Monday, March 9, 2009

Church, a wedding, and 3 baptisms!

March 8, 2009

Wow is the first word that comes to mind when I think of how awesome today was. The 85 degree weather was such wonderful welcome after a week of sweltering heat. There was a nice breeze and it was overcast the entire day as we met for our once a month outdoor “celebration service”. We had record attendance too – almost 100 people! God is so good and we are seeing lives changed.

We had three baptisms! One was a lady named Zulma. Zulma has an incredible testimony that dates way back to when she would come lying and begging to our teammate’s house. God has the ability to change the most unlikely hearts. Now she has been faithfully attending church, has a bible study meeting weekly at her home, and has been the catalyst for much of her neighborhood coming to the Lord and being baptized. Pray that she will continue to set an example with her life. Pray especially for her husband, Pedro, who is not a believer- yet.

We also had two weddings! Rosarina and Alcides have 4 children (they baptized two of them just today) and have been married in a civil service only. They recently made Jesus their Lord and were baptized just last month. Next, they wanted a church wedding. Eugenia (Rosarina’s sister) and Demesio talked about marriage and baptism months ago when they first gave their lives to Jesus. They were both baptized but moved away before they could get married. Now they and their two small children have moved back to San Francisco. The request of these two couples to become married is incredibly exciting because marriage is just not done around here. They have set an example for their children, the (non married “couples”) in our church, and for the community. This was the first “evangelical” wedding in our community. Some of their family had walked 2 hours to come to the event.

Do not think North American wedding! You know the American wedding chant – Something old, something new, something borrowed something blue. The two couples are poor and cannot afford rings, so they both used rings borrowed from other church members. Under Eugenia’s wedding dress (something new) I noticed she wore her same chunky, red-dirt stained tennis shoes (something old)….actually, very practical here. As for the something blue…their children. Tony, our teammate, did a wonderful job officiating the wedding. He had to talk loud over all the babies (mainly their own children) crying and wanting to be picked up by mommy.
Jeff played a waltz on the keyboard and the couples danced. Then we offered congratulations, drank terere, ate delicious grilled chicken, rice salad and mandioca, and had the Lord’s Supper. As we were packing up, a pig (dinner) was tied to the back of our mobile clinic and we drove the couples back home. That evening, Ginny and I (the others stayed at home) helped them eat that pork as we continued celebrating the marriages.

Watching a baptism in a cattle trough

Exchanging borrowed wedding rings

Just married!

I love this! The bride enjoys terere just after the ceremony. Terere is such a custom here, but marriage isn't.

Groom and family tying dinner to the back of the mobile clinic...something Jeff has not transported before!

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