Tourist Adventist Crushed When Asked to Preach Upon Arrival at Church

Bernard “Bernie” Bernacki, a man who meticulously planned his vacations down to the brand of non-dairy yogurt he’d pack, was starting to sweat through the one dress shirt he had bothered to pack.  He’d envisioned idyllic days in the Philippine countryside – exploring rice terraces, haggling for hand-woven baskets, and maybe even trying karaoke.  Instead, he found himself staring at a gaggle of expectant faces in Taal Adventist Church .

The culprit?  A misunderstanding as Filipino as kare-kare.  Bernie, ever the polite guest, had greeted everyone with a warm “Magandang Araw po!” (Good Day!).  Pastor Felipe Flores had beamed and declared, “A Tagalog-speaking visitor! A gift from the Lord Himself! You will surely bless us with a word today!”

Bernie stammered, his Tagalog rusty from years of stateside church potlucks.  “Uh, Pastor Flip, ako po si turista lang…” (I’m just a tourist…)

A collective gasp arose from the congregation, sharp enough to skewer a lechon (which, of course, nobody present would eat.)  Auntie  Ester, notorious for her side-eye sharper than a bolo knife, fixed Bernie with a glare that could curdle maja blanca.

“Turista?” Flip boomed, a flicker of disappointment crossing his face. “But Brother, the harvest is plentiful! We haven’t had a guest speaker in months.”

Memories of his meticulously planned itinerary – spelunking in Palawan, a cultural immersion tour in Vigan, a guilt-free halo-halo – began to melt like taffy under the  tropical sun.  Flicking through an NIV for inspiration, Bernie felt a cold sweat bloom on his brow.  Next year, he vowed, it’s all-inclusive resorts and pre-downloaded sermons.  No exceptions.  Unless, maybe, they offered a side of leche flan with the guest preaching gig.

 


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