Yesterday was a happy and sad day.
The happiness does outshine the sadness, but it is certainly a disappointment for us that Esmeralda chose not to be baptized. Her reasons are understandable. She feels that she is not yet ready to publicly associate with the church; she isn’t ready to be seen in town or by her family and look like we do.
As I said, it is understandable from a human perspective, but it is disappointing from a spiritual perspective. Why do we care so much about what people think and so little about what God thinks? This is not a blindness unique to Esmeralda. Given that she is yet an immature believer, it is even more understandable.
So, we are certainly sad, but we have hope for her to come around eventually. And when she does decide, it will be a fully heartfelt choice.
I do not know how to feel about such things. Those of you who know me well know that when the right choice is made clear to me that I tend just to do that, regardless of whether I might feel like doing it or what the consequences might be. Some people call that black-or-white thinking and say it with a twist of their lip that lets you know it is not a favorable characteristic from their point of view.
I’m not sure if I am a black-or-white thinker. When I self-analyze, I feel like I tend to be fairly nuanced and even turbulent in many things, but spiritual things (or grammar rules, heh heh) are the exception. If the Guidebook says that God expects us to do X, why don’t we just do that?
Of course, that doesn’t make me perfect—I wish it were that easy! But it does make it easier for me to accept certain things because I just put my faith in God about those things… once I understand them. And then I struggle with those who don’t see what I feel is so clear. It’s tough to be patient and forbearing. So, you can pray for me that I can be the leader I should be by God’s standards about God’s standards.
That aside, we did rejoice to receive Anne and Abbey into the church by believer’s baptism. The service was not so different, but when it came time to performe the ordinance, I became rather emotional and had to gather those pesky things and make the tears stop falling. It was truly hard to look over the congregation and see Esmeralda refusing baptism, to not see Percy’s family or Rafael’s at all.
We came to show our neighbors the way to God, to share with them the gospel. Six months ago, things looked so promising for numerous interested ones, but they have all fallen away. Why? What are we doing wrong? What am I doing wrong? I don’t know, but I do know to keep trying, to stay faithful. The Guidebook tells me that much.
Anne and Abbey are both young, but they both have clear testimonies and evidence of spiritual life. I wish I would have had the foundation they have and the innocence and pure faith they have at their ages. How much further might I be in my own journey? Too many wasted years.
I keep trying to focus on the joy here, but my melancholy pushes through. But it was a great joy to perform the baptism for my girls. It was a precious moment shared that we will never forget. Each of the members then shared verses or other encouragement with the girls and pledged support for them in their walk with the Lord.
It was special for Dad and Mom to share the experience with the girls, too. This was the first international trip for either of them, and the first long flight of any kind for Mom. It certainly looked big in their minds before the trip, but valió la pena to be here.
Alicia and Crisitina shared the experince with us, as well. Alicia seemed especially moved by the service and said she wants to take the girls’ example as a guide for her own walk with the Lord.
We went to Lake Huaypo for a lunch of packed sandwiches, cheese, and veggies that Steph put together for us. She always manages to get all the things planned out and prepared so that everyone else can enjoy themselves. It is no wonder the girls have such good hearts when they have a servant mother as an example.
To close out this report, thank you to the several people who stepped up to join Patreon to help Esmeralda. That will be a great help to us, too! It takes some of the pressure off our own pocketbook so we can reach around to other needs. If anyone is still interested, the door is always open at patreon.com/juandavid_ablog
And thank you to those of you who are sharing the blog, I’ve been seeing a few new subscribers trickling in, and sometimes I wonder if they may be the ones who will come to help with the work here. Maybe they’ll be the ones to help Percy’s the next step of the way. Maybe they’ll be what Rafael needs to see more clearly. Maybe they’ll have time to study with Crisitina or Alicia.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.”(Galatians 6:9-10)