Wow! I have a bit of catching up to do (and a lousy computer to do it with).
In addition to today being my one year anniversary of living in Peru, we have had an incredible week.
February 16th, three people made the decision to publicly declare their faith and be baptised!! Our day started out normal, we were supposed to leave the church at 8:00 a.m. and the Cumbi (basically a glorified 15 passanger van...) arrived right on time at 10:15 a.m. Pastor Freddy and his family are on vacation, so he asked us to fill in. Elisa (a darling Peruvian about 4ft 10in tall, and Wendy Sheet´s partner) also has her District Minister´s liscense...so as the only two people with the credentials, we had the amazing privilege and honor to preform the baptism! 29 of us arrived at mile marker 14, a local swimming spot on the river and got right down to business.
Tyson played guitar as our precious group sang a hymn. It was really sweet and primitive, but so very heartfelt.
I then shared the story of Phillip in Acts 8, stressing the importance of believeing and accepting Jesus Christ as our personal savior, and expressed how incredible it is to be baptized. Elisa then shared the symbolism and importance of baptism. At that point, Elisa and I walked into the muddy river as the ´witnesses´gathered on the foot bridge and on the nearyby banks. One by one, three brave and blessed souls came to us in the water.
The first was a precious young teen named Carla. She lives close to the main church and has been a faithful attender since we arrived in November.The second was Senora Gladyis, who Callie and Carmen have been discipling for the past few months. The third was a darling boy, Manual, who Ana and I have had the pleasure to get to know him and his family very well over the past 2 months. As he has helped us to grow our ministry in Circunvilacion by sweeping out our ´sanctuary´and constantly inviting friends to come to the church, he has grown to know and love Christ. One afternoon he approached us and asked if he could be baptised. After several lessons and meetings concerning the significance of baptism, we were overjoyed to have him be a part of our first baptism ceremony upon arriving in Peru. Coming up out of the water you could see a new glow that covered each one completely; you could physically see and feel the change in them. I am completely thrilled to have had the chance to already baptise one of our disciples!
This past week, Ana and I did Vacation Bible School in 2 o our 3 communities. Can you imagine 2 women teaching 50 children between the ages of 2 and 12 in the same room? Did I mention these kids have never heard these Bible stories before? Did I mention that you need to provide the chairs and tables, all the craft supplies, the teaching material, the snacks, for all of them on a budget of less than $60. And you need to write your own lessons. Well, that´s what we did. It was an intensly rewarding experience. Praise the Lord, every day went really really well. Our lessons were based out of Genesis, featuring the obedience of Abraham, and the disobedience of Sodom and Gomorra. It was quite interesting, but went so good. We´re having our closing program tomorrow at the church where they will sing their news songs, and recite their memory verses. I have a whole new appreciation for the ease provided in the States. Pastor Sherry, thank you for always providing all the supplies, chairs, tables, lights that those 4 and 5 year olds could ever need. Not to mention toys. And thank Nazarene Headquarters for writing such fabulous material for us to use. Now if only we would get the Puerto Maldonado version.... :)