Today has been a very special day. We had to leave very early again because of the traffic. I am amazed that anyone survives the traffic here. Driving in this country is a true art form. This morning Mrs. Martha made the biggest ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches I have ever seen in my life. They were baked in the oven and topped with fresh lettuce. Between the breakfast’s here and the Salvadoran coffee, I am pretty sure I could conquer the world. Or at least I feel that way.
Today was the second and final day with the pastors at Miramonte Baptist Church. It was such a special and powerful day. We covered the book of Acts and the New Testament Epistles. We had great doctrinal discussions. The pastors had such great questions and comments and testimonies to share. One young man shared that he could not be ordained until he was married. He felt that his church was urging him to get married. We talked about the practical advantages that a spouse brings to ministry, but we looked at the life of Paul and encouraged him of the great work God could do through him whether married or single.
We heard from even more pastors and wives who were being restricted from taking the Lord’s supper for various unbiblical reasons. These people have suffered at the hands of false teachers. But I praise God that these pastors and wives and leaders are hungry enough for the Word that they can recognize false teaching and they are taking a stand for the Word.
One young pastor that is in his first year as a pastor, was taught by the church he grew up in that every time he sins he loses his salvation. He had been told that salvation was only for the sins he had committed in the past. So, we spent a couple of hours in the book of Romans. This group of pastors worked together to help this young pastor come to a knowledge of the truth. We searched and studied the Scriptures together and the look of total relief on his face needed no translation. Watching this young man come to trust what he learned in the Scriptures, watching him finally understand the peace that we have in Christ, was powerful to say the least. And even greater still is the fact that this young man is about to go back to his church and preach the eternal salvation that comes by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone. By the power of the Holy Spirit, people in his church will hear the true Gospel of Christ for the first time.
At the end of the class I had the great honor of serving these pastors communion. Some of them were receiving communion for the very first time in their lives. Again, I needed no translator to see what was going on in their hearts. They were overcome. It isn’t that communion is some magical thing, but it is a great privilege and blessing for believers. In communion we remember Christ and we share in the community and unity of the body of Christ. These pastors had never experienced this before. It was awesome.
After the class we presented Bibles, Macarthur Study Bibles, and some other resources to the pastors and leaders. You could tell they were so excited to have these great resources. I am sure they will all be put to good use in their churches and ministries.
I almost forgot to talk about lunch… This is the best lunch yet! Mrs. Martha truly outdid herself. I do not know how she manages to cook such good meals for all of these pastors. Rosmery says that Mrs. Martha is diligent in the kitchen. I believe her. We had pan seared steak and onions, rice, pico, and of course homemade tortillas. It was a challenge to get up and teach after this lunch. My body kept screaming, “nap!”
After the class was over we headed home. Tomorrow morning I will start this class over from the beginning with a new group of pastors out in the district of Soyapango. I am excited to meet these new pastors and hear their stories and testimonies. I can’t wait to see what God has in store.
Dinner tonight was meatballs and rice with beans and salad. I was able to rest for a few minutes before dinner and then we were off to teach the leaders class at Trinity Baptist Church. There is no Day Light Savings Time here in El Salvador so it is dark around 6:00 PM. It reminds me of winter in the States, except it is intensely hot and humid here.
The leaders class went well. It is challenging to switch gears from teaching pastors to teaching lay-leaders. I am constantly thankful for Pastor Ed. He knows these people and he can tell if they don’t understand something. He is always good to give further explanation so that everyone understands. This is extremely helpful because sometimes things can get lost in translation.
Tonight, for example, there was a question from one of the young men about the ending of the Gospel of Mark. This is a difficult passage. It talks about handling snakes and drinking poison among other things. This young man had never studied this passage before and wanted to know if Christians can do these things. This is a difficult question to appropriately answer in English, it is made much more difficult with a language barrier. But with Pastor Ed’s patient and wise help we were able to answer this young man’s question biblically so that he can have clarity.
I am finding more and more that a good translator is not just someone who has a knowledge of both languages. A good translator is someone who also has knowledge about the subject that you are speaking on/about. Rosmery and Pastor Ed are both very knowledgeable and so they can help translate difficult theological words or concepts that would otherwise be hard to translate into Spanish. Needless to say, this wouldn’t work without them.
I have to share that Pastor Ed and Rosmery have been laughing at me because I keep four dollar coins in my pocket at all times. These are just in case we stop at a Papusa stand. They may laugh, but you have to be prepared.
Martha’s brother Kiki is doing much better. They have him on medicine that is working and he is improving greatly. Thank you all for your prayers for him. Pastor Oscar (the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church) lost a family member today. I know it is hard for his family. Please be in prayer for him and for his family. Please pray for the pastors that left today to return to their churches and communities. Pray that God will continue to use what they have learned and studied these two days to impact their ministries and churches. Pray for the new group of pastors that will begin the class tomorrow morning in Soyapanga. Pray for Katie and the kids. I miss them and I hate not being there for them.
Thank you all for your prayers and for your words of encouragement. I love you all very much and I look forward to being with you again soon.