Sunday began bright and early. The first service at the church started at 8:00 AM and the second began at 10:30. So, we were at the church by 7:50 in the morning, ready to go! When we arrived, many of the workers and volunteers were already on sight, preparing for the service. No matter where we travel, we will find people serving in various capacities in their church. It’s a great reminder to appreciate and thank all of the early morning servants at the church.
We entered into the church service ready to worship. At the youth service the night before, Pastor Matt mentioned to the congregation that we may live in different places; we may have slightly different coloring, we may speak different languages, but we all have the same blood, the blood of Jesus. As we walked into service yesterday morning, that is exactly how we felt. There is a sweet presence of the Spirit in every church service here at the Faro del Cielo. The Holy Spirit unites our hearts together from the moment we walk through the door. Our worship joins with their worship and we are united giving praise to the one King and Father of all. It is a small glimpse of how heaven will be and it is precious each and every time.
Pastor Brandon brought the message yesterday morning and did a fantastic job encouraging the congregation to take up their own swords and hold on to the vision God has for their life. It was a great reminder that God has individual callings for each person. He cares about each individual more than we can comprehend and He has a plan for each person’s life. We need to hold onto and declare that vision and calling for our lives. It was precious to see how God spoke through Brandon to these people and to the team as well.
During each service, Pastor Ruben wanted to say a few words to our Bolivia team from the Faro del Cielo church. During the first service, Pastor Ruben asked Jim to come up and translate what he had to say to the team from Spanish into English. He is always extremely encouraging to our team and he shares his love for our entire church. His words are precious. During the second service, we were expecting him to ask Jim to come back up to translate. Instead he asked one of his congregation members to come up and translate. She did an amazing job. After the service, we went up and talked to her. It turns out that her family lived in Miami for several years and she was able to learn English while there. The miracle in all of this is that we had originally had another member of the Bolivia team from Lakeshore who speaks Spanish. A couple of months before the trip, her family experienced some health issues and she was not able to come on the trip this year. We were in need of another translator for the medical days. We need one translator for each of the doctors working on those days. Genelle goes with Dana and we had planned on Jim going with Mark to help with translation. That would mean that the rest of the team working on the construction of the church would be without a translator which had the potential to hurt the momentum of the construction work because of a lack of understanding. We asked the sweet woman from the church if she would be willing to work with us during the medical clinic to help translate and she said she was free and would be happy to help! Hallelujah! God had all the details worked out. He even went beyond our expectations as she said she could ask her sister who also speaks English if she was free this week. Isn’t God good? He goes well beyond what we could ask or think! Now Jim will be able to stay with half of the team at the church to help translate for the construction and we will be more than covered for the medical clinic.
After each service we got to spend time talking with the church members. They are so gracious and lovely and will do everything they can to get to know us and to use what English they know to try to communicate with us. They are wonderful, warm people and are absolutely easy to love. We are so blessed by their love for us and for the Lord. There was one sweet young man who came up to Robbie and Brandon and shared some of his story. Jim joined them and Brandon and Robbie were able to pray for the family and the young man. It is a privilege to be used by God, regardless of the language barrier, to minister to our brothers and sisters here in this beautiful country.
We had a very late lunch in the afternoon as it takes a while to leave the church property after church because we want to soak up the connection with the church members after church each Sunday. There is an expression that says that hunger is the best sauce. That’s how we felt with our lunch. We were all super hungry so lunch tasted exceptionally amazing that afternoon. We were able to spend a couple of hours resting in the afternoon and doing some team building activities and then we enjoyed our tradition of eating ice cream sundaes for our Sunday night dinner. We go to the same ice cream shop each year and we get enough ice cream to last until the next year. The little kid in each of us comes out and we smile as each banana split is delivered to the table. There is just something magical about getting to eat ice cream for dinner. It’s one of our favorite traditions each year.
We got back to the hotel at about 9:00 PM and were able to get some good sleep to begin the construction project today. What a joy it is to be in the presence of the Lord among his people and to be used by Him in this blessed country. We are so thankful to be here and to be together as His children. He is a good, good Father!