The church was packed to overflowing as attendance increased each day until more that 100 people were present for the closing service on Sunday evening. Not bad for a church that meets in a garage!
This past week was Easter Sunday for churches in the States. A few will add a Good Friday service. But for the churches here in Colombia, this was Holy Week. That is an important event here in Colombia and churches plan for this significant event for months. This year, the church in Lucero, a rather dangerous section of South BogotÃ¡, had asked me to be the preacher for their services. I agreed and they ask that I deal with issues many families there were having in trying to live out their new found faith.
So Thursday, Friday, and Saturday afternoons and evenings as well as for the morning and evening services on Sunday, I was at the church preaching and teaching for their Holy Week services. I was there for several hours each day as the Colombian Christians never seem to tire in singing praise and listening to Biblical teaching. The service would begin at four in the afternoon and continue till seven that night.
The first day I preached on the meaning of Jesusâ€™ sacrifice and the implications for our daily lives. I used Romans 12 and then Philippians 4 as my text. I told them that we needed to apply the meaning of Jesusâ€™ sacrifice to our own daily lives. Then, to end the service, I asked that each person write a question about difficulties they were having in how to apply that teaching to their own lives and I promised to answer their questions over the next three days. Needless to say, the questions poured in.
Then on Friday and Saturday evenings, and during the morning and afternoon/evening sessions on Sunday, I tried to provide clear Biblical teaching to answer their questions. During the morning hours I was busy as I prepared the teaching for that afternoon and evening. Sometime shortly after lunch I would head out for the church. Depending on traffic, it takes between thirty minutes and an hour to get there. Plus I wanted to arrive in time to greet everyone as they arrived. Since many people come an hour or more before the service is to begin to have time to pray, I needed to be there by three oâ€™clock in the afternoon.
Church started at four and after about a half hour of singing and praying, I began to teach. I did this in an informal style and encouraged questions as I spoke. For two hours I would teach at each service. Even then, my attempts to end the service were always delayed by more questions. Sunday had two services, one that lasted all morning and into the early afternoon. Then after a break for lunch, we were back for the afternoon/evening service. This last day, we finished at seven. But so many people stayed around because they wanted to talk with me or discuss some item I had covered in my teaching that it was after nine before I could head back to the apartment.
It had been a very long weekend and I had spent more than ten hours in actual teaching, many hours in visiting and talking with the people who had attended, and many long hours in preparation. I was exhausted but it had been a very rewarding weekend.