Have you ever seen a hearse with a trailer hitch? If you have, I for one would love to see it. But honestly, does it make any sense for a vehicle which transports the bodies of people who have died to carry anything else with it? In case you didn't already know this, you can't take anything when you go! Not your house, your car, your dog, your job, or even your family. (For those of you who remember me mentioning my mind is 80% song lyrics, this comes from the song "Trailer Hitch"). That is why things of this earth do not matter, and they will never matter. Our brother Bryon made an excellent point this morning in his devotional: "The only thing thing we can take with us is our actions for God here on Earth." Let that soak in a minute as I tell you about another beautiful day in the community of Purral in Costa Rica.
This day ran nearly identical to yesterday's, so I'm going to make it a little bit shorter, and as sweet as I can type. We had a lot more stranglers this morning to get to breakfast on time and catch the bus before it left. Shane Blackburn was our example for the day. Since he was running late, Terry had him make a spectacle of himself for everyone once we arrived at the church building. He promised he would not be late again...TODAY. Ha. Let's hope we all wake up refreshed enough tomorrow that we jump out of bed, ready to serve. After the short devo, we split up into our men's and women's classes. The women looked specifically at raising children in the church. Diane stated we should not just raise up our children in the church, we must give them a hunger for God. Chase's class continued with the topic of a Christian family. The only difference today was that there was a coffee break in order so that we could break up the 2 1/2 hours. That's a very long time to sit still for anyone! We had another yummy lunch, which was assembled by Margaret Reeves, Leah Myers, Tabitha Glenn, and myself. Our chicken sandwiches with tomatoes and cucumbers hit the spot. As Tabitha wisely exclaimed when speaking about the pineapple she had for breakfast: "It was like eating sunshine." Let me tell you, the picky eaters on this trip are missing out. I, for one, am so glad my taste buds have changed. After filling our stomaches with sandwiches, sweet apples and fresh pineapple juice, we set off to our respective jobs for the afternoon. Our three groups continued, one teaching another VBS lesson at the orphanage, one painting at the orphanage, and one door knocking. Since I did not attend VBS today either, I am asking Joanna Fussell to give us some details about how it went.
The kids sat down listened and wanted to hear another story. Lots of different games played and they interacted very well with us as visitors. Compared to yesterday, the kids behaved very well. Before going we were told we couldn't interact with the kids unless they interacted first and no pictures could be taken. I think a lot of people were apprehensive about this, but the kids were very loving and wanted to play with us as much as possible. I spent most of the time being chased by the kids with their VBS craft. They loved getting so much attention and it was easy to play with them even though we were warned they may not be receptive to anything. We sang songs in Spanish and English then had a skit about Joshua fighting and praying to God to let the day last longer. After the skit was over, the kids wanted us to do another skit and we had to tell them to wait til tomorrow. We had a snack and the rest of the time we just played basketball, ninja, and all sorts of other games. I think tomorrow will be even better.
Most importantly, tonight we had another lesson from the Word of God. This is the reason for all of our hard work: To get as many people into this small church so they can hear for themselves the Gospel and choose to obey it. Tonight, Tim and Chase did a fantastic job of answering a question so many of us ask ourselves: Why were we created? or For what purpose were we created? But what really made this lesson one of the best I have ever heard, was how they presented it. Since both Tim and Chase are such talented preachers AND translators, they used their talents to the fullest and went back and forth from preaching to translating for the other, bouncing off the others ideas. Tim started us out with another story to peak our interest, and then he began to delve into the tough questions like When God creates something do you believe it is divine? That God created it all with a purpose that we may not know? He used Psalms 139:13-18, emphasizing verse 14 where David states: "I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." The design of God is perfect and God doesn't make anything that isn't perfect. We are created for perfection. Christ said in Matthew 5:48, "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." God has a plan for every single thing that happens in our lives, even the most disappointing situations serve a purpose. God is in control, even if we don't understand. The truth is we don't have to understand, but we have to obey. According to Ephesians 2:4-10, we were made to do good works for God and His glory. That is our purpose. Then in Ephesians 4:11, Paul lists 3 jobs in the church for which some have been created: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. In verse 12, he explains the purpose of those jobs, "for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ." Why are we designed perfectly by God? Because he has a plan for our life. If He's got your heart, He's got your life, your family, and your church.
"But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:4
"Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment."
Please continue to pray for all of those working with the church of Christ in Purral. We have only two more days in this community as we try to bring as many souls to God as possible! We have not had anyone respond yet, but the Lord has the power to turn hearts toward Him. Remember much can be accomplished with a fervent prayer.