Pat gets the honor of digging the first shovel-full to place the 'symbolic' cornerstone. My disciple, Karine, was the first of our four baptismal candidates.
I was a Martha all last week, busily cleaning my house, planning what I would serve, food shopping & wondering what was the best way to distribute the seven pastors who were coming from all over Brazil ( who should get a room by himself either because he snores loudly or because he is important, who should be sent to the neighbors, who would not mind sleeping on the bad mattresses in the TV room, etc...).
The earliest arrival would be Thursday night. On Wednesday one of the pastors called and said he would arrive the next morning. That was all the incentive I needed to finish my cleaning on Thursday morning. My hands flew over the furniture, dusting, waxing, washing windows, wiping all those nasty cobwebs from crooks and crannies. But the first pastor only arrived after lunch on Thursday! Whew! My house was ready for him. A phone call later that night confirmed that the next batch would only arrive the next morning. Whew again! After our evening snack I delivered the one pastor to my neighbor's house for the night since my husband was traveling. Shortly before lunch on Friday "the batch" arrived together with the news that another pastor, his wife and her friend would also be arriving shortly! My heart did a quick flip-flop because I wasn't expecting to entertain women as well (and they would notice all the dirty corners I hadn't gotten to.) God always knows which information to withhold from us, and for me, this was it.
It was settled, then, that I would have 9 guests and my neighbors 2. (The lady friend didn't come after all).
It always sounds so spiritual to be a servant, but I discovered this weekend that it's mainly just a lot of work...and I didn't even make the main meals.
Pat had arrived at noon on Saturday after being gone five days, only to pack his bags again to speak at a church retreat. He would come back Sunday afternoon
I was awake by 6:15 Sunday morning already thinking about breakfast. The pastor-.president of our denomination had suggested we do a barbecue for lunch, but before I could start on that I had to deliver messages to church members in our neighborhood about our own church program that afternoon. Later I would have to to make a quick appearance at a baby shower. At 4 p.m. our church was holding a symbolic cornerstone-laying ceremony, followed by a baptism in a neighbor's swimming pool, followed by Christmas program practice! Some of our pastor friends would be leaving after lunch and with that many people trying to get ready, here's a little of what transpired:
Do you have an iron?
Is it 110?
Could I have some water?
Do you have a hanger we could use? We'll bring it back.
My friend would like to buy 5 of your cds. ...
Could I use your computer? (one pastor)
Could I use your computer and printer? (another pastor)
Would you download that picture you took of me so I can transfer it to my Ipod?
By the end of the day I was exhausted. My husband more than I. Then he realized he would have to wait up for the group that had traveled to a nearby city in order to open up the gate for them to park their car. (They got home at 1:30 a.m.) I heard them come in. I heard them knock on our door at 4:30 a.m. to wake Pat up to travel. I heard Pat's alarm go off shortly afterwards. I heard Pat's alarm go off again! Pat got up to tell them he wasn't going to travel with them as previously planned and waited up to open and close the gate. Then we slept until 8. Today was my Sunday. I had the opposite of an adrenalin rush today and I think I understand perfectly the Martha, Martha from the Bible. I'm convinced she was a fine woman.