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Sunday, Day 9
The Lord’s Day began with coffee and breakfast, as well as my cherished quiet time with my Savior. I also warmed up my singing voice by singing several songs from the hymnal. Kawal had told me he wanted me to sing for the service, so I prayed much about which song to sing, and decided on “Be Strong in the Lord.” (I should have prepared before we came to Trinidad, but the thought had not crossed my mind.) I sang a capella, as there is no instrument here. It wouldn’t matter if there were one, for no one knows how to play. I wish I had brought my guitar. We could have checked it for only $35 (each way). But the voice is also an instrument, and I will use it to praise my Lord. (I learned later that someone at Andy’s church plays guitar, and that I could have borrowed theirs.)
One of the men in the church led the congregational singing. I didn’t catch his name. Kawal gave the announcements, and Andy preached.
Oh, it was a good message! It came from Ephesians 2:11-22 and was titled, “Thank God for the Blood.” The blood of Christ rescued us, reconciled us, and redeemed us. It erased my history. God doesn’t remember my past sins, so why should I?
At the close of the service, we gathered everyone together for a photo, then enjoyed fellowship for a bit before disbanding. We had dinner at the house, served by Kay, Rachel, and Sandy. Grace stopped by briefly, between the rain showers, but we did not see Rebekah. I was saddened by her absence, but I understood.
The food was delicious. We had stewed pork and curried chicken, garlic bread, macaroni pie (baked mac n cheese), seasoned rice, mixed vegetables that did not include green beans ☺, and a Trini Sunday tradition called Call-ah-loo (spinach soup). I loved it. Pat, not so much. It was very similar to my THM creamy collagen spinach, for it was made with pureed okra.
After dinner we retreated to the living room with Rachel and talked about work and the pros and cons of labor unions while Kay and Sandy cleaned the kitchen. I had helped clear the table by gathering the dirty dishes, but I didn’t feel as though it was enough. It was a joy to see how much Kawal and little Jordan enjoy each other. They were best buddies.
When the time was right, we returned to the church and lay down for a nap. I slept hard, suddenly feeling very tired. We were ready for the evening service by 5:30, a half hour early, and we relocated to the sanctuary to turn on the a/c units and greet folks as they arrived. Another man, whose name I did not catch, led the singing. Kawal wanted another special, so I went to the list I made this morning and asked the Lord which one I should sing. He le me to “The Longer I Serve Him.” As Kawal introduced my song, he also announced that he wanted me to share my testimony and tell them about my trip to Bolivia. Immediately the verse came to mind that says, “And be ready always to give an answer of the hope that lies within you.” Well, I was ready. I also told them briefly about the two trips to Mexico, rounding out all the mission trip experiences God has given me to date.
Andy’s message was a blessing, again. His text was James 4:13-14, and the title was “Your Life Is a Vapor.” He gave a rather compelling illustration of the metaphor with a bottle of water. Coming down off the platform, onto the tile floor, he opened the bottle and poured a little water out onto the floor. As he did so, he said, “Water can only flow in one direction—down. It goes all the way to the floor, and it is powerless to get up again.
“Now imagine this same puddle of water on the ground outside. The sun shines upon it, and the heat of the sun transforms the water into a vapor. A vapor can only move in one direction—up. The vapor continues to rise until it forms a cloud in the heaven.
“No one ever said, ‘What a beautiful puddle!’ but many have said, ‘What a beautiful cloud!’”
“That puddle is you and me. We were lying on the earth, unable to get up, with no strength of our own. Then the Son shone down upon us and transformed us into a vapor that could ascend to heaven to be with Him. He took something ugly and dirty, and made it a thing of grace and beauty, pure white, reflecting His light.”
The way he told it brought tears to my eyes, and I knew I wanted to share this with you.
After the service, we visited again with our fellow believers. I noticed that Andy was seated with one of the women and talking in earnest with her. Kawal told us later that she had responded to the invitation, so Andy was speaking with her concerning her salvation. She has responded at other times as well, so I have begun to pray that in due time her eyes will be opened to the truth of the gospel and she will once and for all accept Christ as her Savior.
Over supper and dessert that night (more of Kay’s delicious chocolate cake with a chocolate sauce that Rachel made), I asked Kawal how he built this church. He answered that while a few of the folks come from other local churches (i.e. attend his church on Tuesday and their own on Sunday and Wednesday/Thursday), the majority of them are from right there in Caroni and have been saved as a result of his work in that region. This doubly rejoiced my heart—first of all, to see the church being established with new converts, and secondly, to see the interaction between like-minded churches. Kawal had planned to take us to the midweek service of a church that meets on Thursdays, but we were exhausted after a long day of work. At least, I assume that’s why we did not go.