World Service Corps Reflections: “And by the way, you’re preaching tomorrow!”

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by Melissa Shephard, WSC Volunteer – Lima, Peru
Re-blogged from: Adventuras en Peru

The beginning of last weekend was slow and…well, it wasn’t peaceful. We woke up right at 8 a.m. every morning to the continuous banging downstairs. They’re still fixing the water system in the house, which means digging up the entire bathroom and patio area to install a giant water tank and pipes. There’s constant banging and booming, which I can handle, but the awkward part is that you never know when you can use the water or not. More than once Katrina and I have gone to the bathroom, then double and triple checked that we could wash the toilet water down without it falling on someone’s head. Luckily, the work is scheduled to finish this week (which probably means it will actually finish early next week.) Until then…when it’s yellow, let it mellow.

Katrina and I are finally back into our exercise routine, although we aren’t  can’t run near as far as we used to—we’ll get there though! Perhaps my favorite part of working out last week was the Billy, the 10 year old, who enjoys doing Jillian Michaels workout videos with us. By far his favorite part of the routine is throwing punches.

Billy is just living with us for the next few months, but he is positively fantastic. I keep telling Katrina that he is the cutest kid in the entire world. Now—I know what you’re thinking—‘No, no, Melissa, MY child is the cutest kid in the whole world.’ Well here is what you don’t understand—Billy speaks Spanish, and for some reason everything he does is ten times more adorable because it’s in Spanish. During church last week there was a time for testimonies and nobody got up to share. After an awkward silence, Billy stepped up for all of us and  A Capella sang a hymn memorized. It was my favorite part of the service (and I feel like I can say that, because I’m the one that delivered the sermon.)

Friday night at dinner Katrina and I had the unpleasant discovery that one person scheduled to preach, and one person scheduled to preside, couldn’t make it to church this weekend. This ended up meaning that Katrina would preach one day earlier than expected and I had 24 hours to prepare to preside over that service, then 48 hours to prepare a sermon for Sunday. Needless to say, we were less than thrilled to have such short notice—I was already scheduled to teach a children’s class and Katrina was already scheduled to teach an adult class. We debated what was best to do on such short notice, but every time an emergency like this comes up the result is the same: Wilfredo bears the burden. Not wanting him to, yet again, have to pick up the slack, we decided to step up to the plate and put something together.

Our hard work was and wasn’t rewarded: Saturday night’s activities at Monte Sion were a little lack luster. A member of the congregation, Elsa, happened to have her daughter’s birthday party at the same time as church. As a result, all the kids went to the birthday party, and nobody showed up for classes. Eventually, we ended going to the birthday party too and it was a sight to behold. Kids were literally flooding out the door, it was a full house to celebrate the first birthday of Nicole. There was a constant train of snack flooding in and out of the house: crackers, chips, popcorn, jello, masamorra, cake, etc. There was also a hired (and scantily clad) fairy princess, who led activities, like breaking the piñata, and gave out an assortment of balloons and toys. Nobody does birthdays quite like Peru.

After an hour or so at the birthday party, we went ahead and had church, and although nobody from Monte Sion attended, it still went well. The only attendees were from the Filidelfia congregation: Consuelo, and her children Betzabe and Eder, Wilfredo, and Katrina and I. Though the crowd was small (and rather sleepy), Consuelo, Wilfredo and I all gave testimonies, and Katrina delivered a solid sermon; we went home feeling good about the way things went, despite our low attendance.

peru- melissa preaching in Filidelfia

Melissa preaching in Filidelfia

Sunday was the my big day to preach in Filidelfia. Exhausted from staying up so late to finish a kids class, service and sermon on such short notice, I had to drink a foul tasting energy drink called Maltin Power before I preached. The sermon went well, but as always, there was room for improvement. Over the last six months in Peru, Katrina and I primarily wrote, translated, then read our sermons. This six months, we still have notes, but we’re no longer reading our sermons. Naturally, when this happens, we forget some Spanish words and get a little flustered, but it’s a work in progress. By the end of the night, I was okay with how the service went and happy to have the week behind me.

I won’t go into too much detail about this week, but I will tell you we’ve been feeling a little bit of the strains of leadership lately. With the new year, the church is looking to refresh some things and make improvements, which does lead to some….debating. However, we can go into further detail on that in the next blog.

Until then!

2 thoughts on “World Service Corps Reflections: “And by the way, you’re preaching tomorrow!”

  1. David Brock says:

    Thank you for stimulating memories of the people and places of Monte Sion and Filadelfia! The challenges and the blessings. And, the challenge and luxury of having 24 hours to prepare a sermon. How about a moment in Africa when the presider stands and says “and now the sermon will be given by Brother Brock.” First moment I’d heard about it!! NOT a good sermon!!!

    Bendiciones en su ministerio en Peru. Gracias por lo que ofrecen a ellos y a nosotros. Saludos a los queridos hermanos y hermanas alli.

    • karlijo says:

      Same here David, I’ve had 5 mins notice in the Philippines and 5 seconds in Africa 😉 Oh to have 24 hours!

      Thanks for the reflections Melissa and Katrina. You’ll look back on these days fondly – try not to hold into frustrations. All the best!

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