|Our team, Dennis (far left), Pastor Juan Carlos and his wife.|
Amy Kuntz is the sister of Dave and she is on the trip with us. Amy is a great writer and Dave and I asked her to write the update for today. Here it is, enjoy!
This morning we piled into our fifteen-passenger van and crossed the border from Texas into Mexico just like we have the past two mornings. But today our agenda wasn’t to gather children in preparation for kid’s club or to strap on tool belts to mud and tape drywall. This morning as we walked through the doors of Iglesias Baptista Acuna we were greeted with the sounds of worship music playing and smiling faces extending hands of welcome as locals gathered for their Sunday church service. We took our seats front and center as we waited with much anticipation and some curiosity about what the next couple of hours would bring. As the praise team took the stage and began singing songs in Spanish a very powerful thing happened. The Spirit of God crossed barriers. Language. Cultural. Comfort level. There we were smack dab in the middle of a room full of people we couldn’t understand. Singing songs of praise in a language we didn’t speak. The songs lyrics flashed across a screen overhead and every now and then an easily recognizable word like hallelujah, holy, freedom, and Christ is Lord would give us an aha moment. It was just enough insight into the passionate praise we saw demonstrated around us as young girls danced with ribbons at the front of the stage and women gathered in the aisles with tambourines. Voices, hands, hearts and instruments were lifted in sincere adoration to Jesus Christo. Different language. Different culture. Different styles. Same God.
As the praise music ended, Pastor Juan Carlos took the stage and began to preach in Spanish. His text for the sermon appeared on the screen. The only part I could read was the reference. As I turned to 2 Corinthians I was especially thankful for my English Bible and prayed that the Spirit would teach through Pastor Juan and through His Word. Do you ever come across passages of Scripture you know you have read before, but perhaps haven’t seen? I mean like really seen. As the Pastor spoke on being content where you are and living a life of thanks expressed through action, I found myself stuck on this one verse found in Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth.
I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. 2 Corinthians 12:15
We do a lot of spending in the American culture. We spend our money, time, thoughts, attention, energy and on and on. We are in the business of spending and our spending does in fact keep us busy. But I think the really challenge here from Paul is do we “spend” on what matters, ultimately people’s souls? And do we do so “most gladly”? It’s often times easier to gladly spend and be spent for souls when we are on mission trips. I mean isn’t that ultimately why we are here? Of course we are going to do that. Seven days. Check. Going home. But if we shrink our lives and our mission down to that we are missing it. Jesus came for more, He died for more and the abundant life in Christ offers us more.
So our mission here reminds us of our ultimate mission at home, to reach beyond the barriers of culture and comfort level. To intentionally spend ourselves on the things that last and to do so gladly for the souls of those the Lord has placed in our path today.
We are so grateful to you for your prayers towards us as we minister in Acuna. Tomorrow we return to kid’s club and construction. We have two full days of ministry left. Please pray for strength, rest and the health of the team and for the gospel to continue to go forth in all of our efforts here. We are thrilled at the relationships the Lord is allowing us to build this week and we can’t wait to see what future ministry will look like here.
Blessings to you today.