We climbed in a taxi at 7:30 am this morning to go to church. The message spoken by Pastor Marlon is what stands out to me even now. He spoke on reaching our communities and taking on the very nature of God. His message dug through Romans 1:1-7 and really touched my heart. His message made me think, “Do others see God’s own nature of holiness through me?” He made a cultural reference to how people here might excuse their behavior by popping off the popular phrase, “I am a Christian, I ain’t no saint!” and called us all to not just be Christians – but saints. I have never thought of it this way, but God is calling us to strive for His holiness! We are His Saints and when we choose to take on God’s nature of holiness then we can reach our communities. Our communities, which can be where we work, live or meet up with others, need us, the saints, to share the love of Jesus!
One thing I never saw in Sunday morning service before was the use of a visual object lesson. However today Pastor Marlon brought out a jar of olives and poured them on a tray. As he spoke about how olives were symbolic in Biblical times he began crushing each olive with his fingers. Then a person brought him a bottle of virgin olive oil and another bottle of extra virgin olive oil. He used this illustration to tie together how holiness is a process of transformation that takes place in difficult times or times when we are “crushed.” As Angie, Amber and I sat around talking about this tonight we realized how this message has left a lasting impression on us.
We also talked through some things that were culturally different as we worshiped with fellow Christians at Vreedenhoop Wesleyan this morning. Here’s a few….
· No time restrictions – service flowed for three and a half hours.
· Children of all ages were in service with their families and contained themselves the entire time.
· Sunday School was at the end of service with classes divided in different corners of the sanctuary.
· Everyone is dressed up in what we would say in our culture is a more traditional attire.
· An altar call was offered at the end and three people came into a relationship with Christ while many others responded to a call of holiness lifestyle. Those responding were then anointed with the olive oil.
· Visitors were asked to stand and be recognized and welcomed into the fellowship and we were greeted warmly and felt very comfortable – not out of place at all.
[Written by Sydney]
Farewell Surprise Lunch
There have been so many things that have happened today that has stuck out in my mind. But one that has stuck out the most was what I walked into tonight. Tonight when we got back from the Children’s Home we wound up sitting downstairs in the living room talking. Then it hit me that I was sitting in a room with four full time missionary’s here in Guyana. There is three of us upstairs (Sydney, Angie, and Amber and there are three more missionary’s living downstairs. Those downstairs all live in the interior part of Guyana full-time.
One of those full-time interior missionaries is Doris and she has been in Guyana as a missionary since she was 22 years old. Tomorrow May 28th will be her last day in Guyana because she is retiring and moving back to the States. The more I sat there and thought about what I was witnessing I had this overwhelming feeling that I was truly blessed to be a part of the conversations taking place this night. I feel so honored to get to know these wonderful women who gave up everything at home to come serve the Lord in a third world county. Doris has served for over 40 years and lived in a remote village learning their culture and language to translate the bible for these people. So because of her hard work and dedication to serving the Lord these people now have the bible in their own language! While we were talking tonight she said “I can leave tomorrow knowing I worked hard, and did all I could, and I’m going home with no regrets.” That just blows my mind to sit here and think that Doris was only two years older than I am now when she moved her life to Guyana to serve the Lord. There is no better place to be other than the center of Gods will, and I know I’m right in the middle of his will for my life.
[Written by Amber]