Hey everybody!!!!!! It’s that time of month again!!!! Here’s my latest video blog update:
Also, here’s an excerpt from my May newsletter:
Even a trip to window shop for a charango can be an opportunity to share the Gospel. And I guess I should first explain what a “charango” is before I tell the whole story so that it makes more sense. Here’s a picture of a charango (which is a Peruvian stringed instrument):
So what’s with the charango? I got interested in them this past month as I began to focus more on the musician part of my job. Before I got here to Peru, the church in La Victoria had no musicians, and everything was sung a capella. Since I’ve gotten here, God has been using me to run the music ministry there. However, rather than simply running the whole thing myself, I really want to train up more kids at the church in La Victoria, teaching them how to play different musical instruments. That way, the music ministry isn’t dependent upon me being present.
Knowing about la Plaza Dos de Mayo (a certain area in Lima where there are a lot of music stores), I decided to ride the bus for an hour and check it out. After getting there around 12:30pm, I poked my head into just one music store, looking around at what they had. Walking out and past a few more stores, I eventually walked into a second music store, looking over the different stringed instruments that they had. I was especially interested in the charangos and similar instruments since I assumed that they would be cheaper than guitars and maybe easier to play.
Right after I entered the store and started looking at the different instruments, the shopkeeper—a middle-aged Peruvian man—saw me and rushed over. After asking just a couple of questions about the different instruments (at that point I didn’t even know what a “charango” was called), he opened up the display case and, one-by-one, pulled out a few of his different instruments and began showing me how to play them. Next, he took me to a backroom in his shop and showed me a bunch of music sheets that he had for the charango (which was the instrument
that caught my eye the most). Then, he showed me even more of his instruments. Finally, he took me even further back into his shop and showed me the room where he actually made most (if not all) of the instruments that were sold in his shop.
And somehow, in the midst of his excitement to see me all of that, the question came out about what I did for a living, and I soon found myself talking with the shopkeeper about theology. He quickly bewildered me for a moment when he talked about God being love, and then suddenly seemed to change what he believed and he declared that “God does not exist”. After getting more of a grasp on his very round-about way of explaining things, I finally realized that he was talking about how (entirely in his opinion), God does not exist in time and space, since (once again, in his opinion) God is spirit. He also had some really interesting views on who Jesus was/is.
His sister, who was also in the shop, quickly warned me that I wouldn’t be able to talk sense into her brother when it came to religion. Thankfully, I remembered that, no matter how much I put my own effort into it, I can’t bring anyone to faith—that’s really the work of the Holy Spirit as he works through the Word of God. So I simply relied on pulling out different Bible verses, trying to connect the dots for the shopkeeper, talking about how God himself took on a human body when the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, was born as a baby boy, and how he did that as part of God’s plan to give us forgiveness, salvation, eternal life, and a relationship with him.
After quite some time of us going back and forth around this topic, while being interrupted occasionally by other customers, I suddenly realized what time it was—2pm! I had probably been talking with him for over an hour! And I had to get to Castillo Fuerte in La Victoria by 3pm to teach the daily Bible class there. So, after about ten more minutes of chatting with him, I thanked him for his time and headed off. While walking toward the bus station, I realized that, in terms of window shopping, I hadn’t been very efficient with my time (seeing that I had only visited two stores), but that God had obviously had a different purpose for my trip there.
After rushing to get to the Castillo Fuerte in La Victoria, I had just a few minutes to greet all of the kids and teachers before I found myself teaching the older kids’ class. I had them read 1 Peter 3:15: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (NIV) Using that verse, as well as my story of my conversation with the shopkeeper, I talked about how they, too, can be used by God to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the world.