Saturday, April 30, 2011

Friday Night Bible Study Update

Praise God for his wisdom and leadership! Tonight we talked about what we want to do with the hour after we eat. It was great to see the group brainstorm ideas. Then we talked about leadership and who would lead. I tossed out the idea of rotating the planning and leadership. Alejandro said, "Nancy needs to rest." I wanted to clarify why we were sharing leadership and chimed in, "No, no the reason we would share leadership is because it's time that everyone take a turn and learn how to plan and lead an evening." They were excited about the idea. We drew names for the next Friday and Alejandro's name came up. He says he wants to do something artisitic. Sounds like fun. I'm looking forward to seeing where this leads... I think our Bible Study had hit a humdrum slump so this will certainly pick it up and give everyone a chance to "be in charge". The plan is that Alejandro will meet with me someday this week after school and we will talk about his plan or idea.

Juan, the oldest one in the group at age 30 is the most nervous about leading, but he and I will practice when it is his turn until he feels confident. I think it is going to go well. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Taking a Big Gulp of Modern Civilization

When Sulmi and Kristel got their passports I promised them we would celebrate by going to Mexico for the day. Both of the girls wanted to see a 3-D movie. They had heard about this kind of special effect but hadn't seen one. There's nothing like that here in Belize. We decided to see "Rio". It was wonderful!

Before the movie we walked around the mall and chowed down at McDonald's (also a treat since there are no US chain restaurants in Belize). I grabbed a Mocha Frappuchino...ahhhhh..Heaven.

We stayed til about 4:00 then stopped on the way back to visit with a 14 year old deaf friend, Evelyn, who had lived with us briefly a couple of years ago.

At the preview for the movie there was a trailer for "Kung Fu Panda 2" which opens here June 10. They said, almost in unison, "Can we come back to see Kung Fu Panda in June? :-) Hmmmm. Definitely maybe.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Celebrating the Last Supper

Last Sunday we celebrated Jesus' Last Supper. We distributed the bread and "wine" (grape juice) and then washed each others' feet.

What a wonderful image, so clear and specific..."Now I your Lord and teacher have washed your feet. So also you should wash one anothers feet." (John 13:14). It feels humbling just to perform the task, on your knees, on the hard ground, with someone else's dirty feet in your hands, looking up into their eyes and praying for them with love.

Actually, I find it easier to be the servant, the washer, than the one who is served. Maybe I like being the helper more than the helpee. Yet, this, too, is a lesson for me in humility. To humbly accept service.

When you read the Gospel of John and you come to the part where Jesus ate his last supper with his disciples, you find that John’s “take away” from that last meal together was Jesus’ washing the disciples’ feet. In fact, John doesn’t mention anything about the Passover meal or the symbolism in the bread and wine. His memory from that meal was that the Lord humbled himself and washed the disciples’ feet saying, “I have given you an example. You should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:15)

Please pray that we can learn to be servants to each other, in humility and and love. My heart sings:
Will you let me be your servant?
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the Grace to
Let you be my servant, too.

(words and music by Richard Gillard 1977)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

What's in the Future for our Bible Study?

This is a picture from our Friday Night Bible Study. Everyone is Deaf and they range in age from Kristel (13) to Juan (29). We eat dinner (last night was beans, pulled chicken, canned corn, lettuce and flour tortilla. Some people make burritos, some just eat it the Belize way, tearing off some tortilla with each bite.) Then we pray for each other and Bible study. In the past the Bible study was good because it was a chance to teach the new believers about Jesus and what discipleship means. Now we've added Nicole, who moved to Orange Walk after her grandmother (and caretaker) died and Tien Lee who moved here form Corozal. Reading the Bible is hard for everyone in the group except Kristel, Edgar and Alejandro. With the new additions, the non-readers out number the readers. Using the ASL Bible video tapes doesn't work because the ASL vocabulary is over their heads. It goes too fast, and at least two people in the group are just beginning to learn ASL.

Recently our Bible study was sometimes awkward and other times it felt like I was pushing them. So... I have been praying and asking God what he wants us to do with the group. It is growing in size...they are eager to meet and everyone comes faithfully EVERY Friday night. What do we do besides eat? I have also been praying a lot about leadership training... about developing leaders in our fellowship. I thought maybe it would happen with Bible study but because we have so many non-readers that isn't really happening as part of the Bible study. I always end up leading.

Hmmm... so what's God doing? I've been thinking maybe we should just be a youth group.... a group that meets to enjoy Christian fellowship and pray for each other. Maybe we play a game. Maybe we sing. I think we can rotate the leadership with that kind of idea. In other words... I think next week I can toss the idea on the table, brainstorm with them some things they might like to do with the evening, and create a schedule for rotating the leadership. The leader's job would be to plan what we "do" and bring the necessary materials. If they are stuck, they can come to me and I will help them choose an idea. Is this where God is leading? I think so.

Maybe this is the place and the way they begin to take some responsibility. Isn't it amazing how God leads us to go in a new direction?

Please pray with us that no matter what we "DO" they obtain the ultimate goal: to grow closer to God and want to serve him more and more.