We have just successfully returned from week 2 of ministry. This past week has been amazing. On the last night, we gathered nearly all of the new believers into the barangay (village) hall to have one final study on how to study the Word, how to pray, and why it's important to continue meeting together after we leave. At the end of our "church service," one of the women from the barangay closed in prayer, rather than one of the Americans or translators. I could only understand a few words, but it was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard.
Many of the people in this barangay were ecstatic to hear the Gospel. One day this week, the whole team and beacoup (that means "a whole lot," for you non-Louisianians reading this) people we had been ministering to took a hike through the jungle to a secluded spot on the river where we could baptize and celebrate. One woman told us she wanted to celebrate the fact that we had come to bring the Gospel to their barangay. It was an amazing morning of fellowship and joy.
Not everyone in this place was as openly excited, though. It mostly came down to cultural differences. It's hard for me as an American to understand how someone can hear the Gospel, accept Christ, and want to be baptized all without changing facial expressions. People just react differently to things here. But it was still weighing in my mind most of this week. Are they just saying yes because they don't want to offend us? Are WE doing something wrong?
During quiet time one morning I was pointed to Matthew 13 and the parable of the sower. The sower didn't go out and carefully inspect the ground before he started throwing seed. That joker was just tossing it EVERYWHERE without a single regret. And that's how WE should be with God's Word. We have no right or way to judge another man's heart. Our job is to spread God's Word wherever we can. Our God is big enough to handle it.
On a lighter note, the bug problem was way less serious this week. Or maybe I'm just getting used to it. The worst thing we saw this week were two spiders about the size of my hand.
Today is our R&R day, and tomorrow we'll be headed back upriver. Be in prayer for:
1. the believers we just left, that they would continue to be on fire for the Lord and grow in faith
2. all the believers in both the barangays we've visited
3. the Holy Spirit to go ahead of us to our next stop and prepare hearts there
4. our team & the other riverboat teams, that we would continue to be kept safe from sickness & injury