We’re on day Four in Nicaragua. Today, I had yet another new experience….I went to church under a tree! Well, actually, I helped do the service. We were asked to hold church this morning in the community of Ceibita. I’m not a pastor or preacher. Neither are Gwen or Angie. But we are each gifted in different areas and brought those gifts to share this morning. However, before we shared, they had a surprise for us.
But, before I tell you about it, let me give you a little background. Ceibita is desperately poor – even by Nicarguan standards. They don’t have a church building, so church is held under a huge old tree. It’s nice and shady and with a breeze, pretty comfortable, despite the heat. As a general rule, only the women and children go to church. The men work six days a week and refuse to spend their day off going to church. However, God has touched Angie’s heart with a desire to see these men serving Him. So, she made a deal with them….go to church and she would buy them the equipment needed for the sport they love so much….baseball! The men took her up on it. And thirty men have been saved! Praise the Lord. Last night, we showed the movie Courageous to the folks in Ceibita. It’s a real treat they don’t get often and many came. If you’re not familiar with the movie, it’s about a group of men and them feeling tugged by God to be better fathers. Great story. And that’s brings us back to church this morning…
When we got there, the pastor informed us they had a surprise for us. And we had to sit down. No standing. First, a couple of ladies led everyone in worship. How sweet it was to hear so many voices raised to our God – with no music! The only “music” was them clapping hands. I was so blessed by it! Then, the pastor explained that they had all been touched so much by the message of the movie that he felt certain we’d be seeing many changes. It was truly a gift to see the desires of Angie’s heart for these families fulfilled! And….there were men there! A lot of them! God is so good!
After our surprise, Gwen played a couple of songs on the flute….beautifully, as usual! Then she and I did a worship dance to “At The Cross” by Hillsong….in Spanish, of course! I told the resurrection story. And Angie did a pretty cool trick changing dirty “sin” water into clear water with a cross. Pastor finished us up with a short exhortation to the congregation. I think, just maybe, it was the most amazing church service I’ve ever experienced.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12 NASB
Now….next time you think about complaining about your church – the pews are hard, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, the carpet’s ugly – think about my friends in Ceibita!
Be blessed and tell someone you love them!