“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV
Our first evening devotional focus came from the above passage in Hebrews 12:1-3. The challenge that Erin and Kierstin brought our group was to fix our eyes on Jesus in all that we do this week. Today we had the opportunity to do just that and have seen him at work in many ways. We joined with our brothers and sisters from the a church in Muna, Mexico to help do some work with them on their village church property. It’s a beautifully simple stick structure with a tin roof, with a concrete structure behind it that is being built as restrooms. Several of the area pastors gladly jumped in to help with the concrete roof that we mixed and poured for the bathrooms. It was neat to see God’s amazing provision of giftedness within in the body of Christ. We were reminded of the ways that God has put us together and each part (1 Corinthians 12) does its work. Our students quickly found a rhythm, and despite the heat and the challenge of the job, we all worked together to hand mix, and lift over 140 buckets of cement to pour the roof that was over 12 feet off the ground.
After the job was finished we had a late afternoon lunch at one of the church members homes that consisted of homemade chicken, rice and tortillas along with some of the hottest and best habanero pepper salsa ever. After lunch we visited the Pastor Raul’s home where we had some time to play a few games as a group and relax for a few minutes before the afternoon church service.
Around 4p we were privelaged to join in on the Thursday afternoon church service which was completely in Spanish, except for the occasional hymn number and scripture reference. It was a beautiful opportunity to see God at work in the rich variety of the church cross-culturally. We started with a few hymns, followed by a time of prayer and a few more hymns from the paper hymnal. Craig Gates, the missionary who is leading us from CMY, preached a sermon from Hebrews 11. As our time together wrapped up several of the church members stepped forward to speak a word of testimony and thank our group for partnering with them to accomplish what was done on the concrete roof that day. The customary greeting at the end of a service is to connect with everyone and speak a word of blessing, which is how we ended our time together.
It was a great, and very full day that was capped by a late dinner at a local Cuban/Mexican restaurant, that was amazing. We all had Cuban sandwiches, and flan to top it all off.
Tomorrow (Friday) will be another work day and a day of preparation for a pastor’s conference that is happening this weekend, so we’re looking forward to seeing how God will use our team in what’s ahead as we continue to fix our eyes on Jesus.