Father Seraphim writes: It has helped tremendously that Fr. Silouan can speak a little of their language, and is able to read it very well. They really enjoy hearing him throw out a word or two now and again. It usually is followed by their peals of laughter, some nearly falling off their chairs.

Today I practiced music with singers from the mission chapel. Nobody reads music, so we sang melodies line by line till people started to get it. Not sure how many times we sang “Lord, I Have Cried” in tone 8 in Cebuano, but it’s starting to click :-) I’m thankful for mobile phones with MP3 recording ability, which lets me sing something once and leave the recording with them.

Luckily psalmody makes up a major proportion of the services, so I was able to pull texts right out of the Cebuano Bible and quickly assemble most of the unchanging parts of Vespers.

Met the owner of the resort and arranged to rent the pool from 10-11am tomorrow for baptisms.

I was introduced to the former barangay captain, who wants to run for office again. Unfortunately her church (Iglesia ni Cristo, a neo-Arian sect) is kicking her out because they’re not allowed to hold public office. Marina straightforwardly told her she should become Orthodox – we don’t mind of you run for office :-)

Marina is the owner of the house next to the chapel, and the land on which the chapel is built. She was formerly president of a Catholic women’s society – but financial abuses by local priests finally became too much for her and she left Catholicism behind. She’s a strong-willed woman, and the wife of Panteleimon; they’re one of the couples for whom we’re to provide the sacrament of Christian marriage on Sunday.

Vespers went well. We neglected to take into account the rapid sunset, so as we were starting at 6pm it was already getting dark. There was a brownout at the same time, so flashlights and lanterns saved the day.

We walked the path back down from Kapehan to town in total darkness – many cell phones providing flashlight service. Sort of like Mirkwood: Don’t step off the path!

Between birds, frogs, and insects, night time here sounds like an electrical fire in an alarm clock factory. The stars are as brilliant as I remember, since there’s no city straylight to wash them out.

Father Silouan

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