Worship in Juarez
This Lord’s Day began a bit unusually for me. Not because I was in a foreign country (which I was), or even because I was in a hotel. What was unusual was to be able to sleep in far later than typically, and to know that we would not see the people of Christ Church. There may be many challenges ahead of us this week, but accommodations is certainly not one of them. Our hosts, the Burkempers, have arranged for summer mission teams to stay in a La Quinta in in Juarez. That means we are safe and comfortable in preparation for all the work this week.
The driving portion of our team arrived last night, and we celebrated with a taco meal in a mall food court (of all places!) and ice cream. This morning we gathered together for Jamie to lead us in a devotional on Ephesians 2:1-10, followed by a briefing on the week’s tasks and schedule. We then headed out to Promesa de Vida for worship at 12:30 PM. It was a blessing to gather with that congregation, who obviously enjoyed being together. There were smiles and hugs all around, and many people came up to greet us. I wished that I knew more Spanish so that I could have conversed more with them. While there were obvious differences from our worship in Katy, there were many similarities as well. The basic order of service was the same, with singing, an offering, prayers, Scripture reading, and a sermon. There was even a sound booth in the back – just like home! The pastor preached on James 1, focusing on verses 16 and 17. Jamie Burkemper did some summarizing translation for a few of us as we sat together. The pastor explained the text, brought in supporting Scriptures, and gave illustrations for the congregation, including an encouragement from the life of his father. His father had become a Christian only five years ago, and the pastor was able to describe in so many ways how that change was evident in his life. At the conclusion of the service, we celebrated the Lord’s Supper.
After the service we stayed for a meal with the congregation – home made and delicious! It was good enough to go back for seconds, although Mark Husband and Paul each made it back for thirds! We spoke with one of the elders, whose son spoke excellent English and assisted. I was also able to speak with the church planter of the church we are doing construction work for, Alcides. All in all, it was a wonderful and restful Lord’s Day. We needed the rest, because tomorrow will bring a great deal of work!