Paul had FIVE pastors' seminars scheduled. Yesterday was the last one. In each one, I would take the ladies for about an hour to teach them.
Each day I included an object lesson on Isaiah 43:2, "When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fires, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee."
Now, I don't try to be a comedian, exactly, but I do enjoy it when people laugh, and we enjoy the humor of a situation together. That fire object lesson was a good opportunity for some shared laughter.
The first time I did it, I was standing on a little hump on the edge of a corn field, while the ladies sat on benches on the flat path. I was feeling sick when we started, scared to need a bathroom in the middle of my program, and scared I wouldn't arrive on time.
The wonderful promises in this verse are for God's people, so I talk about how it's easy to believe the first part, that we can go through water and it will be OK, God will be with us. After all, we wash ourselves, do laundry in the river, swim, or things like that, but to go through fire?!?!? I want to give a lesson that will help people believe that part too.
I have a handkerchief that represents the child of God. I put it through water (mixed with Isopropyl Alcohol, rubbing alcohol, from the pharmacy) and then hold it up to show it is OK, even after its dunking. Then I say I'm going to catch it on fire, and it's still going to be OK.
Well now, that is what is supposed to happen. That day in the corn field, I couldn't get a match lit long enough to light the handkerchief! I went though about 8 matches, and I could see the ladies wincing at the waste of it. Finally, one could stand it no more. She came up and started a proper fire, out of corn husks, in seconds. We dipped the handkerchief into that fire, and it burned! It burned too much! One corner of it was completely gone! Oops.
We put the fire out. I think as I was holding it up and talking in that windy field, and waiting for the translator to talk, the hankie dried up, and thus it burned.
I talked about how we go through hard times and trials. I showed 'em my scar from breaking my arm in 5 pieces, when I fell off a horse when I was 30, and how God was with me through that, and how my mom came to help with the baby. I said this was like going through the waters.
I told them about losing our daughter in 2006, and how that was like going through the fire. I said God brought us through that. Later we went inside, and I re-dunked the hankie, and set it on fire. This time the pastors could see it too, and it worked, and they clapped and laughed. I stuffed the missing corner into a pipe I was using to hold the hankie, so no one could see, but I had mentioned we don't always come through our trial unscarred.
Yesterday, again the hankie didn't want to light. I added more alcohol, dipped it again, and it lit. Right about then about a bazillion kids invaded our classes. They were intrigued, so they stayed, quietly at the back, until there was laughter and clapping from Paul's class next door, and they quick scuttled out to go find out what they were missing over there. Coolness when people are drawn into a church by the laughter and joy coming out the door, eh?
The most educational time for Paul and me is the question/answer time. We've been teaching, not really knowing what the exact concerns of the people are, but that is where we learn a little. It's exciting to see how God's Word has answers for them, just as it does for us. When it's time for questions and answers, Paul likes to sit down to answer the questions. By then, he's already preached several times. These seminars are around 3 hours long, with Paul preaching withdrawing, doing object lessons, and using a translator. It's tiring.
My ladies group, being infiltrated by munchkins in the back. It was a good problem to have.
Isn't that cross cool? It's just sun coming in holes in the bricks.
The Pastor translated for me. He tried out my little sock puppet and liked it.
|The ladies and I moved back in with Paul and the men for the final message.|
My little Tic-tac buddy. When the Bible says, "Make to yourselves friends of mammon", I think Tic-tacs are mammon too.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1).
Then was our mouth fill with laughter... (Psalm 126:2).