We met with the coreteam tonight to discuss the program and responsibilities for the upcoming retreat. As usual, there was a lot of food and a lot of laughter. 🙂 We thank God that more and more, we are understanding the spanish jokes and enjoying the presence of God’s family here in a different language.
We made a few spanish mistakes, for e.g. using ‘plumas’ (which I think means ‘pens’ in spanish in most dictionaries, but here in Ecuador, it means ‘feathers’… hahaha) instead of ‘esferos’ for “pens”, so we said something like “so she will prepare the files and feathers for everyone…” … and throughout the night, everytime we mentioned ‘esferos’…someone would say ‘PLUMAS’.. and everyone would do the ‘flying’ action. It was funny… Muy chistoso.. hahhahaha… we had fun, laughing at ourselves.. ;p
I’m excited about the upcoming retreat. There’ll be opportunities to interact alot more with the pple, especially the coreteam, to serve with them, go out with them, discuss with them and share life with them. Our new sheep. 😉 I think as we build the relationships, we are truly beginning to love them more and more, not just with our minds and decisions, but more and more, with our hearts too.
At the end of the meeting, WL shared the upcoming plans till December and after that, shared with the coreteam abt WL&WP’s departure date to return to Singapore. He shared about the vision of the church and their plans to return to Singapore to do more to extend God’s kingdom, reassuring them that this was not an abandonment, but the next step to fulfil God’s purpose. After which, we sensed that tinge of sadness in everyone, an acknowledgement of the deep friendship and love that has been built up across the 3-5 years. The coreteam was understanding and accepting of the news as they understood the goodness behind it and we are deeply encouraged by their supportiveness and good hearts.
For STPRHO, there are many more challenges to come. As the news of the pioneering team’s departure sets in for the members of the church, the reality of the challenges ahead also sink in for us. Sincerely speaking, we do feel fearful and inadequate and more and more, stressed. There are still many things we do not know, and many other things that even if we know, we can’t express yet (in spanish)… There are many things to learn, many things to accomplish every week – spanish lessons, preparing our english lessons, preparing CG and sunday services and teachings, visiting members, building relationships, counselling, and on top of this, there is the daily grind – housework, cooking, washing… and the biggest challenge is probably that all this is to be done in spanish (except the english lessons and housework). Some of these are minor things that we used to be able to do with great efficiency and simplicity in Singapore (for e.g. taking the bus and taxis, shopping for groceries, finding our way around, going to the bank, reading forms..) but now they require greater effort and courage and trust in the Lord.
This is indeed a journey that will test our faith and grow us. A journey of learning to depend on the Lord and not on our own abilities. A journey that is humbling, a journey that is challenging, yet we believe, is a journey of hope and strenghtening and growth.
When I felt fearful today, the Holy Spirit reminded me of some teachings and verses that encouraged me and strengthened my heart. In “A Courageous Church” we learnt that courage is not the absence of fear, but the facing up to our fears. Indeed, we can’t pray the fear away… but the Lord says “For God did not give you a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7, so we can face up to it with His help. (In fact, this morning, I just asked my student what “Valiente” means, it was written on a plaque tt was on his table- representing his company’s values. “Valiente” means “Courageous”… I believe the H.S. is really at work here.. sending me a message 🙂 )
This is a wonderful time to claim the promises of God and apply them to our lives. Jesus, we need to live out this life of power – to claim the ability to do things we didn’t think we could do; a life of love – help us to love your people like we’ve never done before; a life of self-discipline – to train ourselves to give more, to allocate time more wisely, to live a life of discipline so we can do more for you. Help us Lord.. As WL shared with us, grant us a spirit and faith to “make it work”, no matter what the difficulties are. You are a wonderful and powerful God and we trust in you and love you. Amen.