This is Pat and my first attempt at pastoring a church in Brazil. It's a lot more than standing behind the pulpit on Sunday morning with a polished sermon and a harty handshake at the door. Here's a typical example of the day-to-day work of a pastor. Tonight was a couples' get-together. It had been decided beforehand that our three Bible study groups would divide the book of Song of Solomon into three parts and each group would decide how they wanted to develop the text into something practical for the group. Here's what transpired:
Mid-afternoon the telephone rang and I heard snatches of a conversation that went something like this:
Voice on telephone: I heard the meeting was canceled tonight.
Pat: Why would that be? Who told you it was canceled?
Voice: M. said she wasn't going. She and her husband had a fight about their group's presentation. She said she's not going. (M. happens to be the leader's wife of one of the study groups.)
Pat then had to call M. and later M.'s husband to try unravel what was going on. She affirmed she wasn't going.
M's husband was working and couldn't stop for a long conversation.
Later, the lady who was to have prepared something to say representing our group talked to Pat on the phone.
Lady: I heard the meeting was canceled.
Pat: Who told you that?
Lady: M.S. told me.
Pat: Well, that was an idea off of someone's head.
Lady: Well, I didn't prepare anything because I thought the meeting was canceled. I thought it strange that no one called to tell me, but I figured someone had tried, but couldn't reach us because our phone line was occupied by the internet.
But, in the end, it turned out to be a good meeting. Our group didn't have the greatest presentation. The Lady from our group backed out at the last minute and didn't go. M. and her husband didn't show either, but God used his word and it was wonderful to see how each group presented something relating to the same theme--without collaborating. And that theme was praising and complementing one's spouse...verbalizing one's feelings and sentiments. And in the midst of all the bungling, mistakes and misunderstandings---the "sheep-ness"--if you please, the Holy Spirit shone through and the sheep left edified. Praise God for the Holy Spirit! Baaaaaa!