Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Our First Services In San Pancho!!!

To kick off this new church plant we had a campaña last weekend. This is very normal for a Kekchi church plant, especially one in a city. It is where you have a series of services and invite special guests to build excitement. We have been a part of something like this a couple times, mainly the church plant in Poptún. This one was a little different to us though, because it will be "our" church. We are planning on living in San Pancho for the rest of our lives, so when we are not ministering somewhere else on the weekends, we will attend this church. We are not just getting it started, we want to remain a part of it.
We asked Tutor #4 to be the pastor. He is Kekchi and is also completely fluent in Spanish. I will have to share Tutor #4's story in another post and how God brought his family and ours together for this specific task and how God affirmed it to Pastor, that this was the job that God had for him. It is beautifully specific how God works!
{Tutor #4 with his parents. They gave their testimonies}

It has become a trend to invite an evangelist to preach the campañas. The evangelists here have a ridiculous fee. We sort of see it as a racket. They have deep booming voices and are fluent in Spanish (which the Kekchi think is necessary for a campaña), but they are sort of dramatic and over the top. They are nothing like the pastors of these churches, but for some reason the pastors feel like it is expected of them to invite them.

So here is the nitty gritty of a church plant in another culture. The big question: "When do you go with culture and when do you ask are we doing something just because it has always been done that way?" It is tricky. You want to be respectful and culturally relevant, but you want to work together and improve. We weren't the only ones financing this church plant (which represent offerings from gringo churches). Many of the other Kekchi churches gave offerings for this too. Since several other pastors would be attending this campaña Jimmy suggested that we save our money and ask them to preach. Plus this would be the style that visistors would hear if they chose to return. Tutor #4 loved that idea!
{Domingo preaching one of the services}

There were other issues like this as well, but sometimes once the cultural reason was explained, we understood better and went with it. It is a delicate balance and learning experience for all of us. It think it is very positive even though at times it can be frustrating. It helps us all grow and will lead to a more effective church plant with all the backgrounds contributing. Domingo was a big part of this kick off service too, so that was helpful. He and Jimmy have been working together for years now, so they understand each other. It made it a lot easier to discuss stuff.
{Domingo's daughter Candi. I had made her some hairbows and she was wearing one! We love his family!}

Several members from the church in Ebenezer came to support this new plant. Another church sent their praise band.
The band had matching shirts for each service! They were really very talented and added a lot to the worship service. Tutor #4's sons are musical and will help with the worship part of the service for regular services.
{Tutor #4's wife sang and her sons played for her}

Here is a clip of "How Great Thou Art" in Kekchi (the speakers are a little loud for my camera, so it is not as clear as if you were there):
We sing a lot of the same hymns.

The couple that accepted Christ a couple weeks ago in Sayaxche came all the way here for the services too! The pastor in Sayaxche has been following up on them and I know that he has seen them there at least one service since then. It is a large church so they could have been missed other times.
Among several singles, there were at least 5 families that were attending from San Pancho that want to keep coming. The first family that we visited who said they were moving soon was even there... guess they haven't moved yet. One teenage girl accepted Christ the last service. We met her on that first day of visitation too. I will share her story in another blog. It was a big learning experience for me.
Please keep this church plant in your prayers! We will be having services on Sundays and Thursdays. Please pray that it will grow and that many Kekchi families will come to know the Lord. And pray for all of us as we work together!

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: It is very Guatemalan to take the number of speakers necessary for a crowd and then multiply that number by 6! The entire village/bario must "feel" the music and hear the message clearly! Well I have two little gringo boys who love music and singing and are infatuated with speakers.

This is where Silas stood for most of the worship service. (Services here are much more laid back than the States. Kids walk around everywhere. I usually don't let my kids roam, but he was genuinely interested in the band, so I let it fly this time.)

This was taken after the service was over. Jonah couldn't get enough. They have been reinacting the band ever since. They flip one of the tubs for their blocks over and pretend it is a keyboard. They sing at the top of their lungs and then of course pray afterwards!

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