Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It Was His Decision

It seems there has already been several times since we have been in this country where we have to go to a meeting to find out our fate. We started working in the school this morning at 8 in Santa Rita. We had a meeting with the newly elected town council at 5. We showed up nice and sweaty. I had blue paint all over me. We had to wait outside the office for about 30 minutes while they finished dealing with some other issue. We knew in a couple minutes we would find out if we could leave or could stay, if we could have our own meeting place or have to keep using the salon. We had to cancel our adult Bible study last Saturday because they were using the salon for a dance. Anyway, it was all up to God. We honestly love Santa Rita and have bonded with many of the people, we didn’t want to leave. I was planning on what we would do instead, trying to prepare myself... just in case. These guerrillas can wear you out, so I was thinking “more time to learn Kekchi”. But then Jimmy was saying how there were no other works in Santa Rita. They have no Gospel. I really do not see how anyone could reach them without a work inside their village.

The meeting started off with Jimmy going over again why we were in the village. Churches are prohibited, so he explained that we did not want to start a church, just hold Bible studies. He then asked if anyone had any questions for us. The one lady who is against us (she is the town nurse) spoke up and said that the old town council had only given us permission to host the Weekend for Everyone and not to host our Bible studies every Saturday. (That was not true) She then labeled us evangelical and said they are divisive. She accused us again of starting a church and then said that we should have to go before the entire assembly and be voted on. This was not a good start! Jimmy addressed all of her accusations again and then asked if we could store our stuff in and meet in Lesbia’s house since she had offered it to us. There was silence for a while. Finally Rosa, the very first lady we met in Santa Rita spoke. She said that since it is was private property and the owner gave us permission, she didn’t think there should be any problem with us using her house to store tables and chairs in. After a little discussion everybody agreed.

Then came the hard discussion. Where we would meet. Some thought we should stay in the town hall. Jimmy explained that if we stayed there, and they planned a meeting or a dance or some other kind of activity, we would lose our gas money we spent that night, and all of the people who come to the Bible Study wouldn’t know about it. Eventually, nobody thought that would be a good idea. They started looking at other solutions, that ended up not being one. Finally Jimmy said, “Well, we could always just meet in the Catholic Church since it’s not used on Saturday nights!” That about knocked me out of my chair, but it made sense. The nurse knew she wasn’t going to win the battle to get us kicked out (especially because our team spent $5000 fixing up their school this week) but her worst nightmare would have been for us to actually get to meet inside her church! Fairly quickly it was decided that the best option for everybody would be to just let us meet in Lesbia’s house.

They only thing they asked for to make it official is a letter from Lesbia saying she is loaning us her house to meet in. Once we hand that in we can start meeting there with no problem at all.

The final thing the new president had to say was how happy he was that we are here teaching people the Bible. He said his daughter really likes it and she was very glad when she received her Bible last week. He thinks it is wonderful what we are doing and that the people that come get to have their own Bible they can read for themselves.

Thank you all so much for praying for this. It was a stressful time not knowing, but God has kept the door open and blessed above that. Thank you also to all of you who gave sacrificially to buy Bibles and tables and chairs for this work. It has also been neat to see how God worked out this team to be here at the perfect time so that our meeting with the new town council corresponded with the massive renovation going on at the school.

Ok, we’re pooped and going to bed now...

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