Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Igorot Preacher

The Igorot Preacher (Rev. Greg Fernandez Jr.)
I was never ashamed and never will be about my indigenous root. To this, I have never been shy to have called myself the Igorot Preacher. I know I am not the only preacher in the Igorot world. No doubt; there are hundreds if not thousands of Igorot preachers in the Cordillera Region. I personally knew famous pastors who lead congregations of thousands, some with TV or radio program. So when I was dubbed The Igorot Preacher, it does not mean the definite article "The"  describes me being exclusive among many others. As a matter of fact, I am not even known in my hometown, much more in the Igorot world. I am just proud of my ethnic and religious identity, hence I coined the term 'the igorot preacher'.  Thus, the Igorot preacher is a mere a term for identification in this age of gadgets, technology and social media. There's also the misconception and misnomer of the term "Igorot" and I don't want to hide my ethnic origin. The Igorots that lived in the mountain were once called, "not Filipinos" by the lowlanders. Even today, people in the lowlands, including Manila still have misconception about who the igorots are. Because of this, I unashamedly called out who I am. Years ago, whenever there was a gathering, I've always introduce myself as an FBI, meaning Full Blooded Igorot!

At age of 12, I preached my first sermon in a small jungle church, long before I became a Christian at the of 17. Few weeks after I met Jesus and was gloriously saved, I preached my first sermon to a group of young people on a cool Sunday afternoon in December of 1988. I gave the first altar call I've ever given in my life, 19 of them came running to the front crying and asking God for forgiveness. Since then, I know God called me to to be a preacher. 

The following week, I was invited to attend a Christmas Institute (CI), far from my village. We climbed Mount Kabunian, down in the valley of mountainous and dangerous ridges. We had a great time during the CI. On a Saturday night, the late Rev. Marcella Butag told me that the scheduled speaker on the Sunday couldn't make and had asked me if I would speak during the Sunday morning service. Not knowing what to preach, I said okay. I preached that Sunday morning with this introduction. "Don't look at my age and how young am I who stands before you this morning, but I urge you to focus your attention to Jesus and listen to the Word of God I am about to speak." At the end of my message I gave the second altar call I've ever given. Almost everyone came forward. Even the stage is full of both young and old crying. I preached again during the evening service and same story could be told. I was only 17 years old. (For more info, read my My Bio found in this blog!_)

Since then, I had been preaching the Word of God and have seen hundreds came to Jesus! There were times when I was not faithful to the call to preach as I ought to, but I know I have been called to preach the Word!

Here is the first ever recorded message I preached on Radio sometime in 2003

Here is the first one recorded in Cambodia