Just when I begin to think "nothing is happening out there" I will get a phone call like yesterday inviting me to visit one of the new works getting underway.
This particular new church plant involves a young father, Raygen, and his cousin Jose. Raygen comes from a Pentecostal church, but showed up at one of our church planting training seminars back in January. I hadn't heard anything from him since that time--until yesterday!
Jose took me in a taxi to one of the poorer sections of the city (don't dare take the car--way too dangerous!) We sat out under the stars on the front porch on plastic stools. There were about 15 adults and an equal number of children and babies. Half of those present were believers, the rest not-yet believers.
We started out by singing with our homemade CD playing on a small boombox several of the people's favorite songs/hymns out of the compiled songbook we use. After several songs we went around the room introducing ourselves and sharing something each of us like to do. I modeled for them first sharing I liked music, reading, and writing stories about people like them...they followed my example and we went around the room listening to each. Most everyone expressed that they liked to sing (that's why singing is such a big part of house church here!)...so we sang some more...I was amazed that a group that has only been meeting a few weeks knew so many of the songs!
One of the last songs that was chosen was the hymn "Have Thine Own Way" (the people here love hymns because they are so poetical.) After singing all four stanzas we started a dialogue about the idea of we being the clay that is being molded by the potter. Someone asked what had to happen for a pretty vase to be finished...it has to go through the fire! This led to James 1:2-4 where we are to "count it all joy when you encounter various trials..." This led to a time of sharing when they had been through trials and what God had done through the testing to make them more God-like in character.
We then asked if any present who had not yet received Christ would like to do so. Several spoke up saying they would do so someday, but not today--still wanting to process what they were hearing.
After that we opened up the time to see if there were any prayer requests...there were quite a few! We prayed over each one individually in a meaningful time for all, taking the time to carefully listen asking clarification questions to make sure we really understood the situation. About 9:20pm we ended the meeting with everyone going around and giving each person a hug and saying "Dios te bendiga..."
I was ready to go home by then and eat my popcorn, but God wasn't yet through. Raygen (remember Raygen?) stopped me and began to pour out his heart about an area of town, Las Iguanas, where another cousin of his had previously started new work, but had moved to another city leaving the work abandoned. All the new believers in Iguanas had scattered. His heart was crushed by this situation. He asked me to please send someone to help those people without a shepherd...
I looked Raygen in the eye and said, "I have no one to send, Raygen, why don't YOU pray about being that person?" I shared with him that he and Jose could team up and do the work together on the weekends, and continue with the house church in Raygen's home during the week. His eyes caught fire as the thought that he might be a missionary to the other side of town!
Would you pray for Raygen and Jose and the new work at "La O y 25?" Pray also that God would send laborers to Las Iguanas, and that God would make clear to Raygen and Jose if they are the ones to take on Las Iguanas.