While I'm in Arequipa for training I am attending the Ramiro Church of the Nazarene. On Sunday June 14th, we had a group of short term volunteers joining us at our church. The morning started off with problems when the bus didn’t show up to take us to church. A fellow 40/40, Henrietta, along with Dennis Linnell, head of logistics, were able to contact another bus company and secure the bus for the day. Finally when the new bus arrived, the entire group of volunteers assigned to Ramiro (long and short term) boarded the bus and headed out to Ramiro.
Pastor Raul presented a great message from God about loving each other while short term volunteer Pablo translated the message. Normally there is no translating, so it was a special treat to have the message translated since there were so many North Americans. After fellowship, worship, prayer, and time in The Word, our group headed outside and ate lunch together. Long term volunteers Jared and Elisabeth discussed the plans Pastor Raul had for us, unknown to all of our group, Pastor Raul had planned to hold a Festival del Ninos. So our group did not have any of the festival supplies and we were completley unprepared for this outreach event. But we were flexible enough to go back and get the supplies needed and return to meet Pastor Raul and begin the festival.
When we reached the park where we were to hold the festival, many of the short term volunteers seemed confused and disappointed as the park was vacant. Some people from out group started setting up while others went into the neighborhood to invite children to join the fun. After a few minutes there were many children in the park. Some playing football, others getting their face painted, and yet others playing jump rope. All the volunteers were involved with the children and their parents.
When the theater team was ready, we group gathered all the children around the puppeteers and presented The Message of Christ through puppets in a way the children could understand. After the puppet show Pastor Raul spoke to the children and explained all us volunteers are missionary’s who loved God and have Christ in their heart. He gave an invitation for children to come up and say a prayer to ask for forgiveness and accept Christ’s salvation. There were 11 children standing with Pastor Raul speaking the words or repentance and acceptance. I was incredibly moved by the presence of God in these children, The Spirit’s presence in the words coming from their mouth. I did not need to know the language to understand God was moving in that park, His Spirit was surrounding the 11 children. The day at Ramiro encouraged me to remember that when plans change, when you are flexible, when you find yourself unprepared, God can use any situation to Expand His Kingdom!
Our LORD is great, with limitless strength; we'll never comprehend what He knows and does. Psalm 147:5 (msg)