This past Sunday Carlos and I had the privilege of preaching the Word of God at our church. I spoke in English, he translated into Spanish. Across languages and cultures, we served our Lord together.
|getting ready before worship begins|
Our worship services here always begin with a time of praise. When we have U.S. students, our church sings in both English and Spanish. To me, it is a tiny taste of Heaven when all languages will be together praising God before His throne.
Even when we don’t understand all the words, we sense the Holy Spirit present with us, and we move into deeper fellowship through Him. Holy, Holy, Holy! Santo, Santo, Santo!
My current favorite song is called Oceans by Hillsong United. Yesterday was the first time I’ve sung it in English which was harder than you might think! It’s a funny thing that I know the words in Spanish, but fumbled around with my own language.
I remember in our missionary training learning that in cross-cultural ministry you lose a part of who you were, but gain something else. Not 100% North American anymore, yet still not close to 100% Dominican. I’m less, yet more.
|Pastor Paulino introducing us|
We felt the Holy Spirit lead us to speak about blessings, but not just any blessings. Those ‘unwelcome’ blessings when it seems we are being cursed instead. We contrasted the story of the woman caught in adultery who deserved death yet was spared (John 8:1-11) with Stephen, who didn’t deserve to die yet was stoned to death (Acts 7:54-60).
Why would God allow him to be killed when he was doing mighty works and astounding miracles in Jesus’ name?
In the first verses of Acts 8 we read that following Stephen’s death, a great persecution broke out against the believers which scattered the majority of them out into Judea and Samaria. If there had been no persecution, no scattering, perhaps the church would have stayed put… and 2,000 years later, we would not be gathered together on an island the disciples didn’t know existed, praising our Triune God in languages they had never heard.
|sharing the Word across languages & cultures|
I demonstrated by ducking behind Carlos. Which of us can see to drive? But, how often am I like that child, wanting to be in control? What if we’re not going as fast as I’d like? I complain – but I cannot see the big truck in front. Sometimes the moto swerves, and I complain that I don’t like the motion. But, I’m not seeing the hole in the road.
What happens if the child tries to grab the handlebars out of his parent’s hands and steer with limited vision? Will it end well? But, isn’t that me so many times?
After the service both American students and Dominican church members told us that our words (God’s words!) had been a blessing. It is humbling and rewarding to be used by our Father. Carlos and I don’t know what our future ministry might be, but we do know that when we work together, something amazing happens. That is the Holy Spirit in and among us.
|this was actually a double rainbow yesterday.|
A reminder that our Amazing God will never
leave us nor forsake us!