Church life has its ups and downs, as any church knows. We go through dry spells, and we go through times of feeling blessed. Just lately, I have witnessed blessing. One of those blessings comes in the form of a theological class that Greg teaches through CUDA. It is a five-trimester program that takes any student willing to explore the Bible as story, spiritual disciplines, and other practical issues. I sat down with one of our church leaders the other day that is participating in the third semester. I asked her how the class was going. She said, “Megan, I so wish that everyone could go through these classes. I am learning a much deeper meaning to the Bible than I have ever experienced.” Because of some of the leaders from our house churches being in this theology class, they have structured the study material for all the house churches based on what they have learned so far. This is both exciting and rewarding. I have seen the hours that Greg has put into his curriculum for this class. It is really exciting to see that hard work come to fruition. I take for granted the many lessons I learned growing up in the church. I take VBS, church camps, and youth rallies for granted. I take for granted the opportunity I was given to attend a Christian university. It is such a joy to see this theology class give people the opportunity to study the story of God, and for them to express the interest of teaching others. They are people that were never given the opportunity to study the word of God in this way.
I just recently attended a missionary women’s retreat in Lima where we went through an intense five day study of the Exodus story. I couldn’t help but make so many connections from Moses and Israel’s journey to the gospel message we teach from Mark. I came home spiritually refreshed, but one of the first things I shared with Greg was that I had to study the story of Israel more deeply with Areli (one of my dearest friends here that I disciple in a weekly meeting). Praise be to God! She joined the new semester of the theology class that Greg is teaching. I am so excited to see her eyes opened even more to God’s story as she explores the messages from the Old Testament this semester.
Every Wednesday afternoon, I wait for Greg to get home so that I can walk to the bus stop and meet Etelvina (one of our Peruvian sisters) and Bethany (my Australian teammate) in Porvenir, a neighborhood in Miraflores. We meet at the corner of the street and then walk about eight blocks to Sandra’s one-room home. We are always greeted by Sandra’s beautiful smile and the sweet giggles of her 7-month-old son, Harold. We have enjoyed this weekly meeting together as we go through the book of Mark with Sandra. She is such a delight in this study, and one of the biggest lessons that she latched onto was the promise of Jesus to multiply our families when we give them up for the sake of following him. She is attending our Sunday meetings regularly, and I love to see our family welcome her and Harold into the fellowship we are so blessed to share.
It is hard to know how many will show up to our house church meeting sometimes, but this past Sunday was a record. We actually ran out of seating for those that attended (there were over 20 in attendance). I know that we will still have meetings in the future where numbers are low, and I am still not one to measure God’s success in this work as the number I see on a Sunday morning. I guess just recently, I have been blessed to see the family of God be just what it is––family. Caring to share something new with those around them and feeling burdened to teach it to others. Continuing in the journey of seeking God even after baptism with brothers and sisters in the Way. Feeling like one can be welcomed into a group of people that come from many different walks of life and still be seen as someone that “family” will care for in good and bad times. Church life can be ugly, but when it is beautiful, it is one of the greatest blessings that God has given us.