Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sampedrana Church service

We went to Sampedrana on Sunday, first time I have been there for a Sunday service....in many moons.
We went to publically share with the Church why His Eyes removed Gender as pastor, to dismiss any rumors of power plays or whatever else, and to state where we go from here (that being Alfonso is preaching...and he did a very good job yesterday, the leadership of nine men are stepping up in their responsibility, and we are looking for a new pastor.) Trying to find a good pastor for a Church...not easy. Candidates abound...but not the right ones...yet. This might take months. 
I have never felt so welcome in a service...every person that got up to speak during the service thanked Oscar and myself by name, at least five or six times, for being there, and everyone before and after Church of course sought us out for handshakes and hugs. Seeing people taking the service so seriously, so fervently, was impressive. Turning the chairs around to kneel and pray was not something everyone did, but some did, and at different points in the service and for different lengths of time.   
Attendance is likely down with the problems...but still I was pleasantly surprised to see an almost equal split of men/women! That is not common here in Honduras where usually men are very hesitant to sometimes even come inside the building. There were around 50 adults present, which for a community that size is fairly impressive. I did not count the people milling about outside. 
And another 25 children....which very quietly and sweetly took their chairs out for Sunday School when the time came. Good thing it was not raining as they have to do that outside. I believe they are looking at building Sunday School rooms in the future...right now they have a big project to improve the fence around the property, with their money and effort.
We decided to let Gender and his family stay in the house until we find another pastor, which is good for them (he is building a house, but not done yet) and for us...as things would start to disappear quickly if the house was vacant. Gender reports that after several years of no incidents...they have lost some things to theft recently.
Some of the previous might have to do with the most disturbing report...there is a man that recently moved into the community, released on parole from prison here, who is brewing his own liquor and selling it to whomever wants it. He sells...over 30 gallons a week (I believe much more, but did not get the exact figure.) The most disturbing part of that is Gender sees kids 10-15 years old stumbling drunk down the road in front of the Church now. It is illegal, but with the man’s past and his threats to do harm to anyone that reports him...it is unclear what will happen, but it is definitely not a good thing for the community in general.
What is good is to see the Church striving forward together despite these recent problems...moving forward in the Gospel. 

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