Sorry for my hiatus, friends. I’ve been taking a break to rethink the purpose of this blog.
While I continue to rethink, I wanted to share with you some insight about Christian stuff.
I’m going on my third mission trip (tho many refer to them as”missionS trips” for some reason) with my local church this week.
Our team includes a group of about 30 adults and teens from Living Word AG (Ontario, NY) and the Charles Finney School (Penfield, NY).
From Rochester to Panama
We’ll head from Rochester to Panama City and bus out to join a missionary family (originally from New York) in Santiago, Panama.
How to Church in Another Country
There, some of us will construct a community church, while my group will run a soccer camp and VBS (vacation bible school… Basically a week long Sunday school program full of bible stories, music, games, snacks, and crafts) for the niños (ages from tiny to teens).
This will be our group’s third and final annual trip (as far as we know) doing mission work in Santiago.
I’m most looking forward to see some students I made pals with on the first trip: Yorniel and his sister Yerling. Yorniel’s a joker. The other kids call him “Coco” (crazy).
Too Cool to Sing Jesus Songs
My first year he was “too cool” to sing Jesus songs. My second year he was crying at the alter call.
Weird Things like Alter Calls
For readers unfamiliar with Christianeze, an “alter call” is a common closing to a pastor’s message where he calls listeners to come forward as a physical response to the message or sermon he gave from the bible.
It usually means the person who walks forward has made a decision to believe the gospel and wants to receive Jesus’ atonement for sin and gain a new eternal life.
Spiritual Conversations in Spanish
A translator helped me ask Yorniel why he was crying. He told me the pastor’s words made something inside his heart hurt, and so he came out to the soccer field.
While I’ve had several conversations with nonbelievers about Jesus and Christianity, I’ve never really “lead” anyone to a decision for Christ. So I wasn’t really prepared with much to say to Yorniel.
But then I thought of my own experience and shared with Yorniel that I too hurt when I saw how disgusting my secret self was in comparison to what God created me to be.
Then He Heals
But then I shared that the awesome thing is believing Jesus took the punishment for our wrongness brings healing. It fixes a broken relationship. And then we become friends with the creator of the universe. After our talk, Yorniel gave me a hug.
While Yorniel’s community is not full of a ton of positive Christian influence, I am interested to see where he’s at after last year.
If nothing else, his story reminds me of the heart of redemption and why I believe in Christianity.