We arrived at the Ministry just before 11am. The folks were already there waiting for us. There were about thirteen English-speaking people when we arrived.
When we were walking into the door I heard Márcia (the director of the ministry) say, "Ah, here comes mi compadre!" That is what she calls me. Her husband and I call each other the same at times, but he also calls me Pete. He does not attend the ministry but another church.
Márcia started the services by leading in two songs- one in Spanish and one in English. The English song was a staple for her at the ministry: "This is the Day." The Spanish song was with the equivalent message, but a different song. After leading in song and having a prayer, Márcia introduced me... She said, "and now, coming to preach is Pastor... (she paused, trying to think of my name)... Pastor... Mi Compadre." That brought forth a laugh from the crowd gathered.
After that we separated the Spanish-speaking and the English-speaking to make the ministry run more smoothly. I preached the message posted earlier this weekend. The message went well and I feel confident I did not interject my thoughts as much as what the text was driving at. We closed with my daughter beginning "Jesus Loves Me" and closed by giving a testimony about what has been going on since we left a few years ago (some people there remembered us and asked). We tried to make the focus be on Jesus even when we were telling them about the past few years.
Finally, after the service, Lói (my wife) and I learned an important lesson. Márcia spoke about how she wanted to make sure she had items for each of the "three kinds of people" that show up to the ministry: "black, white and Spanish." We (Lói and I) told her "Don't worry about it, they are getting something that helps." However, later we realized that we were wrong. Márcia is in this ministry because she has a deep compassion for the people. She wants to give them the best possible. She is not providing welfare, but a ministry; to honor the recipients and Jesus she wants to offer the best possible.
May we also have that heart in what we do. Whether I preach to thirteen, ten, one or one hundred, I need to offer the best that I can offer to honor God and those who will be there to receive.
Anyway, that is the report from Emmanuel Ministries. I will plan on having these reports weekly for any who would like to follow what is happening in our ministry. We also have a place to follow on Twitter: #emmanmin ; posts will be from @pregador27 generally.