Friday, November 11, 2011

In Everything, Give Thanks

We were invited to a thanksgiving worship service today in Xepocol to celebrate the graduation of two sons of our coworker Gaspar Chan.  This is the third of four sons who have graduated from high school--a very big accomplishment around here.  Their uncle Pedro brought the message about giving thanks in all situations.  He reminded us of the many sacrifices that these young men and their families made to get to this day, and how God was with them during the hard times and also today as we celebrate together.  As we sang beautiful new hymns together and looked around the cramped patio space overflowing with people from the church, I thought back a few years to when Gaspar and his dad and uncle were the only men working in the church, teaching, preaching, visiting, leading singing.  And how Gaspar would wonder outloud how much longer they could keep the church together as all they had was new converts and no one to lead.  Since then, they have even more new converts and some of the other men and the older teens have stepped up to help, resulting in 7 worship teams (preacher, song leader) that rotate week to week, leaving time for others to do evangelism and prayer home visits.  This church has struggled over the years but never failed to worship God and bring praise to his name and give thanks in all things.  They have a reputation in their community for serving others--including non-Christians.  We have learned a lot from this church--especially how to put "loving your neighbor" into practice.  So today we rejoice and give thanks to God for the way he has blessed this church with new Christians, maturing Christians and an educated youth.

In 2006 the church had 1 graduate from high school.  This year the church is blessed with 7 graduates from high school, 2 in high school, 2 entering high school and 3-5 in middle school.  10-15 years ago most of these children would not have finished elementary school. 

The church in Xepocol when we first moved here in 2006. Now it is probably 1.5 to 2 times more people.

Gaspar and Family in 2006 - Noe is in the white shirt and Manuel in the red shirt next to him.

Noe (left) and Manuel (right) - graduates 2011 

Noe in front and Manuel in back

We hope to have many many success stories as these as the years role by.  Both Noe and Manuel are leaders in their church and soon to be leaders in another community as teachers.  God is good to all of us!

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