The past two days here have seemed like a week (so far) but we seem to be getting things accomplished that will very soon turn into something big!! I've been driving (that's always big) which is fun because I feel like driving in the US just isn't a challenge anymore! Here you get to do things like avoid potholes big enough to swallow your vehicle, dodge goats, children, adults, dogs, and all of the above on bikes, motorcycles, and in cars. All while driving on the left side of the road! Now that's what I call adventure!! So that's been fun and I haven't hit anybody/anything (so far!).
I've enjoyed having the new blog site and playing with that a bit but it hasn't had the response I'd hoped for. I'm tellin' ya, it's pretty cool so ya oughtta check it out! I've only had 20 hits as of tonight and only 6 votes in my poll (one of which was mine because nobody was voting. . hehehehe).
The church buildings are getting ready for a major overhall this month and we hope to have the bottom floor of the back building ready to use and the roof on the second floor along with the floor of the sanctuary poured. All of this is going to involve a lot of delicate timing which we haven't had much luck with to date. We were extremely blessed to see the backhoe finally show up at the end of June. . .unfortunately we haven't been that blessed in the past two days. He's been "on his way" since 9:30 yesterday morning. haha Soon come!! But, as always, we trust that it's God's timing and not our own!
An observation I made yesterday (Wednesday) was about the persecuted church. There's always talk of the persecuted church in closed countries (countries that do not allow missionaries and often do not allow conversion to Christianity) but I wanted to talk of a different persecution and how it's effecting Jamaica. In no way do I want to downplay the seriousness of persecution around the world, but I want to bring to light a persecution that seems to be overlooked.
I was talking to a newer Christian yesterday and something of theirs had broken. They said that if they couldn't get it fixed or if we didn't get them a new one (both of which have happened several times) then they would have to find one. They said, "if someone lays one down and looks away/walks away, I'll have to take it." I said, "but that's stealing. . . you can't steal!" But since this object (I'm purposely being vague) is tied into their livelihood, then there seems to be a disconnect from what is stealing and what is deemed "necessary".
Here's how I came to the conclusion of persecution from this. . . it's persecution of the Church by Satan! Let me explain. First of all, we believe the church to be the body of people that come together to worship God and build each other up. We do not believe the Church to be a building (although we often call it that). And when I say that Satan is persecuting the Church I do not necessarily mean that Satan is physically beating people or possessing people. But Satan is using poverty, hunger, sex, and lies to keep the Church (individuals) from truly turning to God. This is so true on this island and it is only getting worse! Satan uses sex to keep the girls/woman in Jamaica dependent on a man. It's a vicious cycle. . . a girl gets pregnant (often as young as 14), she needs someone to take care of her so she lives with maybe the baby's daddy; he decides he doesn't want the responsibility and leaves; she needs someone to take care of her so she finds another man to live with; she ends up getting pregnant again; and the process continues! Poverty. . . "he has something I need" quicly turns into "he has something I want" and "he has something I'm willing to kill him for".
Folks, unfortunately this is not only true here in Jamaica or in developing countries, but it's true everywhere! Very similar things happen everywhere in America as well. But it gets worse because Satan is very adaptive! In the US especially he uses things like wealth and content to do the exact same thing. The Church of Jesus Christ, the followers of Jesus, are being persecuted because Satan DOES NOT want us to truly know God! It's sad and it's scary.
Please pray for the individuals near you. Satan is lying to them right now and every day! Please pray for the individuals here who's very needs are being used for evil. Please pray for us as we attempt to bring these people out of the vicious cycles they are in while trying to keep ourselves from believing the lies being told to our hearts everyday.
Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers!!