After breakfast, we meet with the Andrews University students for worship at the Veguita church down the block from our house. This morning (Monday) it was our turn to lead out. After Gam and Jacob led us in some songs, I talked about the scriptures that guide Sus Manos: Ephesians 4 (training for works of service builds up the body of Christ) and 2 Timothy 2:2 (we need to pass on to others what we have learned) and I told about our quiet time sharing circle. Mike read the verse from 1 Corinthians, Keeley and Morgan shared from their journals, Damaris talked about what she was learning through the children at VBS and Josh closed with prayer.
I found it powerful that the girls shared what they had learned this morning in their quiet time, not something they had prepared before we left home. Keeley talked about how easy it is to find common ground in our negativity. We do this all the time, yet when we see it on a big scale like in Luke 23:12 (Herod and Pilate becoming friends as they planned Jesus´ death), we are disgusted by it. She encouraged us to bond through positivity. Morgan read Acts 5:41-42. The account of the apostles continuing to preach despite being jailed and flogged--and doing it joyfully!--shows us that sharing God's word is not always easy, but we should do it with joy and rejoice that God trusts us to do His work.
As part of our 2 Timothy 2:2, this year I bought a few journals for us to give to people we meet, to encourage them to try journaling their time with God. On Sabbath, instead of a skit, I did an illustration that showed the importance of listening, reading, studying, memorizing and mediating on God´s Word (The Word Hand). I had a volunteer try to hold his Bible with just one finger, then two, etc. to emphasize that we need all these habits to have a strong grasp on God´s word. My volunteer, a Bible worker named Fidel, was so surprised and happy to receive the journal I gave him to thank him for his help, he gave me a kiss on the cheek! (Latinos kiss on greeting one another, but I think Cubans are especially good at following the command to "greet one another with a holy kiss." So many children at VBS kiss us both coming and going, that I think I am going to have it so ingrained by the time I get back to school, I will be kissing all my students.)
Tonight I gave two more journals to volunteers. I gave an audience member a gift bag, but had her stomp on it before opening it. When I showed her the destroyed ornament inside the bag, I asked if she would treasure it always. (There are two congregations meeting in our building--upstairs and downstairs--so we present each drama twice. For the first service, my volunteer insisted she would treasure the shards of glass. In the second service, the volunteer was an 8-year-old girl who candidly said she would not. Ah, the honesty of youth.) The moral was that we may not find beauty in the Sabbath and treasure it as a gift from God if we trample it and don't guard it. I gave each of the volunteers a journal in which I had written up suggestions for journaling quiet time and a sample page from my own journal.
Update: During the last meeting (Saturday night), the woman who had received the journal Monday excitedly showed it to me. She read me each day´s quiet time notes. I loved the insights she had received and I told her she is writing a beautiful devotional book! I saw the little girl sitting a few rows ahead, so I dragged the woman over to her. Honestly, I had felt the journal was wasted on this young child, who was not likely to use it for a quiet time journal. I had the woman show the girl her quiet time notes and I (rather condescendingly I fear) encouraged the little girl that perhaps she could do something like that with her journal some day. A woman sitting in the pew behind the girl spoke up. "I am her mother," she said as she pulled out the journal. "We have been reading the Bible together and writing what we learn." She showed me several pages of their notes. Lord, shut my mouth! You know more about what You are doing than I do! (HINT: hover over photos for captions!)