Sunday, April 17, 2005

Sun April 17, 2005

Today our team had our time of worship in English in the morning. We had a good morning together. We are starting to see how each of us come from different spiritual journey’s and have had different spiritual experiences before we came to this team. 8 of us then went to church in one of the suburbs of Salvador called Plataforma. It is called the Igreja de Cristo en Suburbana. It is a church that was started 8 months ago when some of the members from the first Church of Christ in the city decided to plant a new church in the part of the city that they live in. They already have about 30 that meet there and they have had 10 people commit their lives to Christ. The eight of us were invited for lunch at the home of one of the leaders of the church (Luciano). We had a dish of some really good fish and of course Brazilian beans. Services didn’t start until 4pm so we had lots of time to visit with all of the guests at the dinner. It was really good for our team because we got lots of practice speaking Portuguese. Luciano was proud because he had a cd of Acapella in English that he could play in the background to help us feel more at home. We had a great discussion as Luciano wanted to know about the Churches of Christ in North America. He also told us about some of the local religious beliefs in Salvador. We basically got the best lesson we had heard on Spiritism and the religious beliefs that were brought over by the slaves from Africa. We also finally learned why there are so many people that want to give us these little ribbons that say something about the most famous Catholic Church in the city. If you go downtown you will be offered them by at least 10 different people. Luciano explained to us that these ribbons represent a blessing from a patron saint at the church. But really for the people the patron saint represents one of the Spiritist gods. Really they are trying to give us an idol that is supposed to ward off evil spirits. Luciano said that we should tell that we are Christians and they will understand that we don’t believe what they do. God help me to see the spiritual battle that is being waged in this city. I am so thankful that I have come to know you as the true God of this universe that lives and had conquered all other forms of spirits. I am so thankful that we don’t have to live in fear of evil spirits, that must be a terrible bondage to live with. Help me to be able to open many peoples minds and hearts to the truth of who you are to many people in this city.
On the way to church (we took another bus to get there) Luciano saw that I had been translating all day and so he asked if I could give the sermon that night. I was obviously apprehensive at first but I also remembered how many times this had happened to me when I lived in Ecuador so I agreed. I then quickly thought back to what I had been studying during the week and tried to decide how it would apply to this brand new church with so many new churches. Luciano sat on the front row to help me when I couldn’t pronounce a word properly. I know I must have been communicating fine because there were some “amens” from the crowd. I never expected that I would be preaching a sermon my first month on the field. But this really gave me confidence with my language abilities. Thank-you Holy Spirit for giving me the gift of learning languages. Thank-you for this experience so early in our time here that gives me confidence in my language abilities. You always provide us with what we need at just the right time.

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