Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (NKJV). Today was one of those days when I saw both themes in action. It began with much rejoicing, and most of the day was that way, but it ended in sadness.
Danae and I practiced our trumpet/violin duets sometime after 7:30, and they sounded good! We quick ate breakfast altogether, and I cannot remember what we ate. I know we had papaya, but I don’t remember what else we had. Oh well…
We went to First Baptist and Danae and we played during communion as planned. Aunt Julie also accompanied us on the piano. The pastor also gave us hymnals so we could play along with the congregational singing, and we had a great time doing that. I hope it was a good ministry to everyone else as well.
One of my favorite things to do is play for churches, especially when they sing, so I was doing one of the most basic things I love doing. It was a privilege to also play with a church during its anniversary celebration.
We had communion and then we broke up for Sunday School, and this all took about 2 1/2 hours. Actually, we went from 9:00 until a little after 11:00, but the announcements at the end of the service easily took at least 20 if not 25 minutes. Here in Brazil, they save many of their announcements for the end of the service and give them to the people all at once.
One of the interesting things about this church is that it is going through a building expansion right now. It is in its third sanctuary expansion, and currently people sit outside during services because it’s so full.
The church adds on by building a newer, bigger building over its existing sanctuary. Once it is completed, they quickly tear down the inner building, and they finish the new building. So right now there is a structure around the present building, but they are still meeting inside the old one!
Soon after Sunday School ended we went home (no separate morning service) and got lunch ready. We had great-tasting ham, cheesy potatoes, bread with butter, and peas. Mmmm…SO tasty!
In the afternoon I transferred my belongings to the other house and traded rooms with Danae. When rest of the people arrive, they will stay with me in the house, and the girls will be in the room that I used these past few weeks. I took a short nap after I moved my stuff and then we went to see the statue of Mary being constructed nearby.
I mentioned a long time ago that a large statue is being constructed on a hill overlooking the seminary property, but it was halted because a construction worker fell down and died, and the statue was also found to be wrongly financed with government money.
Uncle Jim took me and Danae up to the site to see the progress of the statue and to take pictures. It was so sad to see the ignorance of the people! The statue is constructed by making huge concrete molds plaster molds, covering them with a layer of fiberglass, then cutting the fiberglass pieces off the molds and fitting them together around a tall concrete framework.
As we looked on and took pictures, men unloaded large pipes from a government truck. Supposedly the statue is on hold, but they are obviously hard at work on it, still using government resources to complete the project.
We walked around to the front of it to see what kind of view the Leonard’s would have of it from their new house after it is constructed on the property by the seminary. Uncle Jim walked up beside me and said, “I wish God would somehow put an end to this idolatry. This is ridiculous.” I could feel the sadness that he vocalized as he emphasized the last word.
Back at the Sitio Alegre (the group of houses where the Leonard’s live next to the seminario), we rested a little more, ate a supper of grilled cheese sandwiches, and prepared for the evening service. Uncle Jim suggested that I bring my violin again just in case they want me to play in the evening service.
We got to First Baptist and the pastor actually asked me if I could play the piano for the service- prelude, congregational singing, and postlude. I enthusiastically agreed and then I wondered what I was doing when he gave me the two congregational selections. They were two songs that I had already sung, but they were still new and unfamiliar for me.
For the prelude I played a Ron Hamilton song that I was totally unfamiliar with, but the pastor really liked it. The congregational singing went really well considering how much sight-reading I had to do, and for the postlude I played When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder, adding to the theme of Christ’s return.
Afterward we went outside and ate cake and drank cajuina with rest of the church people, celebrating the church’s anniversary. Danae and I said good-bye to some friends from the Leonard’s church because it was our last Sunday here and then we went home.
As we pulled into the Sitio Alegre, I found out that a relative of someone we know died earlier in the day. Once a healthy, normal boy, this young guy had an unidentified disease that slowly deteriorated his body until he just died. The visitation was that evening and he was going to be buried the next morning.
So I went with Uncle Jim to this young man’s house on the other side of Crato, near the mountain up which I had hiked earlier in the week. We entered the small home, and the mother met us and talked about her son. The boy lay in the casket, completely filled with white flower petals and surrounded by a couple candles and some pictures of Mary and Jesus.
Many family members were there, and they all gathered around when Uncle Jim read some Scripture. He spent most of the time just listening to the mother talk, and before we left, he prayed for them.
Uncle Jim believes the boy was saved, based on his testimony during the few times he visited. The boy always told his mother that he trust God and that she needed to have the same kind of faith. Hopefully his death will lead to the salvation of her and others in her family.
It was a sobering experience, as is any death, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to go see it. After arriving home I swatted some mosquitoes and headed to bed.