Sunday, April 16, 2017

Holy Week and Centurions at the Gate

Holy Week has been a rich and heart felt experience for us.  It began with Palm Sunday.  There were crowds of people at the churches buying and selling intricately designed palm decorations to place at the church and to take to their homes. VIDEO 

  The palms are blessed by the priest and are thought to bring protection and blessings to the homes that display them.  

Look at this beautiful woman.

We were thrilled to see this procession of worship as we entered Naujan.  These Romans are mild compared to the others we saw.  It looks like Barabbas is taking up the Savior's cross as the Savior is walking behind in chains, a crown of thorns and evidence of wounds on his robe.  The participants were dressed in costume.  As it passed by it was easy to feel the love and reverence these people feel for Christ.

There were probably as many as 500 people following.  They were reverent and  thoughtful as they walked. Many greeted us with a smile and respectful nod.  We heard the word Mormon said by a few who passed us. VIDEO

On the way to Pola we came upon another procession where everyone had gathered. We saw a woman and man carrying the cross.  Carrying the cross is believed to provide power and forgiveness. 

We were driving down the street in the evening in Calapan and came upon this amazing procession of floats with life size statues, lights, flowers and music.  Again, it seemed as the whole city came by the thousands to honor the Savior, walking reverently with candles.  Thursday and Friday most businesses were closed so families could celebrate and participate in the events.  It was difficult to take good photos with the light so here is a VIDEO

During Holy Week these scary looking "Centurions" roam the streets looking for Christ.   Several of the towns had competitions and gave prizes for the best.  We saw them in three of the towns we drove through.  They were very elaborate and reminded us of transformer toys.

This black and white shows the detail a little better...minus the head dress.  He still looks scary but they all were happy and friendly as we took photos.

An additional person of interest was this man walking in the middle of the street with orange hair and a sign of warning.  After I took his photo he shook my hand and told me he loved me.  We aren't exactly sure what the numbers mean but we did learn that DU30 means Philippine President Duterte.

On the main road into Calapan we encountered a procession for the Black Nazarene.

 After the week of pageantry and celebration we came to this small branch in  Naujan to witness the baptism of a new member.   The spirit was strong and sweet.  We thought of the Savior and the twelve who were charged with taking his gospel to all the world.  These few changed the whole world not unlike the few who serve him today preaching the restored gospel and how in a relative short time his message again is reaching and changing the whole earth.  This verse comes to mind:  D&C 6:34 " "Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail." 

 We are small but mighty!  VIDEO

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