El Salvador: Day Five

Today has been the most challenging day so far. The fatigue is certainly setting in and every day that I am away from my family gets more and more difficult. I think it is also difficult to start over with a new group of pastors. I was just starting to get to know the other pastors and leaving them yesterday seemed premature. I wish that I could have had more time with them. But I am getting ahead of myself.

This morning Mrs. Martha surprised me by making Papusas for breakfast! I think this is the biggest breakfast I have ever eaten. In fact, I probably didn’t need any other meals after this breakfast. We had eggs with chiles, rice and beans, and Papusas with pickled cabbage and salsa. I can already tell that I am going to miss Papusas a lot. And I do not think they could be replicated in the states.

This morning we drove to the district of Soyapango to the Baptist Tabernacle El Camino. This is where I preached on Sunday night. Tomorrow is El Salvador’s independence day and so many roads were closed. The traffic was really heavy and it took some of the pastors till lunchtime to get to the church. We started the class with the pastors that were there.

These pastors are more mature and experienced than the last group of pastors. It is more intimidating when you are teaching a group of older pastors. Again, I feel so insufficient. This group of pastors present a new group of challenges to teaching through the New Testament. With the last group of pastors there were a lot of new pastors who were hungry to learn the truth of the Word. They were very teachable and were eager to learn new things. A few of the pastors in this new group, however, have sat under years of false teaching and have been impacted by very unbiblical ideology brought here by missionaries from other countries. Because they are older and have been pastors for a long time they are more resistant to learning and changing. Studying through Acts there was a lot of discussion about speaking in tongues and the other miraculous gifts of the Spirit. Pentecostalism was brought here by missionaries from America, Korea, Brazil, and other countries. Many of the churches and pastors are highly influenced by this poor theology. They are taught that they can lose their salvation, they are taught that true Christians must demonstrate these “miraculous gifts.” They are taught a lot of things that are not in the Bible.

I think that some of these pastors are attending this class to have their beliefs reaffirmed. So there has been a lot of discussion. I am thankful for the help of Pastor Ed. He helps to cross the cultural barrier that can so often be a hindrance. He has a pastor’s heart and communicates in a way that brings people together. At the same time, he is firm in his adherence to the Scriptures. These people are blessed to have Pastor Ed serving them in this ministry. I also experience with a new translator today named Faltima. It is funny how you get used to using a certain translator. I have gotten very used to Rosmery and Pastor Ed. You get into a rhythm. It is interesting when you switch to a translator that you haven’t used before.

For lunch we had chicken, rice, salad, and tortillas. We also had lots of coffee and sweetbreads. After the class we came home for a rest before the class at Trinity.

The class at Trinity tonight was one of the best we have had. I guess things run a bit smoother when you teach it for the third time. I am so encouraged by the people at Trinity. These are lay-leaders, some of them teens, who are hungry to grow in the word. Seeing their passion for the Word makes me want to be a better teacher and pastor. They ask some great questions. This was the class that was the greatest challenge in the beginning, but now it has become my favorite two hours of the day.

After the class at Trinity we went out to eat in San Salvador. I love Pastor Ed and his family. Their love for each other is so evident. The place we went to eat was awesome. I had a dish that had grilled steak and two grilled chorizo sausages, salad, salsa, tortillas, and rice and beans. I am finding that rice, beans, and tortillas are a must for every meal, everywhere you go in El Salvador. Pastor Ed, Mrs. Martha, Veronica, Rosmery, and Stephanie all got these drinks made from fruits and vegetables from El Salvador. I tried a few of them. I think I am glad I got a Coke instead.

Tomorrow will be my last day of teaching in El Salvador (For this trip anyway). Though I will be sad that it is over, I will so happy to get home to my wife and children. I miss them tremendously. And as much as I will miss these pastors and leaders, I miss my church family in Waleska, and I am so looking forward to being back with them.

Please pray that tomorrows classes will go well and that I will have the energy to finish the week strong. Pray for these pastors and for the leaders at Trinity Baptist Church. Pray for Pastor Ed, Mrs. Martha, Veronica, Rosmery, and Stephanie.

Thank you for your prayers. I look forward to seeing you all soon.