|I'm calling this "humidity chic."|
Junior, Jaci, and Hadasa are the newest members of our family. Junior and Jaci are our pastoral couple. They are the spiritual mentors of our team and the bold leaders of our new church. Although the rest of us will be moving back to our own homes in 2017, Junior and Jaci are committed to pastoring our new church in Cordoba for at least four years. Their daughter, Hadasa, is 5 years old and gets along great with our little Bidwell boys. Back in Quito, Lucas's favorite imaginary game was baking pancakes. Hadasa and I were playing restaurant one evening and I asked what her favorite food was. Pancakes. Go figure.
Junior and Jaci are from Brazil, so they bring a third language and culture to our apartment. Since they have lived in Argentina for the past seven years, their Spanish is very strong, but Portuguese is their first language. I'm fairly convinced Jaci is secretly a fairy godmother because she looks great in purple eye shadow and smiles and sings ALL the time. They are perfect.
Our apartment in Colombia is perfect as well because we are all together. Rachel, Ashley, Celeste, Damaris, and I get to share a room that is always full of laughter and clothes. In Cordoba, we will have a whole house to live in, and the pastors will have their own house. This is our crucible moment, and so far we are melding together very well.
Here are the numbers of our living situation:
16 people (12 adults and 4 kids under the age of 7)
3 1/2 bathrooms
innumerable hot wheel cars
0 air conditioning, hot water, or Internet
|Tour of our apartment, I was distracted by my coffee and forget to point out the boys' room on the right at the end of the hallway.|
Our responsibility here in Cali is to learn as much as we can about the Master's Plan. We usually wake up between 5 and 5:30 for personal devotional time and exercise. Our team devotional is at 7 and breakfast is at 8. Our hosts here are the Cork family. They live about a block away and furnish all our food, laundry, and Internet needs. Classes are 9:30-12:30 and lunch at 1. Homework in the afternoon and services/meetings/trainings at the church after dinner.
|Everyone eating at the Cork's house|
The "church" is the House of Prayer Church of the Nazarene. With 14,000 members, it is the largest Nazarene church in the world. It started in 1983 as a church of 38 people. Thirty-eight every week for eight years. Pastor Adalberto was at a loss, so he started praying. He got up at 4:00am to pray every day. Eventually, his wife joined him, then some members of the church. Once a week, they prayed for the church from 8:00am to noon. Prayer became their priority, and the church began to grow. By 2003, they had a membership of 1,000 people. In the past 12 years, that number has been multiplied by 14. They have a very organized structure of discipleship known as the Master's Plan. The pastor and his wife each have 12 disciples. Each disciple has 12 disciples who have 12 disciples. You can probably think of many benefits to this structure. One that I hadn't realized until this week was the effect this has on the pastor. Pastor Adalberto is now 60 years old. He has been pastoring the same church for over 30 years, and now preaches six sermons every Sunday. And he's not burned out because he is really only pastoring 12 men. Everyone else is being guided, encouraged, and taught by someone else in the church.
|Damaris and me|
I got the brunt of the confetti
at the forgiveness celebration
The beginning of this process is an event called An Encounter. It is an intense weekend of classes on what it means to have a relationship with God. We got to go to an Encounter for women last weekend. It was incredible to watch new Christians soak in the truth of God and His will for their lives. It was also a joy to see their passion and commitment. They have to take two classes before and five classes after their Encounter weekend. This sets them up to take a course on discipleship and eventually be ready to lead their own House of Prayer (small group Bible study with their own disciples). There were about 110 women attending this Encounter. Most of them had been attending the church for less than 3 years.
|Me, Ashley, Krista, and Rachel|
Krista is our nurse. She and her husband are training with us in Cali
We will use the Master's Plan to start our church in Cordoba. A huge part of our responsibility as missionaries will be leading Encounter weekends and Houses of Prayer. Please pray with us that we and our disciples will have the same joy and commitment as Pastor Adalberto and the women of the Encounter. Pray that we will be people of prayer who earnestly desire the gifts and the will of God.