Monday, October 27, 2008

¨He won´t get by me, Pastor.¨

Unlikely Guardian Angel

Last week, I found Miguel sitting on the front steps of my church and wanting to talk. Miguel is 50 something, but muscular and marked by evidence of a pretty tough life. He usually just nods when I invite him to church, but today he had something to say.

¨Pastor, you know that guy that tried to assault you with a stick in the church a few weeks ago?¨ he began. "I want you to tell me all about it."

I told him the story (mentioned earlier in this same blog) and he nodded his head.

Miguel put his arm on my shoulder and said quietly, "The police won't do anything about a guy like that. Let me tell you how to handle it. Take a bat and go for the ankles, shins, knees and the lower two ribs, until he can't walk. Then drag him out to the curb side and call an ambulance. They will take him away like yesterdays garbage."

I told Miguel I appreciated his concern but that we had a testimony as a church to uphold and probably shouldn't be in the knee breaking business.

He thought about this for a minute and said, "Don't worry about it Pastor. That same stick he tried to hit you with, he used it to break a window on my pick-up truck. I am waiting here to see if he will come by again. Don't worry about a thing,...", said Miguel as he patted me on the back, "he won't get by me."

Wow, with friends like that....should I be grateful, happy or afraid? Anyway, I haven't had trouble with any street people bothering us for the last month.

Please pray for our protection, from the street criminals and also from overzealous guardians!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Two different Suicide Attempts Makes for a Stressful Week

Carlos, the Knife and I

"I am going to kill myself" sobbed Carlos, as he pulled out a pocket knife, opened it and put it on the table between us,"And I am going to use that knife." He grabbed his head and moaned and rocked back and forth.

Carlos had just told me his wife left and would not allow him to visit his daughter. He handed me a huge, framed picture of his teenage girl that was hanging on the wall, saying, "Take this picture. I give to you my daughter to pray for and to look after. I won't be able too."

I was afraid for Carlos. I felt that taking the picture from him would somehow make him feel that he had taken care of his daughter and then he could go ahead with his suicide. I prayed quickly for wisdom and then spoke, trying to give him as many reasons to live as possible.

I kept an eye on him and I put my arm on the table by the knife and said, "You shouldn't give me that big picture. Hang it by your bed so you can pray for her. She will need your prayers. Remember, in a few years she will be a young woman, and have her own home and then will come the grandchildren. She will think of her father when she is on her own and you can visit her then. You will see her again, and with grandchildren to rejoice over. Imagine how sad she woud be if you hurt yourself. You don't want to make her cry. It would make a sad story for her to tell to her children. You don't want to bring grief to her heart and tears to her eyes do you?" I said,

Carlos nodded is head, and slowed his rocking a bit and we talked a little more about hope, a better life and reconcilliation, especially from God's word. After talking and praying together, I took the knife and closed it, saying, "Let's put this away now. You won't need it. I won't take that big picture. Your daughter needs your prayers, but I will take a small one and help you pray for her."

I left him then. He was still sad, but seemed a lot calmer.

The College Girl, the Pain Killers and Our Church

A girl I will call "M" is a member of our church, was living with her mother and attending a Vocational College. One day she didn't come home and only a few days later did we all find out that she had left to run off with a boy friend. We were all pretty sad. About a month ago, M returned home and came to church with her mother. I spoke to her and it looked like she was coming back home and to church, without the guy.

I am not sure of all the details, but this morning we heard that she was in the hospital after overdosing on pain killer pills her mother had in the medicine cabinate. M sent a text suicide message to her sister. The sister called her husband and he rescued M, carrying her to the hospital in time to save her life.

Our hearts and prayers are with this family. They represent three different households that attend our church. When one suffers, we suffer with them. We ask your prayers for them. They have helped us grow in the past. Now it is our turn to help them heal.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Drink This!

Tina went to the hospital today and took some Radioactive Iodine to treat her thyroid problem. It was not as spooky as the picture or what we imagined, but she was a bit nervous. She seems to have relaxed a bit since then.

The doctor says Tina is not allowed to have anybody within 10 feet of her for three days and must abide by a long list of precautions, such as eating with disposable materials, washing her clothes separately, etc. So we had to make special arrangements.

The twins are staying at a fellow missionaries home. I was going to stay in the guest room at our Bible College, but with the twins gone, I figured I could stay in their bedroom and be withing call if Tina needs anything. I didn't want her to feel abandoned during this stressful time. We rented some videos tonight and watched them together, her at one end of the living room and I at the other. We were able to laugh together, just not sit together.

Tina seems to be in good spirits, but I am sure this is stressful. Please continue to pray for her health.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Bite the Bait, or Just Keep Swimming?

The church building we use was formerly an Assembly of God Church. They moved about a ½ mile away and built themselves a new building and now rent the old one to us.

A few weeks ago, their pastor stopped by and asked, "Would you like to buy our building? We will lower the price from $160,000 to around $100,000."

We got excited, but then had some doubts. It sounded too good to be true. We prayed, sought advice and took stock of our situation.

Sunday morning I announced, "Let's give this situation a week of prayer and next week have a discussion. We need to see if we SHOULD say "yes" or not. We can also have a "Faith Promise" service, and see if we are willing to raise our offerings. This will tell us if we CAN say "yes."

I thought the church would like to buy the building, but the next Sunday, everyone wanted to continue renting. The reasons: poor parking, a bad neighborhood, too close to a river and a bad roof. The clincher was when we discovered the owner never got permission or filed papers for a church at our location. So, on any whim, the government could disallow us to meet there anymore.

We then decided to spend our offerings building the congregation through visitation and meeting members' needs, rather than looking for a permanent place.

The good news in all of this is we did raise almost $200 more a month in giving for this next year. We hope to offer this to one of our Bible college students, and in turn, get more help in visitation. Today, I spoke with a young man named Julio, who is a new pastoral major at our Bible College. I scheduled him to preach Sunday and really hope that he will come and help us build up our congregation.

We do hope someday to have a place of our own. Right now, we hope to be helped by someone who has a heart for missions, and in return, be a help to them.