Today was a day full of rejoicing at church! We welcomed 6 new members: 2 through profession of faith and 4 through adult baptism.
First was Tony and his mom. Tony has been coming to church for years...long before we arrived here. His mom, up until the last 4-5 months, always had to work at a local hotel on Sundays. She is now no longer working on Sundays and is able to attend church. It's been great to have her around!
Next is Brian. He's been coming to church for more than a year and recently his mom started to attend as well.
Next is Isaac. He and his siblings come to church without their parents. Isaac really wanted to be baptized.
Then came Shalom and Gloria. Shalom and Gloria are brother and sister.
Due to varying circumstances, Gloria moved in with Pastor Charles and his family about 6 months ago. They have unofficially adopted her, in a very local sense. If I showed you a picture of her from before she moved compared to her picture today, you would hardly recognize her. She has grown so beautiful in so many ways! Her joy this morning was so evident!
Because of the breakdown of the family, we have so many children come to church without their father or mother. They are usually children who have a temperament of being bold and brave and well, a bit stubborn, to leave their homes and walk all the way to our compound to attend church. Usually, the fact that they are regularly allowed to come by themselves (and often bringing toddler aged siblings with them!) gives testimony to the fact that they aren't well supervised at home. Practically, this means that we have a difficult bunch of kids to disciple! And if I'm really honest, some days it's down right tough!
But it's on those tough days, that I have to remember pictures like this. No one is beyond the joy filled grip of grace. God is working, "slowly by slowly" as they say here. May my heart not grow hardened during those tough days, but rather stay soft with the beauty of what God is doing.