If work were a beach, teaching would be a beach covered with a million stones. You have nine months to move all the stones. Most of the time you feel like you’re behind schedule and the job will never be done. Starting a church is a beach with one stone that weighs a million pounds. We have two years to move the stone. We know that God called us to this task, so we go out everyday and pray for the stone. We look at it, walk around it, dream up and carry out ways to move it, push it, pull it, chip away a bit each day. And pray a lot. Teaching is harder because it’s labor intensive and constant. Being a missionary is harder because it’s just impossible. In my years of teaching I moved emotional and spiritual stones and built emotional and spiritual muscles: perseverance, faith, determination, hope, integrity, muscles that now help me chip away at the rock and, more than anything, stay on the beach. Because people have walked away. One of our teammates chose to leave the project in November. Losing teammates makes the labor harder, but it doesn’t make an impossible task any more or less impossible. Only God can move a million pound stone. God can move it with a breath, a wink, a thought.
Since Celeste left, Ashley and I are now work partners. Well, we were for a week. Then Damaris went home for vacation, so Ashley, Rachel, and I were all partners. Then Damaris came back. Then Ashley and Rachel went home for vacation, so Damaris and I are partners. This is why I haven’t written a blog in so long. Being without the North American girls has been excellent for my Spanish and horrible for my English. Please excuse any speling or gramer errors in this post.
Last week I lead Ashley’s house of prayer without her for the first time. Due to a cold, I had about a third of my voice and was tired, my brain fogged over by mucus and ceaseless coughing. And then two new women came to the house of prayer. Go figure. I was excited that our host had invited some of her friends, and that they had come, but I was nervous because that week’s lesson was ten points on how to forgive. Forgiveness is a powerful theme for pre, new, and experienced believers, but ten points in thirty minutes is not conducive to a positive first experience in a house of prayer. To make things just a little more difficult, the host’s very active three-year-old was not napping and very determined to take over the conversation. We dove into the topic using Matthew 18 and some help from an effervescent vitamin demonstrating God’s work on our pain. As I was explaining what I thought were the five or six more applicable points, I got that feeling—that wonderful feeling of Spanish words and phrases and sentences flowing from me effortlessly. My improvement in Spanish is an answer to many, many, many prayers, but sometimes that steady trickle becomes a river of coherent speech signifying that God is working in my mouth to speak and in the hearts of the listeners to understand. I explained that without God, our love and forgiveness is limited. We can be kind or ignore small offenses to a point, but we will quickly run out. With God, we are constantly receiving more love and forgiveness and can eternally give love and forgiveness. One of the girls, Yami, started crying. She’s twenty years old, friendly, and out-going, but feels full of hate and bitterness. At this point I excused myself to take the three-year-old to the other room, so Damaris could listen and pray with her. Both girls (Yami and Caro) want to know more about God and came back to this week’s house of prayer. We have plans to get together with them for a more private conversation after Christmas.
|Beatha, Francis, Yami, Caro|
|Active three-year-olds are great! So are naps!|
I guess my point is, God loves us very much. He didn’t abandon us on a beach with an impossible task. He loves us so much He gathered us from all over the world to watch Him move a million pound stone.
It’s been a long month. Last night I wrote in my journal that I feel like I’ve lost my joy (my joy is my magic). I prayed God would share His delight with me. Today, Cordoba was covered in white butterflies. Everyone said it was the weather, but I know it is for my delight. What a God we serve!