This morning I arrived from a week of teaching Survey of Doctrine at a small town on the Huajaga River in the Peruvian Jungle. My students were all Pastors or would-be Pastors, thirteen in all, making me both the youngest and the only single man there. What an interesting combination!
My week began on Sunday night with a sore throat–likely a combination of some stress, tiredness, and just good-old “sick”. Monday was worse, and I prayed “God, just help me get through this morning”. I skipped lunch and had a nap in my tent, waking-up soaked in my own sweat–it must have been 100 degrees in there! After an aspirin I headed off to teach the afternoon class, another 4 hours, and it didn’t go much better. Again I prayed to be able to “make it”, and God helped me.
Now, I haven’t even mentioned the mosquitoes “showers” with a bucket, going to the outhouse, eating who-knows-what, having limited electricity, and having no access to the internet. People still live this way! All it goes to prove is how much of a wussy I am.
The sickness though was somewhat the story of my week, until Thursday, and I am so grateful to God who helped me overcome a sore throat, some stomach issues, a fever, and tiredness to be able to finish the teaching. At the end the brothers voluntarily expressed their thanks to me, one by one, each taking some minutes to stand up and to tell me what they appreciated about it and how they hoped to encourage their churches through the classes. In some ways I felt that I had done a sub-par job, seeing how ill I felt, but the brothers nonetheless kept listening intently to everything I taught, filling their notebooks up, they asking me a plethora of questions.
It is times like these that I recognize how blessed and privileged I am, being only 24 years old. To God be the glory, who uses me in spite of my sinfulness, lethargy, and sickness. In the end, this is the story of anyone who wishes to be used by God, any Christian–we are dependents of God.
All that said, I must now prepare a sermon for the church here in Tarapoto, the last message I will give them before leaving to return on the long road to my home, in Southern Bolivia. Three or four days of travelling await me, be it on buses or in an airplane.
Today, in the midst of all the commotion, I take the time to say “Thank You” to my Heavenly Father. What are you thankful for today? How has God used you beyond your own abilities?
I often say in Spanish when I preach: “There are no great people, only a great God who empowers us to be great.”