March 24, 2014
Several of us have been doing visitations in the afternoons and wonderful things are happening. Mark has been visiting 4 or 5 people each day, one of them has some serious health problems with sores all over his body and he was very grateful for for the visit. Please pray for him in his spiritual growth as well as for physical health. Alejandro visited several people and was able to share his personal testimony with one gentleman who afterwards asked for baptism! One of our students from Portland Adventist Academy, Tally (Natalia), and a couple of our staff went to the local Adventist academy where they received gifts of bread. Look at the box the bread comes in, it’s apparently some sort of fundraiser for education in this conference.
Everyone had the same sermon last night, but tonight the sermons varied. Some did a sermon on contentment—a really good presentation on practical godliness—while others preached about patience (think Revelation 12:17, the patience of the saints). I chose to preach on “The Secret of His Coming” tonight and save the patience of the saints until Friday night. Tuesday night will be “The Secret of becoming a Son of God”, a sermon about salvation and Baptism. Please keep us in your prayers as we call people to decisions.
When I got to my church tonight at just after 7:30 my translator and I were the 2nd and 3rd people in the church—no one was there. Keep in mind that the sign out front says the meeting starts at 7:30. Since the greeters weren’t there Cesar and I stood at the front and greeted people as they came in. just before 8:00 we had about 15 people, and although we would have preached no matter how few people showed up, we were praying hard that God would send more people. Praise the Lord, we started with 30-40 people and ended with close to 80!
So, funny story that happened while Cesar and I were greeting before the service. As they came in everyone would grab my hand and say “¡buenas noches!” and then they’d keep walking, but as I shook one young lady’s hand she leaned in for a hug, at least that’s what I assumed, but it was a really awkward hug. Cesar saw what was going on and he called the girl over to him to demonstrate how I should have handled the situation. Apparently she was doing a customary greeting where they “kiss” each other’s cheek. They demonstrated and then Cesar asked her to go back to me so I could try again. She reluctantly came back to my side, grasped my hand and then leaned in to her left. The hilarious part was that I leaned to my right. Yep, we nearly kissed for real! She couldn’t have been more than 17 or 18 and she was super embarrassed. Cesar explained what happened and encouraged her to try again, but she was DONE. That was OK with me, I couldn’t stop laughing, and I’m sure I was red from embarrassment. The following picture includes the young lady, but I won’t point out which one so she doesn’t get more embarrassed.
While I’ve developed superficial relationships with several of the members of my church I haven’t been able to go very deep with them. Partly because of the language barrier, but also because they all come right as the meeting starts and leave as soon as its done. Please pray that we will be able to make more than just a superficial difference in their lives.