Greetings and Happy New Year!
The first month of 2004 has already provided me with a year’s worth of excitement and satisfaction. Every morning I feel like God is laying new challenges on my lap and saying, “Alright, Brian. Let’s see if you can handle this one!” All in all, the demands are many but the rewards are even greater. Each day I learn more about Guyana, more about myself, and most importantly – more about the God whom I love and serve.
During this past week, the New Amsterdam Christian Council organized daily worship services for the purpose of celebrating the “Week of Christian Unity.” There were ceremonies held at a different Christian church each night of the week. I was able to worship at the Salvation Army, the Church of the Nazarene, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, the Catholic Church, and of course – the Lutheran Church. It was a great opportunity to see the different churches and listen to the various preachers. Personally, I found it enjoyable to compare and contrast the various styles.
In terms of my own involvement, the council invited me to preach at the Thursday night service – which took place at the neighborhood Methodist church. What a fantastic time! The unique environment of this particular church was something I will never forget. Let me try to explain the scene: the church was a large wooden structure, slightly run-down, and totally packed with loud and energetic people. Plus, to make things even more “fun”, it was very hot (over 90 degrees) and the building had a poor ventilation system. The scene reminded me of the African-Southern Baptist churches I’ve been to in the United States. It was great!
So there I was, a young and skinny small-town Wisconsin white kid, about to preach in front of lively, loud, and charismatic group of Guyanese folks. The scene was absolutely priceless. Once it came time for the sermon, I prayed, took a deep breath, and stepped into the pulpit – not knowing what to expect. After I started preaching and people could see that I was energetic and excited about the message, the congregation responded by yelling out, “Amen, brother!” and “Preach it! Preach it!” and “Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!” This was unlike anything I had ever experienced. People were clapping their hands, dancing all around, hooting and hollering! It was like a riot! Once I finished the sermon and stepped back into my seat, I remember laughing as I thought, “If only the people back home could see me now!”
As if last week’s events weren’t exciting enough, next week will contain even more thrill. I will receive a gigantic blessing when my parents and sister visit me. They will arrive in Guyana on February 5th and will be staying with me for a little over a week. I have been anticipating their trip for quite some time and I simply cannot wait to show them around town and allow them to see firsthand where I have been living and who I have been working with. (Over the past weeks I’ve been busy paying-off all the townspeople to ensure they say nice things about me…)
I hope and pray that everything continues to go well with you! I thank you for all your support and love. Keep the Emails, letters, and phone calls coming!
With peace and love,