By Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
The wandering trail that leads to the Hopevale Memorial is visited every year by Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches members.
As of 2018, the trail to Hopevale, Tapaz, Capiz is still difficult. However, there are now ongoing efforts to make a Hopevale pilgrimage trail so that people can go there to contemplate and reflect on what happened there. Looking back, more than 75 years ago, one can only imagine the way to Hopevale as the American Baptist missionaries evacuated to that area to hide during the war. There were no trails yet, no pathways to lead them where to go. They were trailblazers who were walking with faith and hope that the war would soon end so that they could go on with their missionary work.
Reflection and remembrance – the trail is a reminder that God paves the way for those who trust in Him.
Jennie Claire Adams, a missionary nurse, evacuated together with 10 other missionaries from then Central Philippine College, Filamer Christian College, and Capiz Emmanuel Hospital between April to May 1942.
On July 12, 1942, Missionary Adams penned a poem relating the trail to Hopevale to her own life’s pathway. Here is her poem:
Life’s Trail on my Wanderings
Through all my wanderings
My Lord has cared for me,
Although the path ahead,
I could not always see.
What though my feet should slip
What though my strength should fail
My Savior holds my hand,
While climbing up life’s trail.
The rocks may bruise my feet,
The thorns may pierce and tear
And heavy seems the load
That I am called to bear
But O, the heavy load,
Christ bore on Calvary
His nail-scarred hands and feet,
Were wounded there for me.
Then I should not repine
A little grief to bear
While He walks by my side
And I am in His care.
His promise I will claim
And trust Him day by day,
He never will forsake
He leads me all the way.
More than a year after writing this poem, specifically on December 20, 1943, Adams and 10 other American Baptist missionaries were martyred because of their Christian faith in Hopevale, Tapaz, Capiz.
On December 17-20, 2018, the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches will spearhead the Hopevale Diamond Commemoration to be held at Central Philippine University, at Filamer Christian University, and in Hopevale, Tapaz, Capiz. If you attend, you will surely hear more stories about these American Baptist missionaries and their Filipino counterparts.