Today is the 22nd of May which means that today is the anniversary of the Salcedo Church of the Nazarene. It has been one year on those 4 benches preaching, teaching, and praying. I remember the 22nd of May last year which was our inauguration service. We invited all who we knew or thought were interested which was a total of 20 people. 19 of them said that they were going to come. Out of those 19 that said they come, nobody showed up. We sang, preached, prayed, and ate cake amongst ourselves. 4 months continually it looked like that; Geremías and I singing, preaching, and praying amongst ourselves. I didn’t know how hard the next year would be for me, us, and the church.
This past Sunday we celebrated the 1 year anniversary in Salcedo with much greater success and a higher turnout than the 0% at the inauguration. We decided to do it outside in the street. We got permission from the president of the street to close it down to have the event.
We scheduled it for 3:00PM and 3:00PM rolled around. Then 3:15, then 3:30 and there were very few people there. It doesn’t matter what event we do but 30 minutes after the “should-be” start time no one shows up and it is so demoralizing. But that usually all turns around and people start staggering in and it ends well. It’s never reassuring, though, at the next event when the same thing happens. Well, I was discouraged again 30 minutes after the original start time, but by the time we were really started there were over 50 people there. A ton of people from our church plants, a ton from Kristen’s church in Huascar, and a handful from the center church!
The program went really smoothly and wasn’t long or drawn out. The weather was perfect. I was smiling. The pastor preached. And at the end we had hot chocolate, sweet rolls, and cake for everyone.
This anniversary Sunday was really encouraging for me to end here strong and hand off Salcedo to the next person with the best possible church. It’s not often that I can have a good time at an event of which I’m in charge, but this was a legitimate change of pace for me.
We also have had 6 short termers from Mid-America Nazarene University to help us out which was more of a blessing than anything. They helped out at the anniversary setting up, serving food, and taking down. The biggest thing they did for us was paint Viviana and Paulina’s house on Tuesday. This is now the location of our newly formed cell group. It was an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (see what I did there?) for real. The transformation by just throwing 2 coats of paint on that house was incredible. It was amazing for me to see the house be beautified in such a simple way.
Random: I was given the opportunity to drive a car here in Peru. We were in a tiny pueblo called Chipana and I asked the taxi driver if I could drive back to the main town of Ilave about 15 minutes away. He kind of chuckled and dropped the subject. About 2 minutes down the road he picked the subject back up and asked if I was serious. I said yes and he stopped the car and let me drive all the way back to the main city! It was an awesome experience and I told him that I would never forget it! It’s just one of those things that would never happen unless you’re truly in the culture.
I cannot stress enough how much this year from inauguration to anniversary has changed me. How hard this past year has been, but how much it has been worth it. To see that yes God has been working through us to reach these three pueblos just outside Puno, Peru. It’s not often I get to see all this come together (and enjoy it!) but I thank the Lord for providing with a memory so great, and I’m still so sure it will not be the last because there still is a month to go. Until next time, check this out as always.