Monday, December 5, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I set my alarm for 6, and set my coat and glasses out, and then failed to get up. Ah, the struggle every single time.

We ate breakfast and had devotions, and what the other girls shared was really good. I shared Psalm 45:10-11. “Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house. So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.” I explained it was one of the passages God has used to call me to missions. It was just a short contribution from each person.

D brought the Bible A had given her, but didn’t share anything. No one said anything about it. They know she barely speaks Spanish and doesn’t really read it, so they allowed it to pass without incident.

We got in the vans to go to church. I was assigned to the kitchen with M and D, and when we got there, D pulled me aside into the bathroom.

“Rebekah,” she whispered, “I Catholic.”

I could see there was some kind of deeper suffering going on than what met the eye/ear, so I merely listened sympathetically.

D held her palm horizontal at a little child’s height and said, “Me, small, Catholic.” She raised her had a little higher from the ground and said, “Me, bigger, Catholic.” Several more times, she raised her hand a little higher up to an adult’s height and said, “All the life, Catholic. Family, Catholic. Country, Catholic. Bible, no. I believe Jesus, Maria, King.”

I looked her in the eyes and said, “D, we’re not here to make you change your religion.” (Because it isn’t about a religion, it’s about a relationship.) “We’re here to offer you an encounter with God. God alone is the one who can give you the power to stop drinking. We can’t do that. God can. Only have your heart open to God and obey Him.”

I gave her a hug and said I was here for her and cared about her.

The hard thing is, she doesn’t understand Spanish well enough for me to explain the gospel to her, or explain that we’re not trying to get her to go against her conscience, or explain that Catholics can read the Bible, too, without doing any violence to their faith. Somewhere she got this idea deeply ingrained in her, and if she rejected the advance of people in her own country trying to approach her with the Bible, it will be that much harder with the language barrier.

A few days earlier, she had spoken to me about “Jesus, Maria, and King,” and I had asked her, “Yes, but who is able to give you power to change?” She didn’t understand my question at all. Another time, I was trying to explain that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins, and she didn’t understand that, either. She didn’t understand “save,” “rescue,” “deliver,” or any other words I could think of, even when I acted out a little guy walking (my fingers) and falling off a cliff and something (my other hand) swooping in to “save” him in midair. She got so confused by the meaning of the words “save” and “danger” that the conversation just got lost.

So all I can do is pray. She has a Bible, but she couldn’t understand it if she would read it, and she wouldn’t read it even if it was in Polish.

Elliott Tepper, founder of Betel, preached a great message on Sunday on Romans 10:20: “I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.” I have been holding onto that thought for these girls. When they come here, they’re not seeking God. They just want freedom from the alcohol or drugs that hold them bound. But SO many of them find God, from whom they have been fleeing all their lives and whom they would naturally have gone on living without.

In the kitchen at the church, we made fried fish and mashed potatoes with cooked kale (or swiss chard? Or collard greens? Whatever acelgas is.)

After lunch, I got a little chance to get on my computer and update my blog and read my email.

Then it was time to go back to work. We cleaned up the kitchen and then had a women’s service, which they have at the church every Tuesday evening.

We went home and ate supper and showered. At 10:00, we all gathered in the salon for a play practice. The girls are putting together a skit for New Year’s Eve, and this was our first read-through. I am going to be in it as a 22-year-old student who is double majoring and is full of the cares of this world and speaks to her Christian neighbor. The theme of the play is Matthew 6:25-32, “Take no thought…” Carmen wrote the play.

We also drew names for a “secret pal” gift exchange at Christmas. Starting now, we can give our secret pal gifts and notes as often as we wish, but we will also have one special gift that we give on Dec. 25. My secret pal is C. Last Wednesday, when we worked together, we stopped at that Mercadona to look at the cologne, and while we were there, she happened to point out a facial cream that she likes a lot. I hope I can remember what it is to give it to her. I think I’ll recognize it if I see it again.

Oh! A brought a keyboard from the church! J So now I can begin to play for our morning devotions. Happiness!!

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First Post: My first day

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