Sundays are always busy days. That is to be expected for any preacher. But that is multiplied for a missionary, because a missionary does not simply preach at one church. All of the churches like to have the missionary come for a visit and then preach. Most Sundays I will preach at two different churches. This past was a typical Sunday for me. The day began when I was up early and working to put the final touches on my sermon. We left the apartment around nine in the morning. It would be more than twelve hours before we would return.
Gordon Clifford is here and he is interested in seeing the way that we work as well as the works themselves. For the morning service, we attended the Normandia church and we visited with both the hearing congregation and with the deaf congregation as well. Since they meet in the same facility, we can easily visit both in a single morning. After the morning services we spent some time in fellowship with the brethren. By one oâ€™clock, we were ready to head out for our second service of the day.
Edgar PeÃ±a, and his wife Alba had invited Gordon and me to their house for lunch. So we shared a delicious meal of broasted chicken and Colombian fruits. Soon after we had finished, the deaf preacher showed up and we were ready to head out the last yearâ€™s church plant in Soacha. I was taking the deaf preacher along as we are hoping to start a deaf church there in the course of this year. We are setting a goal of starting one new deaf church each year just as we do with the hearing churches.
It was an hour drive and by mid afternoon we had arrived at the church building in Soacha. We visited with the brethren as they arrived. One of the local Christians guided me and the two deaf preachers to the house of the deaf lady that we were hoping to visit. We chatted for a bit, (my sign language is too limited for much more than that) and then I left the two deaf preachers there to visit with her and explore the potential for starting a new deaf church there in the near future.
I returned to the hearing church service. The building was now maxed out and every seat was filled. There were a few people standing in the back of the small sanctuary. The animated singing and fervent prayers were endemic to worship here, as was the genuine desire to relish the joy of the praise. There was no rush to finish up. After about two hours, I was invited to the pulpit to preach. Sermons here tend to be longer than in the States as most people want to hear a significant amount of Biblical teaching. After about forty five minutes I finished up. There were four people who responded to the invitation.
Afterwards there was a short ordination service for new church leaders as we begin the process of selecting elders and deacons for the new church. There was more singing and praying and after about three and a half hours, the service ended. But even with that no one was in a rush to head home. Someone had brought a water melon and so everyone shared that tasty treat and loitered for a considerable time, as if reluctant to leave. People here see church as an enjoyable time and really appreciate the chance to share with their brothers and sisters in Christ. We are truly a family here.
After everything finally ended, we loaded the two deaf preachers in the car and began the long trek home. Sunday evenings are very congested as so many people leave BogotÃ¡ for the weekend and are heading back home. We crept along in the traffic jam as we headed back to our apartment. Along the way, we dropped the two deaf preachers off at different bus stops. It took us more than two hours to get home. We arrived exhausted from the long day but thrilled to have been involved in the Lordâ€™s work here. It was time for some rest in order to get ready for the next busy day.