Coming back to the island is an incredible blessing because I have a much better idea about what the Lord would have me do here as I wrote yesterday, but at the same time I need to step from “learning the culture” to ministry within it for the Gospel of Christ.
Thankfully the Lord has given me lots of work do as Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Barrouaille while their pastor is in the States. I’m incredibly grateful for ministry opportunities that include sermon preparation, preaching, discipleship, visitation, and transporting people to services.
The truth is Tabernacles ministry keeps me busy from 7:00 till about 4:00 every day with the occassional nap 🙂 and I meet with Church members three or four nights a week. As awesome as that is though my heart knows in order to truly reach Barrouaille time every day must be spent reaching the unsaved of my town
And that’s where things get hard
See most of my experience is in helping out with ministries that have already been established (like Tabernacle) or working with a Missionary team. At this point there aren’t any clearly defined outreach ministries in Barrouaille for Tabernacle, the reason for this is evangelism on the island is based on relationships. That’s a great thing, but can be hard when you don’t have deeply connected relationships.
Because of this yesterday I started setting aside an hour or two each day to connect with the unsaved of Barrouaille. But that’s still being done very differently than in the States.
In the US finding a way to connect with lost people is easy
- Volunteer in schools or other area
- Get involved with different community groups
- Become part of an already established outreach ministry with your Church, or Bible study
These kind of things aren’t prominent in a place like Barrouaille so instead of googling for “volunteer opportunities” I take a prayer walk in the rain.
My prayer walk involves things like
- Making eye contact and saying good afternoon, or good morning
- Lots of smiling
- Praying for the people of Barrouaille
- Reminding myself to slow down (I tend to walk too fast)
- And ocassionally get caught in a rain storm
Now in a moment of honesty I would say smiling and greeting people doesn’t seem as important as doing something physical (like english tutoring for instance). And the truth is those prayer walks right now probably AREN’T as powerful as ministry in the culture.
But thats okay because I don’t go on prayer walks because of what they accomplish today anyways…I go on prayer walks for what they will accomplish in the future.
Because that smile and greeting will eventually turn into a “how are you today?”
And a short conversation that allows me to share the Gospel
And over time longer discussions about Christ
It’s tempting to start looking for the larger opportunities instead of going for a prayer walk in the morning or afternoon. But in the long run God will accomplish more with one prayer walk than all the english lessons in the world.