Psalm 138:1

H'okay, so I want to update you guys on Friday, and when I can actually write about it, I'll update you on San Juan de Los Lagos. Friday was crazy fun. I've been catching myself in a funk lately, so I've asked God to help me recognize and focus on the good that's happening. Well, Friday, He just kind of dropped some awesome in my lap. 

She's a hippy. 
I had asked the teenager from CPdD, my city guide, if she wanted to hang out again, and we settled on Friday. By the time I met her at the bus stop, I was ready to eat my own arm, so we went to the Centro for tacos (such good tacos!), and then we were walking around. A young man stopped us, selling candy to pay his way while he travels around (he was probably in his late teens; it's interesting to see young men out traveling and exploring, and slightly disconcerting at the same time--where is your mother? But I digress.), and I bought some candy from him. I also got to give him a tract, telling him that the little book talks about how we can have peace with God, peace in our hearts. He thanked me for talking about God, and I asked why. He responded that he doesn't personally believe much, but that he's always happy to hear people talking about what they believe. I shared with him how I follow Jesus, but that it isn't religion but friendship, and got to share my testimony. He also let us pray for him, which was really sweet. My teenage friend was really excited at that.

We kept exploring, and we ended up in this plaza a few blocks over that is entirely dedicated to ice cream. I kid you not. So we ate some ice cream and talked about biblical historicity, the preservation of the Isaiah scroll in the caves at Qumran, and the evolution-defying way a giraffe's neck works. We walked and found a really interesting coffee shop, then we went back to the Centro, and as we were walking, we decided to go to the Expiatorio. She's never been, because it creeps her out. So, naturally, we decided to explore the crypts.  

At the entrance to the crypts, a very interesting older lady (whom I will call the cryptkeeper) accepts the entry fee and offers a summary of what we will encounter inside. The crypts are shaped like a cross, and the entire structure serves as a teaching tool about avoiding vanities. As the cryptkeeper spoke, she began to explain that salvation isn't in God's hands, but ours, and that we have to work for it. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the teenager twitching in agitation, and as the lady went on, the teenager half-turned to face me, gesturing that I should say something. Two other older ladies had joined us to listen, so I didn't think it would be appropriate to interrupt and start arguing, so I told the teenager that I was having trouble understanding (true), and kept listening. Once the lady had finished speaking, we went down into the crypts, and I talked to the girl about when to speak and when not to, and I told her that I want to come back and talk to the lady again, and that it would only have devolved into an argument if I had interrupted her in front of the other ladies. Eventually, the other ladies followed us down into the crypts, and we greeted them. They mentioned that they had noticed that I was having a hard time, and I told them that I'm not a Catholic and so am trying to learn. They had assumed as much. Anyway, the door opened for me to share my testimony and share the gospel with them, down there, in the crypts, surrounded by statues of Mary, saints, and apostles. My teenage friend was loving it. 

After we left them, we continued exploring, and eventually we ran into them again. They had gotten lost and needed help. I told them that I knew the way out and would help them, and I asked them questions as we passed together through several rooms. They didn't have answers, so I compiled a list of questions for the cryptkeeper. Eventually we got out, and they gave me their phone numbers, so it was a great opportunity. I'm hoping I'll get to meet with at least one of them again soon, possibly this week. 

The teenager and I did get to ask questions of the cryptkeeper, by herself, and I was eventually able to share with her a little bit. She wasn't open. When I asked for her name, she just told me that she's a tiny drop of water in the ocean. I responded, a bit cheekily, "A drop with a name." She still wouldn't give me her name, so I thanked her for her time, and we left. We got to debrief on the way back to the bus, and talk about what we'd do next time, how to answer, how to talk to someone much older than us and share with respect. It was a really good time. It was a huge recharge for me to invest in that kind of on-the-go discipleship, and I look forward to getting to do that again soon.

What I loved was that I got to share the gospel in the heart of the crypts. Psalm 138:1 talks about praising God in front of the gods. I once had the opportunity to share about Jesus in a Sikh temple, and now God's given me the opportunity to share the gospel right under the Expiatorio. Whatever people worship, it cannot stop the gospel. As Paul said, "The word of God is not chained" (2 Timothy 2:9).

Prayer requests
  • Please pray for wisdom for the believers here in sharing with those around them. Pray for wisdom in how to tackle sensitive subjects like idols or the deaths of loved ones. Pray for boldness and for open doors.
  • Please pray for the young people of this city and nation, that God would draw them to Himself and help believers to reach and disciple them.
  • Please pray for the lady who keeps the crypts. She has an open door for anyone who comes through those crypts, and people listen to what she says. Pray for her to open to the gospel, and for wisdom for me and for other Christians who pass through and meet her.
  • Please pray for laborers for the harvest here in León, and in the cities nearby. Pray that God would break the power of the saints and idols in peoples' lives. Pray that they would come to know the God who is, and who really cares about them as individuals, who hears their prayers without the help of the dead.
  • Please pray for continued boldness and freedom to speak, and the freedom to praise God wherever we may be.
  • Please pray for wisdom in how to follow up with L, the lady I had met during the VBS, and who was mourning the anniversary of losing her baby. My friend and I have gone back to see her, and when she wasn't home we left a note, but we haven't heard anything from her.
  • Please pray for wisdom in following up with the ladies we met at the crypts. 
  • Please keep praying for my Spanish.
  • I'm eating lunch with a lady from CPdD this afternoon. Pray for that to be an encouragement for both of us. I'm also giving a Bible study this evening to another lady from CPdD. Pray for that. I'll also be teaching the youth study on sin this Sunday night, so please pray for that as well.
  • CPdD is having a meeting this Sunday night about a prospective pastor. Please pray for peace, unity, healthy communication, and wisdom from God about the future. Please also pray for someone to be willing to step up and lead the missions and evangelism team next year.
  • It was a great encouragement for me to be able to have that experience on Friday. When I'm out with a teenager, I have much more of an awareness that I'm being watched, which is good for me, and it really did give me more boldness. 
  • I got to go to a house church on Sunday, and it was a really sweet time. The church planter also loaned me a ukulele!

Thank you for praying!

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