- Caleb Byerly
Bouncing around in the jeepney, we had to hold on tight as we crossed the mountain ridges of Cabanglasan. The land was so possessing being arrayed with mountainscapes. Corn and squash plantations filled up the valley with scattered coconut trees and banana stalks. Water buffalos plowed the flat rice fields. I’ve been through this place hundreds of times but it never gets old. Having a team of foreigners with me, I enjoyed watching their faces of amazement as they stared at the beauty of the Philippine mountain range.
Entering Cabanglasan, we were informed that the mayor of the district wanted to meet us. We took the time out to go meet him.
As we walked in his office, I felt in my spirit that God had arranged for us to be in that office for a specific reason. I casually looked over at my team members with a nod. They knew what I was saying; we were in that office for a greater reason. The mayor seemed happy to meet us and hear more about what we have been doing the past six years in his area.
As we conversed with the mayor, we felt the need to speak out the goodness of God over his life. I felt like there had been some corruption in the past but God wanted this man to be an upright leader. So as we spoke to him, we intentionally pulled out his calling as a good leader and not a corrupt one. We didn’t point fingers and tell him to not misuse money, rather we told him how good of a leader he is, that he has the ability to steward money well and that God has given him this position. We all prayed together in his office and the mayor was encouraged.
It turned out that after our meeting, we were planning to travel to the same place that the mayor was planning to travel to. He offered for us all to jump in the back of his 4-wheel drive vehicle and go into the mountains to this village called Cananga- an. As we travelled with the mayor, we talked and laughed together as the truck endured across the river and up the mountain. We arrived in Cananga-an and the mayor had an assembly meeting for the peace and order situation in that village while we went our own way to a church.
We never knew what was getting ready to happen.
A few hours later we were sipping on our afternoon coffee and talking to pastor Dudong, the head pastor of the church we were ministering at. As we shared stories and joked together, we were interrupted by a sudden bang in the distance. We all stopped talking and tried to figure out what the sound was. Pastor Dudong, who was also the second hand man for the village security, quickly got up from his chair to go see what it was. It was a shotgun, firing over and over in the distance.
I quickly gathered all of my team together inside the church. We waited and wondered what was happening. After some time, we found out that it was a hit man who was searching for the mayor. The gunfire got closer and closer and he seemed to be coming straight for us.
We all sat there in silence, wondering if we should go hide. Rankin, one of our team members, began to vocalize, “Guys, I feel in my spirit that we need to pray for that man’s gun to break.” We all looked around at each other and nodded in agreement. We began to pray, asking God to break the gun and for the man’s heart to be changed. We didn’t feel any special anointing during the prayer, we just agreed together and prayed. But as we prayed, the gun stopped shooting.
We all said “amen” in agreement with one another then we all just sat there in silence again. There weren’t any more gunshots. It just stopped. We all got up from the table and setup our mosquito nets and sleeping mats and went to bed peacefully.
The next morning, we all sat at the breakfast table eating dried fish and discussing the plans for the day’s events. Pastor Dudong walked through the door and greeted us with an unusual smile plastered on his face.
He proceeded to say, “Something shocking happened yesterday! Around 5:00pm yesterday as the man was shooting the gun, the security counsel and I were discussing what we needed to do with him. But then he just stopped shooting. After a few minutes, the hit man arrived at my house with a broken gun in his hand. He came to me and apologized for causing problems and surrendered his gun to me then turned around and walked away. I looked at the gun and saw that it was a new gun purchased that same day but the hinge where the gun shells are loaded miraculously broke!"
Pastor Dudong didn’t know what we prayed the day before. We all stood in fascination as we told him what we prayed for. All of the believers from this tribe, which totals to be 40 people, gathered and we worshipped together. I felt like the Lord impressed on my heart to share the importance of praying for the peace and order of a nation. I told them that we are responsible for the peace and order. We encouraged the believers to earnestly pray for their tribe, so we gathered in a large circle and engaged in prayer, believing that God would transform people’s lives to bring His kingdom in Cananga-an.