Yesterday was a day that I was not really looking forward to. Last Sunday, my colleague informed the church that he was leaving, and yesterday was his last day as pastor. Word got around during the week, and as church was about to begin yesterday, we saw two couples on their way in to church that had left four years ago. I was saddened, hurt, frustrated, and aggravated that they would show up on my colleague’s last day as being pastor. What was their purpose in showing up on this day? I had a hard time not having a bad attitude toward them. The NERVE of them!
Well, the service went without a hitch, and when it was over, I was able to make some small talk with the foursome. Another person “wrangled” me into a corner, so I was stuck talking with him. I was finally free from this other man, and when I went into the “break room”, the other four were not there. However, neither was my colleague or his wife. I didn’t think too much of the disappearance of the four former members, thinking that perhaps they had left.
It wasn’t until almost time to start the business meeting that I heard what had happened. My wife posted this on her FB page last night:
“Praise the Lord for smooth transitions! Dan was officially voted in as pastor of Bible Baptist Church (Igreja Batista da Bíblia – IBB) tonight….things went very well. Had around 50 people tonight and had 2 couples that had been in our church some years before, come back and ask for forgiveness…They want to come back and be restored as members! Praise the Lord for how He is working in hearts!”
This came as a great surprise to us. I don’t know what caused them to leave in the first place, but whatever it was, it was something which they felt important enough to get resolved before the pastor left. They knew that they were wrong, and so they came and asked forgiveness from the pastor and his wife. They also said that they have been out of church too long, and they wanted to come back and be members again.
We were shocked. Some of the deaf that have been there a long time, and are also long-time friends, cried at the news. There was a renewed excitement at IBB last night. There was a good crowd, more than usual. At the end of the business meeting, there were more tears shed because of the pastor’s leaving. I was handed the keys to the church as he turned and walked out for the last time as pastor. I was numb, not only because of the responsibility and position into which I was voted, but more so as to the moving and working of the Holy Spirit. The Lord met with us yesterday in church, in a way that I have not seen in a long time.
We look forward with anxious anticipation as to what God is going to do in the hearts and lives of the members (former, present, and future) of the IBB. Thank you for partnering with us in your prayers for us as we serve the Lord in reaching the deaf – and the hearing – in São Paulo, Brazil.