Today was a great day of the unexpected. The strike has increased in intensity. Apparently protestors blocked some roads yesterday which prevented people from getting to work. The pressure to participate in the strike (for teachers) increased with the tension of the day. For us, this ultimately meant the teachers at the school were the true bare bones of strong volunteer work. We spent the first half of the day with a class that we were teaching for the first time. We began with the dust from which God created us and spent most of the time talking about being “salt of the earth”.
When language seems to be a barrier there is so much more to see. If I knew spanish Chester wouldn’t be here. And if Chester wasn’t here these boys would be missing the teaching that comes by what you “see” and experience. For the girls in the class they “see” and “experience” a female pastor. For the boys, they “see” and “experience” a man of their own culture serving as a translator. I dare say the two of us are an unusual encounter! It was as awkward and as wonderful as any teaching of 12-year-old students!
We received an invitation to Daniel and Elivia’s home for lunch today. They were so kind and gracious. The tablecloth came out, the food was great and just being in their home was a great blessing. Daniel convinced us to return to the river where we saw several kids and met some new ones.
While many were swimming I met Maria on the rocks as she washed her clothes. We did a lot of communicating for two different languages and made into fast friends. She is 13. The community is small and everyone knows everyone. If you walk around with a bit of time to offer, you can run into a lot of people. We stopped by Marvin’s house and gave out lot of pictures today. It was nice.
This afternoon a gigantic rain came down for a very long time. It poured! We were at Felix’s church, thankfully. We were supposed to meet with his church leaders at 5pm but the rain delayed everyone’s arrival and they didn’t get there until 6:16pm. Our taxi came at 6:30pm and we all agreed to meet on Monday. We were able to have a bit of discussion even in the short time. Subject? Their insight on spiritual needs within the church and community. Much growth in the faith and even their confidence in being Methodist is a major need.
Tomorrow the strike will continue with everyone returning on Monday. One of the teachers asked us to come teach a special class of students she will gather together in spite of “no school”. We will teach them tomorrow – it is a great invitation. And then many of the students are attending a birthday gathering for one of the teacher’s daughters who is turning 5. We got invited – the answer is “yes!” and this will be a great way to share in their lives tomorrow.
Maybe it is important to remember that ministry is all about meeting people wherever they are and being in relationship. I know there is a generation of youth being raised up for something greater than we can imagine. The path they have to walk will need enormous focus. They must be inspired to move beyond what they know or can even imagine. But they will do it! And the adults who live and breathe around them will need to teach and love and show the way. In every country. In every church. In every community. It will take all of us.