Tonight we had our first midweek class without Ezequias. I was the facilitator, Lynn, the coffee and cookie maker, and God, the giver of inspiration and the lesson. We were discussing the third fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5; Peace. There were 8 present, 9 counting Yeimi, who is only 7 years old. I was worried about my feeble Spanish abilities, but should not have been. God had it all worked out and the class was great. Everyone took part in the discussion, read aloud, and seemed to enjoy the lesson. During the discussion of Isaiah 48:22, Psalms 85:8 and Romans 2:9-10, Marlene brought up a question that really moved the conversation. She said that she had been studying about Baptism and did not understand how she could have been baptized correctly when she was only a baby. Marlene began attending classes here last December, so we had not known her well before our return. I pointed out Scriptures that show examples of baptism, including that of Christ, and said that I knew of no babies being baptized for the remission of sins. She agreed, and then said, “So I want to be baptized.” Before I could say “Hallelujah!” Zavier said, “me too!”, then Yessenia said, “me too!”, and Jairo piped in, “me too!” I sat back and said…absolutely nothing for a minute, and then said, “Well, Why not?” We discussed the whys, whens and hows, and all four continued to say they were ready to be baptized, and for the right reasons. All four were christened in the Catholic Church as infants. They seemed to have a concern for being baptized in the tank out back, which no longer holds water anyway, but their reasoning has given me pause for consideration. They want to be baptized like Jesus was – in a river where the water flows, and can carry their sins away from them. Even Yaritza, who was baptized last year here in the tank out back, said she felt as if she only gave her sins to Dania, who was baptized just after her. So, we are planning a multiple baptism – possibly for Sunday. I do want to wait for Gilberto to come and speak to them in perfect Spanish, and be sure they are ready to make this very serious commitment. I believe that they are all ready. I believe that their lives will change forever in just a day or two, and I am very excited for them all. Can you imagine? In the midst of the conflict this little church has been going through, God is at work convicting hearts of His desire for their lives! Ain’t He awesome!!!! He can use just anybody He wants to bring glory to His name! What an awesome God! I just can not wait till Sunday! We will have to rent a van to get everyone to the river (or possibly the sea), and will be thrilled to do so!!!
Okay, so I am flying right now, I know. Other than this news, the house is coming along. We continue to find more ways that Ezequias harmed the church, and become more certain every day that God had his hand in our decision to let him go. The community and church are responding to our return, and his leaving in a very favorable way. God continues to have great plans for this church, and these people. Just see how He is working!!
I went to Las Perlas School today to confirm our team coming in June to teach Bible classes for 4 days. The school has 150 students, and only 4 small classrooms. The Director is very happy that we are coming, and everything is looking good for us to get to tell all the children about Jesus and His love for them.
I also visited with the teachers at El Valle today. The food is stretching throughout the week now. We have added $10 weekly to the budget to accommodate the extra 30 children. Mothers and teacher alike all stop me to say thank you, so I pass that on to the children at
The children at El Valle are also excited for the team to come back there. They are always asking me when we will be back in the school teaching them. I tell them to be patient until June. They just smile and say ok.
One 8 year old boy who attends services here faithfully stopped me as I was leaving the school today. He said he knew his memory verse for Sunday school. I asked him to tell me. He did, word for word, then I asked where it was in the Bible, and he told me. I clapped and said “Very good!!!” At the same time I heard a roar from the office just behind him – the director’s office- and the Director came out clapping and praising young Juan Carlos’s recitation. It was a great witness to both the director, and the others who were nearby. I had not realized that anyone else was listening, but God was using this small boy to plant seeds! How marvelous!
We have discovered another very small school about an hour past our house on out in no-man’s land. The name of the school and community is ‘Gariche’. The school has 1 teacher and 10 children, ranging from Kindergarten to 6th grade. We traveled out to see the school earlier this week, but found that the teacher was already gone, and classes dismissed for the day. The teacher rides out to the school house in the back of a milk truck every morning, and hitches a ride back with another truck. We are eager to meet with her and see what we can do to help this tiny school group. We are told that the school will be closed if the attendance goes below 10. Another school out past our house was closed last year when only 7 students registered for classes. When the school closes, 90% of the children are finished with their education. Very few will be able to get to El Valle for classes. It is simply too far, and too expensive for these very poor families. Furthermore, the schools who have the fewest children also receive the smallest amount of government help. At El Valle, there are not enough students to warrant feeding them lunch – only 250. Can you imagine what Gariche must be without? So, as I said, we want to see what we can do to help. We plan to get together some school supplies and take them out next week if possible, just as a way of introducing ourselves, and assessing their needs. We will let you know how that goes.
Going to bed now, praising the Almighty for His abundant love, His unfailing faithfulness, and His peace that He gives that passes all understanding.
May God bless you Richly!
Joy & Lynn