Normally, I attempt to give myself a week after my arrival to get settled in before jumping back into the work. But it never works out that way. Even though I do not plan any ministry activities, it seems they come looking for me. Only two days after arriving back in Colombia, the deaf preacher contacted me and wanted to come over for a meeting. I agreed, as ministry always comes before personal convenience.
He arrived with his family, as I still need an interpreter in order to understand all he is saying to me. After a very effusive greeting, we got down to business. He began explaining to me what had happened during my absence from Colombia. First we dealt with some problems. As with any new work, we expect problems to crop up. These problems related to the interaction between the hearing church and the deaf church. We fully expected such misunderstandings and the communication problem is a critical factor. We discussed how to deal with these relatively minor issues and how to avoid them in the future. This is part of beginning any new work.
Next we began to discuss the success of the new church among the deaf. This is a first for Colombia and it has created quite a stir here in the country. The new church is growing and there are several deaf individuals asking about being baptized. I will work with them and the new preacher as I teach the deaf and train the preacher in how to proceed when someone wants to be baptized. The congregation continues to grow and new people are showing up nearly every Sunday. We have reached a point where space is already becoming a problem for some services.
After that we went on to opportunities that have opened in other parts of Colombia. The new members of this church are eager to share the Gospel with friends and family. They have been making contacts with relatives and friends all over Colombia. We now have invitations to go and preach in several cities of Colombia. This is an exciting development as we have hardly begun one congregation and now we have open doors for beginning several more. I was thrilled as we made plans for taking advantage of these new doors that God has opened.
As we sat among suitcases and recently unpacked teaching material en the midst of a yet to be cleaned apartment, those secondary matters seemed of little importance. The interruptions of my organizing and settling in seemed insignificant. There were exciting things happening in Godâ€™s work here and that was far more important and much more fun than cleaning and organizing!