February 25, 2009

Updates: High City

There is a couple who came from São Paulo to open a restaurant in the new city mall. They are Christians and members of a Baptist church in their old city. Since moving here over a year ago they have made few friends. They work 12 hours a day 7 days a week and have no car. Their home is a long way from any local baptist churches. Ours is the closest.

They visited on a Wednesday night and Loaise and I have gone to visit them often. The Monday before last we went to their home and had breakfast with them (the only time they are not working). We prayed with them and talked for a couple of hours. They have a real need to be involved in church, but their schedules do not fit the typical operating hours of most churches. We made a comittment to help them begin a church that will meet in their home in the morning, at least once a week. Once our local pastor told other restaurant workers and owners about this, many began to weep with excitement.

We will spend 8 weeks helping them learn how to have a home worship service and use inductive bible study in place of traditional preaching.

February 6, 2009

Ninety-nine are NOT enough!

Thursday, as I drove through the rain and dodged potholes on the highway, I began to regret having decided to go to the small town. I ended up having to stop twice for machines to clear away mudslides that had covered the road. This is exactly the reason I go less in the rainy season.

However, when I arrived in the small town, something happened that changed my mind. My meetings with the families on the hill have been irregular through December and January, due to the rain. Inconsistency in meeting usually means delays in progress. This group has been a nice group, but closed and nonvocal about their growing faith in Jesus.

We read together and told to one another the story of the lost sheep in John 15:1-7. I asked them to do three things. Hear the story, learn to tell it themselves, then look for things they could do to obey God as a response to the story. The learning of the story is what took most of our time. We told it several times and even made hand-signs to help remember each part. Then, as the families looked for what to do to obey, one man said this. "God would be much happier with us and be more full of joy if there were more than 99 of us." Of course, there weren't even 10 of us in the home. Then he said "We need to find the lost sheep and bring him to God."

So as a group, we all agreed that this week we would look for sinners of bad reputation and tell them that God is going to have a big celebration they repent and turn to God. This group is now planning to share Jesus with the lost. Pray that it happens.

The drive back was just as miserable, but I didn't regret it a bit.