Finally… Papusas! Last night for dinner I was finally introduced to El Salvador’s signature dish. Papusas are fried tortillas stuffed with all sorts of delicious things. Mrs. Martha made Papusas with beans and cheese and some with chicken and cheese. They were out of this world good. I hear they have bacon and chorizo Papusas. There will be more Papusas before I leave. That is for sure.
Today has been wonderful and exhausting at the same time. I am humbled and amazed at how hard these pastors and leaders work for their churches and ministries. Pastor Ed is full of energy. His energy and passion remind me of Alan Morris.
This morning we had the kind of breakfast that sticks with you throughout the day. We ate a dish of rice and beans that are blended together. I do not remember the Spanish word but Rosmery said it means “Marriage.” This is because of the black beans and the white rice. These are the colors of a wedding. Whatever the meaning, beans and rice for breakfast, with eggs, fried plantains, and fresh bread is the kind of breakfast that carries you through the day.
We had to leave the house at 7am. Traffic is very bad in the mornings in El Salvador. But as bad as the traffic is, it is still not as bad as the traffic into Atlanta on I-75. Nothing compares to that.
The classes are held at Miramonte Iglesia Bautista. This is essentially the equivalent to an American “Mega-Church.” It is a very large church that has its own school and college. The pastors in this class are wonderful and diverse. There are some who have been pastors for many years and there are some who are just getting started and have been in the ministry less than a year. Some of the pastors brought their wives with them. There is such a hunger for the Word. As we began the class, I asked the pastors to share their greatest passion in ministry and their greatest challenge in ministry. It was so interesting to hear these pastors’ passion for God, for preaching and teaching the Word, for ministering to their communities. It was also very interesting to find that their challenges in ministry are not unlike the ones we face in the United States. Many of them are struggling to reach teens and young adults. Many of them are in communities that suffer from poverty and violence. Many of them are struggling to reach their communities effectively. It was encouraging to share with and hear from other pastors. Being here makes me ever more thankful for the community of pastors that I fellowship with on a weekly basis. I have pastors that I trust, that I can meet for lunch, that I can learn from, that I can grow with. Most of these pastors have traveled hours to be here. Most of them are pastoring in places where there are no other pastors with which to fellowship. I can see how much they enjoy just talking with other pastors who share in their passions and in their struggles.
We had excellent conversations throughout the day. It is a joy to hear from these pastors and to discuss the New Testament with them.
I taught the first half of the New Testament Class today. I will teach the rest tomorrow. Then Wednesday and Thursday I will teach the class again to a different group of pastors.
We came home around 4:30 PM. We would have a short time to rest before we would leave at 6:00 PM for Trinity Baptist Church. My feet needed rest. For dinner we had Spaghetti and avocado and coffee.
We arrived at Trinity Baptist Church at 6:30 PM. At nights I am teaching New Testament to a group of lay-leaders and teachers in the church. There were around thirty leaders for our class tonight. It is very different teaching pastors and lay-leaders. But I enjoyed their questions and their comments. Tonight we talked about the four Gospel accounts. It was a lot of information to fit into only a few hours. I am constantly encouraged by the passion these people have for the Word. They are hungry to learn and to grow. Their questions challenge me to dig deeper. I am thankful for them and I feel so blessed to be able to teach them the Word.
Tonight I met the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, Oscar. He was very kind and you can tell his people love him. He mentioned that he wants to take me to eat Papusas on Thursday. Apparently he knows a place that makes mucho grande Papusas. I certainly won’t be turning that invitation down.
There are two pastors that I want you to pray for. They have been raised in an extreme form of Pentecostalism. They have never been allowed to take communion. It is a big deal for them to be studying the Bible and taking Bible classes. Tomorrow we are going to serve them communion for the first time in their lives. Pray that God will give them the strength to stand on His Word. Pray that God would equip them as pastors to blaze a new trail. Pray that they would continue to seek God’s Word as their guide.
Please also pray for a precious woman who is battling drug addiction. She is struggling and needs our prayers.
Continue to pray for Martha’s brother, Kiki.
Please pray that God would continue to bless the time of teaching we have left.
I thank you all for your prayers. I love you all.