April 25, 2013
...And at the End of that Road
|This black sheep didn't seem to mind at |
all that I snapped his photo.
It was so refreshing to be back in the really, really rural areas of Paraguay, where outdoor fires and brick ovens replace electric or gas stoves and the word of the day is always going to be in Guarani. Add to that the fact that I was trekking this little foot paths over creeks and hills and briar patches without a cane, and it made for an excellent morning.
One of the pastor's daughters accompanied Norma and me on our walk, to show us which paths led to houses and to introduce us to the folks we'd find. Our main goal was to invite as many women and children as possible to the event we'd be hosting after lunch, but we got several opportunities to pray with shut-ins and invite folks to the regular service that would take place at the church later that night.
A bit after lunch, about 40 children gathered beside the church for a few hours of games, singing, Bible stories, and lessons. One of the members of our team dressed as a clown and was quite a hit! By the time we'd finished, about half of us had stepped in the cow, chicken, or dog poo piles in the field, but no one seemed to mind.
While the kids were outside playing, the ladies were inside for a workshop about identity and purpose. As in most areas of rural Paraguay, spousal abuse and incest are commonplace, so this time with these ladies and children was soaked in prayer. We really wanted them to understand how special they are in the eyes of God and how much He wants them to be part of His family.
As we were getting ready for the evening service, one of the ladies who'd come to the gathering sent word that her husband's uncle was in poor health and needed a visit. This lady had only recently come to the Lord herself. A few of us went to see this man, who was literally on his deathbed. I'll spare you the details. His family was gathered around a bonfire outside the little wooden room where he was lying, and they ushered us in to see him. After an explanation of eternal life and how it could be his, he said he believed in Jesus and wanted to give his heart to Him. As this precious, frail man breathlessly prayed, his family wept and then said they'd like to do the same. Juan died a few hours later, and we rejoiced to imagine him breathing the fresh air of Heaven and having all the strength he needed to get up and run around!
The evening service was a beautiful time of worship and fellowship. I taught on what it really means to be a new creation.