Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sweeping the Lawn & Washing Away the Old Life

When you think about Father's Day you don't usually imagine a trip out to the country for a baptism. This past Father's Day, the San Jeronimo church decided to celebrate a special day - not just for fathers but to honor our heavenly Father, to give thanks for all His blessings and to have some baptisms. We went out to a place a little outside of San Jeronimo called Pata Pata.

When we arrived at the field a sore sight met our eyes. There was trash all over the grass!! I don't know what the people who had been there before thought would happen with their trash. It was disgusting and disappointing!! Never fear!! We were determined to clean up the space and many branches became makeshift brooms. I had to join in with all the sweeping so I went and found a euclyptis branch. I don't know how well my broom worked but with many of us all sweeping the field at once we made a pretty good dent in the trash on the field. It was a frustrating thing to have to clean up someone else's mess but it felt good to be doing something like that. Besides, it's not every day that you get to sweep a field of trash with a branch! (could I help but enjoy myself?)

We had a service out on our swept field. Dawn and some of the other gals of the worship team played guitar and sang. We all sat in a circle in the sun and shade. You could have your choice and with the chillier weather that we've been having, I was loving the warmth of the sun. Pastor Ruben talked about honoring God with our tithes and offerings and I was struck by how the passage in Malachi talks of how God will pour out blessings in abundance. What a beautiful promise!! At the end of the service a blanket was laid out in the middle of our circle and many people came and laid offerings of money and products. My favorite was a lady who came an poured out corn from the blanket that she had been carrying. It was so beautiful to see!

After the service we all took a walk to the stream for the baptism. They tried to find the deepest spot and set to work creating a little pool with some tarps. It was a little hard to find that deep of a spot in the middle of dry season but they made it work! We all sat around on rocks and Pastor Ruben and David baptized about ten people with a gorgeous mountainous vista behind us. The mother of one of my students (Gersón) was baptized along with her mother and two of her brothers. One of her brothers is a paraplyegic and it was so neat to see him lowered into to water for baptism. Little Gersón was a little worried about his mom and when she came out the water he asked: "Mom, are you okay?"

After the baptism we came back to the lawn that was already filled with lots of other people (not with the church) playing volleyball, soccer, grilling and eating. We all sat down and ate our lunches. Dawn and I brought the typical North American lunch: sandwiches, fruit and fresh raw veggies. I'm sure the Peruvians wondered _what_ kind of lunch we were having but they sure loved our Ranch dressing. Many of them brought big meals of potatoes and chicken and etc. I don't know how they do it but kudos to them for the effort. Dawn and I slaved reaaaaaaalllyyy long on our lunch after all!!! hee hee....

Anyway, it was a beautiful day to celebrate the Lord's goodness, to honor him with our gifts and to perform an act of public acknowledgement of faith in a frigid mountain stream!!!

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