We had some scheduling challenges this week, so I went in to the small town yesterday instead of waiting for Thursday. My partner is still unable to return with me. Perhaps next week.
Going on a different day has its problems. I was unable to meet with any of the regular scheduled groups as planned. I did, however get to meet with several people individually. This gave me a chance to talk through some of the things we've been doing these past several weeks.
The most interesting and perhaps deflating conversation was with the young mother De. We talked about the discipling we've been doing as a group, and I shared with her my desire for the families to be baptized and commissioned as a church. She told me that the idea was wonderful, but that there were two problems. One, calling it a church. "People will think we're changing religion," she said. The other problem was baptism. She restated the same thought that her uncle had shared two months ago. "We were baptized as babies, which we couldn't choose, but our faith now confirms that baptism."
Since this family I have been working with is fringe folk-catholic, they have assumed all along that these scripture stories they have been learning are the same teachings of the Roman Catholic church that they never learned before. Evidently I have not been good at making a distinction. I am going to need to re-evaluate some aspects of my evangelism approach.
Another aspect of our conversation was also interesting. I asked her who she thought was a natural leader in her family group. She seemed to want to indicate her father, but never did. In my questions about the family relationship, it is clear that her father has a lot of influence. He has never participated in our studies, but did hear one of my stories on the street last week. Her reasoning for him not being able to be a leader is because "He can't read."
I want to spend the next 4 weeks specifically evangelizing her father and her other uncles that stay out on the street talking at night. Perhaps this is the group that has the influence to lead this family....