What a crazy week we had, so hang on for the ride while we try to tell you all about it without turning this post into a book. It started with us as a team taking on a more active role in planning the outreach activities. We had a team meeting on Sunday and worked out our schedule for each day and who would be responsible for what activities. Camila and Evelyn were the team leaders for the week and did a fabulous job keeping us all informed on what was going on.
As mentioned in last week’s update, we had the privilege of starting a discipleship class this week. To say we are excited about it would be understating it. We have anywhere from 8 – 10 students and they come every weekday at 5:00. We spend an hour with them teaching them the basics. The first day they came, we saw mostly sad, downcast faces. They are very shy so that was part of it, but it was more than that. We sensed a real sadness in them. Riaan, Philip and Lori taught classes on the character and nature of God, the fall of man, Jesus and the work on the cross. By the end of this first week, we have literally seen countenances change before our eyes. It’s very rewarding and we can hardly wait for the next week’s classes. Several of them don’t have a Bible so Christiane is working on getting them each a Bible.
One afternoon Malcolm and Evelyn spent a few hours with the teenagers in the community. They spoke to the kids about holiness and did some fun activities with them to help them remember the lesson.
We also started a massive painting project this week. During our meeting on Sunday we really felt as a team that we wanted to serve the people here with our hands in some way. The school right next to the church badly needed a paint job so we started that late last week. Hmmm…let’s just say it was an interesting experience. As you might imagine, the culture here is completely different from what we all are accustomed to in our home countries. But when in Rome…do as the Romans, hey? The good news is that we got to work side by side with some of the young people here in the community who came to help us paint. The not so good news was that we had to just grin and bear it when paint got slapped onto walls in ways that would make most of us in the Western culture shudder. We still have a lot of work to do but we did get a good start on the school. We will continue the process next week.
So you can see we had a good week and got many things accomplished but it was not without its trials. On Tuesday the team started dropping one by one, sometimes two by two with sickness in one form or another. By the end of the week, Riaan and Fipi were the only two left unscathed. Christiane was kept busy making trips to the clinic and the pharmacy for the proper medication for all of us. Not to worry…we are all back up and on our feet again, and we are grateful to the Lord for getting us through it.
The highlight of the week came on Saturday evening when we visited another church led by a Brazilian pastor Edson. For most of us it was the best service yet. We were unbelievably encouraged and blessed by the people there. And very, very humbled when they took up an extremely generous offering of over $ 1,000.00 (one thousand dollars) for our team. We had been asking the Lord to provide for our needs and He certainly has done that. Not in a way that we expected, but our hearts were so touched by the generosity of people who have so little. What a challenge to all of us!
Please continue to pray for us. We only have three more weeks and we really want to accomplish everything the Lord has for us to do.