Friends, last night, I was reminded time and time again of God’s faithfulness even in times of adversity. I, Katie, was able to participate in one of the ceremonies where certificates were handed out to students had completed the year-long study of either Old Testament or New Testament. This is still possible as the government is allowing church gatherings of 25 people. The thing that made last night particularly special was that all the students that were present were from one local church. In total, 21 lay leaders from this Fuente de Salvacion Covenant Church (who’s congregation is not larger than 80 people) studied in the certificate programs. This is a testimony of the leadership of the pastor, the commitment of the church to equip leaders, the desire for the people to want to go deeper and be equipped to minister to and lead others. Like, it’s a big deal! It has been years of the pastor and leaders, like Julio, pouring into the leaders of the congregation that has culminated in this moment.
Our friend Rosa, an immigrant from Venezuela, participated in the course and her adolescent daughter sat alongside with her in the room listening to the course, saying how much she loved learning in the classes. Studying the Old Testament was significant for Rosa, who’s fellow Venezuelans can relate to the story of the people of God as people who have become immigrants or refugees. Hearing of God’s heart for the vulnerable, the migrant, the orphan, the widow, became significant for Rosa.
Monica shared that at the beginning her husband questioned why she would want to spend time studying the Bible. But, he has become her student as he asks questions after hearing what she is learning and she has been able to teach him what she has learned from her classes.
Oto, if you read our monthly update, suffered a severe burn from a work accident in 2019 and had told Julio when he was recovering in the hospital that he wanted to join the group from the church in studying the Old Testament in 2020. Julio was skeptical that it could happen, but it did. And it was obvious from Julio’s tears how significant is was for him to give Oto his certificate. Oto’s perseverance even in the last months when he had moved into a place with no internet and so when it was time for class would go back to his old neighborhood and connect to internet from an old neighbor’s house is testimony to the significance of this program.
Many of the same leaders are also studying a certificate in faith and displacement, learning how practically churches can serve the vulnerable communities of the displaced people’s that are living around them. This is the commitment to the whole gospel that is being lived out in the lives of ordinary people.