Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summary of Venezuela Trip

Our day at the beach on Saturday went well and was very relaxing. We enjoyed talking about ministry issues with Mario and Alexander who went along with us. Thank you for praying with me about the carsickness issue. With some meds, I did pretty well.

The final day in Venezuela, I preached at the church in Limon. I was concerned because the translator that we had used in the conference was a bit rusty. Mario and I were greeting people as they arrived for the service. A young man named Daniel greeted us and we talked. He spoke excellent English and said that he had done a lot of translating in ministry before. He was new to the church and had only been coming for about a month. I jokingly said to him, “You can translate for me this morning.” Mario chimed in and encouraged him to do so. He agreed readily and did an excellent job. It was a great blessing to me and I think helped Daniel get some exposure in the church. He is a fine young man committed to ministry and I think he will be an asset to the church.

The church service was very dynamic and the worship was heartfelt, passionate and loud. It was a delight to be there. I was encouraged as I was able to figure out the Spanish in about 80% of the lyrics of the songs. Most of them I had never heard before. The people seemed to listen attentively and I heard good reports later, although I had few discussions with the people after the service because of the language issues.

Overall, our experience in Venezuela was very positive. The pastors not only listened well, but also talked seriously together about how to apply what they were learning and what the Lord had been saying to them through us. We could not have asked for a better response. They have tentatively invited us back in March to do training during their national conference. They want us to help fill in some gaps in their current training process.

There were a couple of stories that I thought were especially interesting about the trip:

Abdy Pereira Junior (10 years old), son of one of the pastors, went to his grandpa, who lives in apartment above them, and asked if he would let him host a cell group. Then he went to his Mom and asked if he could have permission to start a cell group with the needy kids in a nearby neighborhood. He told his Mom that he knew his parents were busy, but that he was willing do it himself since his grandpa had offered a place for him to host. They gave permission and Abdy hosted a cell group for 5 weeks. Nineteen children gave their lives to Christ! A few weeks later, he asked his mom, Paola, if he could ride his bike over to the neighborhood to follow-up on the converted kids. She said yes, and he went there, spent time with them, played soccer and found out how they were doing. He has done more follow-up. He recently asked if he could host another evangelistic cell group.

Saturday night it poured down rain and the Mario Lopez home was flooded. He was the pastor that organized the conference. It is the fourth time this has happened. The first time the water was 5 feet high and they lost everything. They had some work done to protect their home so this time the water only rose a couple feet. They have a terrazzo floor so no damage was done to wall or flooring but it will take time to get things back in order. And, since the water is infected with garbage, they have to disinfect everything. Please pray for energy and help. They also asked that we pray for their son Timothy (about 8 yrs old) who is experiencing some trauma every time there is a storm. When we met them for breakfast at the church Sunday morning, Madilva, Mario’s wife, was cheerfully singing as she worked to prepare the meal as if nothing had happened, even though they had been up much of the night working on the flooding. They are quite a godly couple.

I spent Monday night in Miami with my teammate Gene and then flew on to Iowa on Tuesday. It was a wonderful trip but I was also glad to be home. Now Edie and I will travel to St. Louis this weekend to speak at a Congolese church. A new adventure cross-culturally here in the US! Please pray that we will be able to communicate well with them on the issue of marriage. Thanks for your interest and prayers on our behalf.



weatherlover said...

Thanks so much for posting how things went for you. We are always interested in how God uses you and works through you to His glory. The story about the 10 year old boy is amazing. It should inspire young children to not let being young hold them back! And, should inspire parents/grandparents to encourage the young ones in our lives. Bless you and safe travels!

Tim said...

I really do appreciate you posting this stuff on here. I am really jealous that you are going to Congo soon. I pray God uses you in greater ways that you dream of - and he just might (Ephesians 3:20-21)
From Tim Olson