My great grandfather (mom's grandfather on her mother's side) was a loved, feared, and sometimes hated man. He was said to possess powers with limits yet unknown to the local folks during his time. He could bring to health a dying cow, heal an infertile woman so she could get pregnant, silence dogs that howl at night, talk to unseen beings, let dangerous animals like foxes and snakes back off and leave, protect crops from being infested by rodents or bugs, and so on.
He was a simple man who loves nature, animals, and lives. And he was a good neighbor too, and a great grandfather to his grandchildren. He taught us about the god down under, the god up in the heavens, the guardians of water, the protectors of the forests, the spirit of the wind, and the spirit of animals.
As we grew up and Christianity was reaching the mountains, the church ministers and pastors were relentless in converting and indoctrinating everyone. They came everyday, various sects and religions, each alternating and slowly converting the people to the Christian beliefs and preaching that the ways of old are the ways of the devil and should be stopped immediately.
This brought so much conflict and alienation to the people. The younger ones were the first to convert and help build the churches. The old menfolks had to retreat deeper in the mountains or stay hidden in their huts in the farm. Yet the pastors and preachers never stopped because they were willing to sit, read, and sing Christian songs for hours while waiting for the old men to come home. There was no bloodshed but a lot of bad experiences back then. Still, Christianity won and many of the old people accepted baptism and attended church every Sunday. Back to their own homes however, they continued to practice the old ways. But they couldn't get away with it because the preachers do follow-up visits and ensure the old people keep practicing the Christian beliefs and not go back to the old practices. They were berated and given an earful of "You will go to hell devil worshipers!" when they "backslide" (the term used to mean going back to old practices).
I accepted Christ as my savior when I was 14 against the wishes of my father who was also a Shaman (I will write about him in another post one day.) yet I cannot forget the practices I learned from my grandfathers and my dad. Therefore, I believe that different situations call for different beliefs and practices.