Monday, February 29, 2016

San Jose, Impressing by Impressions

Ministerios de Gracia Mayor, Third Anniversary
I promised to name names.  Not based on our starting picture.  That's from the San Jose church's third anniversary.  No, I haven't met all of them, yet.  But I will.  I threatened to name some names. Let's get to that.  And my impressions.

1 Peter 4:9 (AMP)  Practice hospitality to one another (those of the household of faith). [Be hospitable, be a lover of strangers, with brotherly affection for the unknown guests, the foreigners, the poor, and all others who come your way who are of Christ's body.] And [in each instance] do it ungrudgingly (cordially and graciously, without complaining but as representing Him).

Dominick translating for Brent
Brent's wife, Lucy made sure I knew I was a welcome guest.  Each of us has their own gifts and talents. Hospitality is obviously one of Lucy's gifts.  She loves people and knows how to be a friend.

Then there's Dominick, the church worship leader. He's American, married to a sweet Costa Rican young lady. Dominick is at least as fluent in Spanish as Pastor Mike.  Which has Dominick sometimes being the translator in church.  And, most importantly, he's hungry for the Word.  He's taking online courses from Maryland Bible College & Seminary, in Baltimore.  And we pretty quickly got into some Bible discussions that made me realize I need to do some refresher study. You know which verse that last part reminded me of:

Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV)  As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

Dominick challenged me in a good way.  So did his wife, Tracey.  Tracey is a "tica", a native Costa Rican.  And her Spanish is notably better than her English.  My English is very good, my Spanish needs a lot of work.  So, there were times when we just enjoyed each other's company in silence. Mostly when, out of frustration with myself, I gave up trying to communicate something I didn't have the vocabulary for, yet. But the real challenge was her heart for souls.  Not that I felt a change of heart or a need to perform. But there's something special about being around an avid soul winner, when you're on outreach. Tracey made it even more fun to be there.

Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV)  A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Sergio (green tee) and Jose next to him,
in the back row of the side section
That verse fits how Dominick and I hit it off, almost immediately.  And the same was true when I got to talk to Sergio.  We now joke about being "brothers from another mother".  If you think that sounds like a weird idea, try saying it in Spanish.  LOL  Sergio is bilingual and, like Dominick, sometimes does translation in services.  And he's quickly become a dear friend.

Hebrews 13:16 (NKJV)  But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Jose could be called the church's IT department.  Jose Grew up in the US and is another bilingual church member.  He and I didn't get to know each other as quickly, because of schedules.  But I think we eventually hit on Proverbs 18, too.

If you recall your high school literature class, The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas actually had four musketeers, with d'Artagnan becoming the fourth toward the end of the book.  I was our group's d'Artagnan.  

Or, there's a Venn diagram.  You know.  A bunch of circles that overlap each other.  Each has an area all to itself, then areas where it overlaps another circle, and one area where all the circles overlap.  It was kind of how I saw God working with the four of us.  Each having gifts and responsibilities that were separate from the others.  And each having areas that overlapped one another.  And, finally, a place where we all intersected and overlapped -- where we made each other stronger by what we contributed to all the others.  And by the things of God we brought to each other.

Matthew 18:20 (NKJV)  For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.

The Cross in our San Jose church
Pastor Mike, Sue, Brent, Lucy, and I have all known each other for a long time.  We've also had the same teaching in the same ministry for a very long time. Between spending lots of time with Pastor Mike at our International Convention, last summer, and spending lots of time with him and Brent during my visit, we knew we could work well together.  Add in the four musketeers and I was sure God had something interesting planned for me.

I was certain, by the end of the first week, that God had drawn me to San Jose.  And I openly said so.  But I also knew that I've had times I thought I was listening to God, when what I was really hearing were my own desires.

As time went along, I wanted to be in San Jose more and more.  So, even though I hadn't misread God's thoughts in a very long time, I really didn't want to talk about me moving there till I was certain I was hearing from God and not my own ideas.

There were a number of things that "sealed the deal".  There was the joy being out together on the various outreaches.  There was how well I and the entire church team seemed to mesh.  But there was more.  The portion of the Body of Christ that is Ministerios de Gracia Mayor is special.  So many made sure I knew I was part of that Body.  And invited me to visit some of their homes, not if I came back, but when.  They were certain before I was that I was being called there by God.

I can tend to be cautious about assuming what I want is God's will.  Not like Gideon putting out a fleece in Judges 6.  I certainly wasn't asking God for specific signs.  But I did want to be sure I really was hearing from Him.  Yes, I'm certain of that, now.  To the point where I finally understand how others could leave homebase for other places.  Baltimore still has my pastor and gazillions of truly amazing friends in the Lord.  But, in a very short span of time, I have cemented relationships with both the team and the Body, and San Jose feels like home.

I've talked to my pastor and I've filled out the initial form for our missions department.  I should hear back from them this week.  There are other, practical details, some financial, some medical, and some organizational.  I'm whittling away at those, trusting God to open doors.  While this is the final post in my series about my initial trip to San Jose, I will include progress updates in future posts. In the meantime, I'll take prayers and any other support God leads you to do.  Are you ready to pray and hear from God?

1 comment:

  1. You like it really? Brent and Sue were my parent's names lol.