After the EBI and PAMI worker family picnic, we left San Benon Hotsprings ~4 pm and boarded a ferry in Matnog ~5 pm, which departed right away ~5:30 pm. The ferry takes about 1.5 hours to go from Matnog to Allen, Samar. Since Pastor Randy knows the ferry crew, we had special permission to ride on the top deck with all the liferafts. What an idyllic moment it was to relax up there with the setting sun, sea breaze, gentle swaying of the boat, and panoramic views of palm forested volcanic ranges looming and then receding in the distance. We felt like veteran travelors headed out to one last far-flung road trip. We were headed out to our farthest point away from home. A long-term goal of PAMI has been to spread to unreached regions further south. That’s why PAMI’s most recently added workers and interns have been sent to Samar–to support pioneering efforts in Catarmin and San Isistro. We were going to visit the frontiers/front lines of the mission.
While in Samar, we stayed three nights in the rented church/house of Pastor Randy and Nida Rivera in downtown Allen and made side-trips from there.
On Thursday March 21, we spent the morning going east to Lavezares and Bankawan Island (see the April 4th post titled Ministering to Kids on Bankawan Island (a video sample of a Kids Time). In the afternoon we went further east with Pastora Lordilyn and EBI intern Sister Jennalyn (Monang) to Catarmin, which is the newest pioneering site of PAMI, started last October. Catarmin is the capital of the province of Northern Samar. It’s a fairly big and strategic city, with a mixture of higher class and poverty areas. Interestingly, when we took a tricycle across town, at one place traffic crossed right through an airport runway (which only gets gated off when a plane lands or takes off). While in Catarmin we went to a cafe for lunch (with cake for a special treat), visited the humble home of an outreach, visited Ptra Lordy and Sis Jennalyn’s current boarding house and the place where they’re soon planning to transfer, and did a Kids Time in the street. Although thunder indicated impending rain, we were thankful it held out until we were done.
On Friday March 22, we spent the morning going south to San Isidro to see where Pastor Edward is ministering with two EBI interns, Sister Ella and Sister Catherine. We did a Kids Time in the home where they normally meet for church services. We also visited their boarding house next to the sea, and the home of an outreach near a college. On the way back, we stopped at Villa Veronica Beach Resort (a.k.a. Spice of Life Beach) in Buenos Aires, Victoria, where we enjoyed a little snorkeling and a picnic lunch in a thatched roof cottage. From 3-4 pm we sat in on Pastor Randy’s Heatline daily radio program in Allen. We shared some advice to people who had written in about personal dilemas, and Ben and Pam sang a song. That evening we went to an open-air plaza/basketball court in Buenos Aires, where Ben & Pam sang with some children and the “Jesus” film was shown. Once again we were thankful that the rain held out, even though there was distant lightning and clouds approaching.
On Saturday morning March 23 we took the ferry with Pastor Randy back to his hometown of Matnog.