Wow today has been HOT and busy! But good! The day started with us going to Pastor Avel’s church here in Daet for breakfast. After we ate we split into different groups to
visit the other pastor’s churches. Matthew and I practiced a song and had a really good visit while we were waiting for our ride to arrive. Pastor Anwar picked us up on a trike and I got to ride in the side car with his son Job. I was excited about that! He is very shy and does not talk much. Pastor Anwar took us by the home where they normally have church and introduced us to his eldest member, Fe. She is 86 years old and lets the church use her home for services because they do not yet have the funds raised for their building.
Pastor Anwar then took us to the church lot in Basud, which is vacant save for a stone building the size of one of our large bathrooms and a fence made from bamboo and sticks spliced together to partition off a small area in the shade for the services. He, Matthew and two ladies from the church swept the leaf litter with short straw brooms and I played with Job, gathering pili nuts from the ground. I believe it was Chariz who told me they come to this lot on a weekly basis and pray over it. And that a few years ago they had another lot and building started and the typhoon destroyed it all. They set up plastic chairs and a small wooden pulpit.
I was blessed to teach Sunday school to the children younger than 13. They listened so well and the lady that helped interpret for me was so kind. We did a craft where we made cards for their parents and put foam stickers on them for decoration. They had never seen any stickers like that before and concentrated so hard on making their cards nice. My thought since I’ve been here is that little is much with the Lord. These people take what little they have and use it for His glory. When you compliment one of the young people, their immediate response is, “To God be the glory.” It’s wonderful.
Matthew and I sang together before the preaching. His message was wonderfully encouraging. Two people came forth to be saved!
Afterward Pastor Anwar and his friend Jomar took us to the river, along with several of the teens and young people, to baptize a young man who had been saved recently. Matthew rode the motorcycle with Anwar’s son Job. It was so cute! I finally got Job’s little sister Tabita to look at me without crying today. I consider that a success. She even waved!
We stopped back by Fe’s house on the way to lunch. I talked to her about my children and showed her the picture. Her face lit up and she told me she has 5 children too. She asked me if I wanted her to have the photo of my family. I asked if she wanted it and she said yes so she could remember me. She held it like it was such a treasure. What a blessing it was to me!
Pastor Anwar and his wife Chariz treated us to lunch out at a restaurant. I had the best pineapple shake ever! Of course I was sunburned and burning hot, but still I say it was the best. When we returned to the home church in Daet the children’s festival had begun. It wasn’t ten minutes that I was being handed a microphone and asking to give my lesson and “tell a story” to probably 350 children and many of the pastor’s and their wives. It was way, way outside my comfort zone, but God helped me and Hannah translated and it went very well I think. Next we went outside and made bracelets with the little ones and Eric taught the bigger ones how to do balloon animals. We played games with blow up balls and parachutes, and also we did relay-type races with the balls. It was funny, I had to teach the young men how to inflate the balls. They did not know how to do that at all!
I hit a wall sometime during play time. I know it was the intense heat and I was dehydrated even though I had been drinking water all day.
After the games were finished the children returned to the sanctuary and were served dinner. It’s not like our sanctuary we think of here. No pews. No carpet. No air conditioning. We collapsed on the stage and watched them eat. The women noticed how tired Tracey and I looked and brought the only two fans they had and plugged them in and directed them toward us. Then Chona went and bought us some Halo Halo (spelling?). This is the weirdest combination of things I’ve ever put in my mouth. It has crushed ice, some sort of yam ground up to make it purple, little cut up chunks of gelatin in all different colors and flavors, little balls of gelatin of some sort, beans, cheese, cut up bananas, and there could have been something else. Jenny loves the stuff. The rest of us, not so much. I ate enough to cool me down and then had to pass on the rest.
After the morning service, Job had gifted me the pili nuts, which made me feel super special because he is so shy. So I asked Melody to help me get one open. The nut is inside two very hard shells. Jonathan got a piece of broken cement and helped me get the nut out. It was delicious! The texture and firmness of a water chestnut with the taste of a pecan. I wish I could bring some home but I’m pretty sure customs would frown upon that.
I finally managed to drink enough water and get cooled off enough that I could play some with the children. We tossed the blow up balls back and forth. The whole team visited with the children that were straggling behind or waiting on rides to get home until dark, when we sat down to eat another delicious dinner. As soon as it was over, I asked how we were getting back to the hotel and Melody told me I wasn’t asking right. She told me to say, “Pastor, can you take us back to the hotel please?”
I’m exhausted, but it’s been such a wonderful day. I hope we planted seeds in the minds
of the children who came. Many of them are not regular churchgoers. I had brought a book with me called Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World. I did not use it for any lessons, but I chose to gift it to Jared. I feel very magnetized by him, even though when we spend time together he doesn’t speak much. The book I read during the lesson today was one Tracey brought about God’s great love for us. I am so thankful she brought it! It makes me so sad that books don’t seem to be very available or common. There is so much need here! I could send every penny I have and not be able to meet it all. So I have to pray for very careful guidance on what to support once I’m home.
(I took the photo of the green butterfly at the baptism at Basud River (I think was the name))
Note added today–Matthew and I will be starting a building fund to help the people of Basud and Pastor Anwar build a church. If you feel led to donate, please let me know. They only need around $2,000 US dollars to erect a stone building for their church!