Monday I did something that to be honest I’ve been putting off for weeks, but is crucial to not only ministry, but a healthy life on the island. I started spending 90% of my day on the front porch. A transition that involved cushions for a plastic chair, moving an end table outside, and lots of extension cords 🙂
The reason I fought this is sermon research in the pastor’s study with lots of desk space or the kitchen with a large table was much more comfortable than doing it with a computer in my lap or on the “secondary desk” (a small wall running along the porch) while sitting in a plastic chair.
Finally though lack of proper ventilation and air-conditioning (along with the fact that I’m too cheap to run fans all day) forced me to create a makeshift office on the porch….and I’m never going back.
The funny thing is if I list the reasons why spending most of my time on the porch, keeping cool would probably be number six or seven at this point. While that may be what caused the switch, what keeps me here is living on the porch fits with Barrouaille.
Few things describe the town of Barrouaille as well as the front porch. For me it’s like the town of Mayberry from “Andy Griffith” with an island twist.
- Everyone knows everybody by name
- You walk everywhere (very few people drive)
- It would take roughly thirty minutes to walk through all of the streets in Barrouaille
- And everywhere you turn there are people gathered together talking about the latest news
Though it’s definitely a long ways from North Carolina, in many ways Barrouaille reminds me of country towns, and makes me want to “sit a spell.” Adding to this country feel most of these gatherings will take place on a front porch.
When you get right down to it my choice of spending time inside or outside was a decision between efficiency and connection. There’s no doubt that I am able to work more efficiently (or effectively) in a quiet room than on the front porch surrounded by noises and interruptions. But what if those interruptions are actually ministry opportunities?
Yesterday at about 4:00 in the afternoon I was trying desperately to think about how to conclude a devotional on James 2:1 (still haven’t figured out the right ending!) when a boy and girl from the neighborhood came by to ask for a glass of water….and popcorn once they realized I was eating some.
My mind was definitely in writing-mode at that point so there was a little bit of frustration about the interruption, but I quickly repented of it. Putting the computer away I brought out glasses and a bowl of popcorn for them as they tried to decide which Bible stories they would hear with their snack.
I ended up telling them a story about King David (a second time)
How God created the world
And the bronze serpent (a second time)
The last story was a true blessing because it allowed me to explain to these children how Jesus Christ died on the earth for their sins. Why Mr. John and nobody else was perfect (never done anything wrong), so Jesus had to come and die because He was perfect, and how they could accept Christ as their Savior.
If I had stayed in writing-mode for an hour chances are I could have come up with a nice ending for the devotional on James chapter two, but I would have lost the opportunity to share the Gospel with two children.
I am spending most of they day working on the porch because it welcomes (and even attracts sometimes) the interruptions that become Gospel sharing opportunities. No I may not get everything checked off my to-do list but that’s okay, the truly important things are still accomplished.