It has been almost 2 weeks since my last blog. It is not that I didn’t have anything to say, it was more that I did not know what to say. The school is settling into routine and I have been able to back off and let it take flight without me. With that being said, I realized that since I got here in August that I had not taken a day for me. The past few weeks I have rested, joined an English Bible study with other missionaries, and made time to run and even do some baking. It was a much needed change to my schedule to ensure I would last for the long haul.
The youth ministry has begun to take shape as well. On Sunday mornings we have been studying Hebrews 11 and the various Old Testament stories that are highlighted. Each week we talk about the person that is mentioned in Hebrews 11 and review their story. Then we ask the questions, why did the author find the faith of this person important to mention, and why is this person important to my personal faith. Some weeks are quieter than others as many have never studied the Old Testament stories. This past Sunday, we talked about the stories of Isaac and Joseph. During the church service, while Sairy was praying she prayed to God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph. It reaffirmed for me the importance of studying the Old Testament. Though the stories of Jesus are important, if you only study the new Testament you miss so much about God’s power, love, and perseverance with His children. This next week we are looking at the life of Moses. Last night I had one of the youth pull me aside and tell me how he is preparing for Sunday by reading the whole story of Moses. In youth group on Sunday night, last week we went to see a Dominican movie called “Feo en Dia, Lindo en Noche” meaning “Ugly During the Day, and Beautiful at Night.” I wasn’t sure what to expect but the movie addressed a lot of the issues underlying beauty in the culture. This past Sunday night we went to a concert “Mas Que Rimas” meaning “More that Actions” by a group called Cristo Urbano. It was a great concert and allowed the youth to connect with other Christian youth in their city. Throughout our time together, we have been studying the gospel of John. This past week, they decided that instead of everyone reading the chapter and everyone report back, they wanted to have one person study in depth the chapter and then come and teach each other about the chapter. Since Luis had taken the time to not only read John 4 but also look up some biblical history and geographical history, Luis lead the discussion on John 4. It lead to an amazing discussion on wealth and the value we place on “things.”
Lastly, Los Cocos. The leaders of Los Cocos have been working extra hard evangelizing which has certainly paid off. Last Tuesday and this past Sunday there have been lots of new interests in the church and people desire to commit or recommit their lives to Christ. The exciting part is most of them are young, active, and hardworking families. Sairy and I will be meeting every Tuesday in Los Cocos for Bible study to help this group of young believers begin to grow. Last night, we began by singing El Amor de Dios es Maravioso, meaning the Love of God is Wonderful. Part of the song says How big is the love of God? You can’t go above Him, You can’t go below Him, you can’t go outside of Him. As I watch the people sing and do motions with their hands, I thought if you can’t go above, below, or outside of Him, then you are always right in the middle of Him. It seems so basic and I have sung that song a million times with the kids but last night I saw just how BIG God’s love for us really is. I thought about different moments in the life of the church and how deep His love is.
Last night we also celebrated the birthday of a little boy turning 2. Doesn’t sound like a huge accomplishment but this little boy is special. He was born blind and with other significant medical complications. When I first met him, he was 6 months old but so tiny. Because of his medical conditions his mom was drawn to church. Through his medical complications she fell away from the church but has recently come back. I am always reminded of the story in John 9 of the man born blind. When the disciples ask why he was born blind, Jesus responds so that the glory of God can be revealed. I have seen that happen not just in this little boy, but in his family, and a community. I told his mom last night that he was a blessing from God. Through him, God has been sought in places and moments He would have never been sought.
I have struggled with homesickness, a sore on my arms with a crazy trip to the doctor story (you would never believe it if I told you), and just frustrations of living in another country. I guess I was afraid to write over the past few weeks not wanting to write about struggles, or minute happenings, but I learned last night in the midst of Los Cocos that God is in it all and loving every minute we walk with Him.