Day 6 - ADVENTURE
Our mission trip today took us on an adventure high into the mountains to the remote Tamodo Corps in West Palu. Due to limited road access, we changed vehicles half way up the mountain at Dombu Corps, climbing onto the back of motorbikes with local riders for the last hour of the trek along very rugged, steep and narrow roads.
When we reached the top of the mountain, we were enthusiastically greeted by the whole community of Tamodo village. After being served refreshments by the Corps Officer we were given another traditional welcome, this time with two men waving machetes while dancing around in front of us, as we walked through the crowd of people who had gathered to welcome our team. At the front of the church the young people formed a guard of honour singing a beautiful song before presenting us with a small welcome gift. We couldn't believe that such a remote village and Corps went to so much trouble by having a large banner printed in honour of our visit.
Given that this is the first time this village has ever had outside visitors, a special worship service was held at the Corps where I was invited to preach and our team had the opportunity to pray with those who responded to a 'call to prayer'. Once again we were surprised by the size and strength of The Salvation Army in such remote and almost inaccessible areas. The Tamodo Corps has 300 families, representing over 600 people in their congregation. We got a very real sense just how important The Salvation Army's ministry is in this mountain district from the welcome greeting by the village leader.
The return trip on the motorbikes was just as rugged as the trip there, but was an extraordinary adventure giving us some amazing views of the mountains and village life and an appreciation for the remoteness of this district. On our way back down the mountain we were rather amuzed at being stopped at a toll gate by an elderly local man who seized the opportunity to make some money from these rare foreign visitors.