(blurry on purpose, all the kids have cases in court)
Isn't that weird? A ministry he's started here.
But it's so easy to start ministries here. We have started several so far: a slums ministry, a movie ministry, a children's home ministry. It's really not that hard; so much easier than in the United States. You don't need a degree, seminary, or an FBI background check.
We have found that all you need is a desire to actually do something and the gumption to go ahead and just do it.
You don't have to be super spiritual or exceptionally talented. God uses ordinary people. Peter was a fisherman. The differentiating factor? He was recognized to have been with Jesus.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
Not that I'm poo-pooing degrees, or seminary, or FBI checks. These are all good and helpful things. But they are not a requirement to do God's will or His work. God can't wait on possessors of these things in say poor, rural, mountainous Tibet. The Bible shows us time and again that Jesus doesn't need these things to use us. He used Peter and John, and Andrew his lowly fisherman brother, and many, many others - who were all just ordinary people.
Tony and Facundo went last evening to the home together. Facundo is one of the youth from church who plays the drums.
We are enjoying working with the young adults from church. Some are not involved in any kind of outreach or ministry - they're just kind of there. Tony is working hard at encouraging them to get out there and we often invite them to various different things we have going on. It's so sweet to see their eagerness to do something for the Lord.
This was their second visit to the home. The boys were looking forward to their return, and asked them last time if and when they were coming back. Tony projected the John Bunyan Torchlighters movie onto the pale, green, smudged wall of the inside of the home. As usual, there was dead silence when the movie was over. The movies are powerful, and they have that effect on just about everyone - believers and non-believers alike.
Afterwards, they did a little reflection and discussion of the movie. They are slowly introducing the study of God's Word. The boys are very open and receptive and thankful for the notebooks Tony brought for each one. In them they write down their memory verses to study, questions, notes, and prayers. He is teaching them to pray, to think about eternal things, to open up about their lives, and pointing them to Hope, to the One who longs to rescue them from the pit. The church we attend also gave us eight small, pocket-sized Bibles for each one. After their visit of course they played a round of soccer. Because what's ministry and evangelism in South America without a game of soccer?
Truly, we can say, God is richly blessing us in all things. It is our one, main, sustaining grace, all this that we see the Lord doing.
Some days we ourselves fall into a pit, despairing when we look at all the challenges and difficulty of our journey in the Way - but as Christian in The Pilgrim's Progress, we often find ourselves climbing the Hill Difficulty only to happen upon, midway to the top of the hill, a pleasant Arbour, made by the Lord of the Hill, for the refreshment of weary Travellers.
We continue to be so amazed at all the doors that have opened up for us here. Tony found this particular place walking home one day - back when we didn't have a car. He was walking down our dirt road and walked up along side an older man, also walking. And, of course, Tony can not not start talking to everyone he meets, so they struck up a conversation. Pedro loves to talk almost as much as Tony. Turns out Pedro worked for 20 years in homes for troubled youth. When Tony shared that that is something he would like to do as well, Pedro took Tony to this nearby home for troubled youth. Pedro now comes to our weekly Bible study, has from the first day we opened up our home. Pedro lives in a tiny, three-room house nearby. He has been a Christian his entire life, and we enjoy listening to his observations and the wealth of knowledge that only years of living and years of Bible reading can impart.
|Pedro welding a wheelbarrow for us in his back yard|