Feasting with friends

friends

I am so thankful for the time I had over the last week in La Acequia Honduras. In telling the story of our time there the words “Friends at the Table” resound in my heart. We were able to be a part of many things happening throughout the week and accomplished work their but primarily we were going to listen.

We were going to listen to God and listen to our friends. God is already at work in Honduras, just as he is already at work all over the world. God doesn’t need us to accomplish his plans he wants to use us as part of his plan, both to minister to others and to do a work in us.

This last week God brought me to a feeling of safety in a place at times is very unsafe. He revealed himself to me through people with warm hearts and open homes. In our short stay we were invited into nine homes for meals, coffee, laughter, and deep conversation. Some people with very little realized that God had blessed them to be a blessing, and they shared what they had with strangers. They not only opened their homes but their hearts. They shared their struggles, dreams, and fears with us, and how they trusted in God for everything.

During the days we were able to experience their world first hand, hearing stories about crime and violence and one day experiencing it first hand. We felt the uncertainty of not knowing if our friends were safe while gun shots rang out near by. At night at the table we heard the concerns of mothers for their children, and the uncertainty of fathers for the future.

We also were able to offer different points of view to challenges they revealed. The water is better than it was, but their is uncertainty about the sustainability of the current source. New pipe is needed but with the cost for that and the distance from the source perhaps a better solution is a well there in the town. It was great to sit and listen and brainstorm. Because the main project was relationship building we had time to go deep and to bond with one another.

Through relationships our leader Johnny had already formed we were able to acquire two boxes of medicine for the clinic that had none, and thankfully now every two weeks the Pastor, Alex will be able to check in for more. We also had the opportunity to witness a young man named Victor come to Christ at the weekly men’s gathering on the soccer field. A main priority was established to drill a well their because “Agua es Vida” and more than any other project in the town clean water is necessary for the lives of the people there and having a sustainable source for the future is vitally important.

In the midst of everything we had such joy. The three of us that went have very different personalities and varying abilities to communicate in Spanish. However we are all wired for relating to others, and engaging in relationships. There was not a meal or conversation that we were in that did not contain deep heart warming laughter.

In one week I grew to a depth of relationship with the people there that surprised me. Coming back felt like leaving family. Their world view changed me, how I look at community, ministry, my own struggles, and my life. I’m grateful for the opportunity to get to know brothers and sisters in Christ on another part of the planet and for the impact they had on me. I’m also hopeful and inspired to continue working with the people there in Honduras as well as Spanish speakers here in State College.



This Fall has been fruitful

tim baptism

This fall has been fruitful! God is moving and lives are being changed. I have never enjoyed work so much in my life as I am now. I have been able to use my talents while doing what I am passionate about. I am using my skills in management while serving people and being able to go deep in relationships. On a logistical side I have been able to help organize the lobby and implement actions to better utilize our space and help the flow of services based on feedback from consultants Pastor Steve brought in. On a personal level we have been blessed to connect over 60 new people to life groups this fall, and have performed 13 baptisms in the past two months, two of which were men from my men’s group.

This last weekend characterizes my work at Calvary really well. As Director of Operations for Sunday services it was my job to organize and prepare for baptisms this week. We meet in a theatre so there is no baptismal. Tim and I brought a large watering trough to the theatre on Saturday and filled it with water. On Sunday I set up the lobby, checked on various volunteers from lights and sound to kids connection. Then during the service I helped Baptize Tim a member of my men’s group. I thought it would be great to let you hear about Tim in his own words:

 

“My name is Tim Palmer and I and God has radically changed me from the man I was to the man I am today. I grew up in a Christian home and knew in my head all the things of God but I never really knew God. My dad was a preacher and I just played along with church when deep down I wanted nothing to do with it ! In 2010 I graduated high school and started rodeoing and training horses full time. God was the last thing on my mind and I took every opportunity I had to live that crazy cowboy life. Amazingly God allowed me to be very successful in rodeo and I went pro in 2012 and made it all the way to the national circuit finals my first year in the bareback bronco riding! I continued to think I was all that and party away my life! In 2013 I was doing great till I got kicked and compound fractured my left tibia ” shin bone” that stopped everything! I lost my job, my career, everything! But still God never gave up on me! I looked back at my life and I realized I had nothing in myself! I had won thousands of dollars, had story’s and trophy buckles but I was lost in my self! Through a series of events I came to visit Calvary not even knowing why I was there but God showed up! I went to visit a Jordan’s small group and God tore me apart and showed me he is all I need! I gave my life to Him and I’m a changed man!! There is no gold buckle or party that had given me the peace and joy and love that God has! I can’t even describe the difference other then life changing! I’m set free from my past, I’m a Son of God and now I Ride 4 Him!!!”

It is such a joy to be a part of God’s work here in State College while preparing for future work in ministry. Based on my performance in my two classes this semester I am taking on a full load in the spring semester so that I can finish seminary in two years.  I am planning on going on a missions trip to Honduras with my mentor Johnny Pons. My goal for the Men’s group is to plant a second group by summer so we can reach more men.