guitar). They showed us the property next to Bro Manding’s house that he plans to donate for construction of a daughter church building to eventually replace the Fabrica church rental. As we walked back to the main highway, I took a couple nice sunset pictures over the rice field. Saturday night I showed Pastor Virgilio’s son Alvin how to use the laptop, projector, and camera we gave them for church use.
On Sunday morning, Ben and Pam did another Kids Time in place of Sunday school. Ben and Pam also sang a special number during the morning worship service, and I gave a sermon about The Great Commission and our mission. We enjoyed watching the tamborine dancing of the the Young People. We also enjoyed teaching and hanging out with the Young People from 1:30 – 6:30 in the afternoon. Their energy and laughter was one of the highlights of the whole trip. Rather than head to Irosin Sunday afternoon, we decided to stay one more night in Bulan. That way we had time to go to JollyBees (where I played chess against Ptr Joel). We also played Uno back at the parsonage, with one hand that was never-ending (over an hour).