Another week of missions work at Montalvo church came to a close yesterday. The furniture was finished, the kitchen was painted and the outside walls whitewashed. And we also had the best VBS turnout of the week with 57 kids. And our medical team saw those same 57 kids and distributed parasite medicine.
And then there was the parting ceremony with Pastor Hernan and the church. Not a dry eye in the house, but more about that later.
I learned something about whitewashing this week: It is a lot of work. The material is heavy, you have to mix it just so, it is hard to get it to cover concrete blocks easily and it takes a lot of labor to apply. The one thing it is, is inexpensive.
When Jesus accused the Pharisees of being like "whitewashed tombs" in Matthew 23:27 I always thought the emphasis was on the cover up. Now, though, I am not so sure. Maybe the emphasis was on the effort required to use an inferior material to cover something ugly. Because it's a lot of work. And the ugly always comes back. Why work so hard for what does not last (Matthew 6:19-20)? Perhaps Jesus was making the point, once again, that unless we begin with believing in his sacrifice, all our efforts to become our better selves are wasted, just whitewash. His sacrifice is the "real
deal" and we must begin with that.
Speaking of the real deal, check out that golden idol in our production of the fiery furnace. The builders, who shall remain anonymous, were observed to be getting a little too enthusiastic about its construction!
Our skit team did a fantastic job, putting on at least six performances of three Bible stories in three days. There were hours of preparation behind each performance, from writing the scripts to creating costumes to wrangling our high-strung actor corps.
When asked to comment on the experience, our director/producer/chief costume designer could not be reached for comment (see picture below).
Today we will travel back to Quito. Along the way we will lunch at an historic hacienda and shop at an artisan's market before getting on our flight home tonight. You should be proud of your team - both the work they accomplished and the spirit in which it was performed.
Pray for the Iglesia Bautista Montalvo, that their witness remains strong and that they are excellent stewards of the expanding physical facilities God has given to them.
I think I can speak for the team when I say that they are family to us now, so please pray for them like the brothers and sisters in Christ that they are. That is why saying goodbye is always so hard, because this is family and you just don't want to be separated. In God's family on earth you don't even have to speak to the same language as your brothers and sisters. One day we'll all be together and the language thing won't be a problem. But until then, separation is hard.
Just pictures below. ..