Aldy and I have been a lot of places together the past four years.
Anytime I've said, "Is anybody willing to go..." Aldy and Moliere have said, "Yes."
We've walked narrow paths.
We've planned services.
We've climbed mountains.
We've even forded rivers.
But the one place we hadn't gone was home.
Aldy lives at Emmaus all the time, because his home is all the way on the border of the Dominican, literally, 30 seconds from the border.
So on top of going on lots of ministry trips together, we've also gotten to spend more time with Aldy than other students, and have been quick to love all the humility and grace, kindness and abandonment of his character.
And now he's fourth year, and we've still never been, so today we got up at 6 and went...and went...and went. And man, I am so glad.
This is Aldy's home church, and this is his home:
All of his family lives in homes surrounding this same yard, so we also got to meet his fiancé, his sister, his aunt, his great aunt, his cousins...
Best, we got to worship with all of them this morning, as Aldy's family, with his family!
The service normally BEGINS at 6, but they pushed it off two hours for us, so that we didn't have to leave the campus at 4 am. thank you.
However, we learned that they have the service at 6 am because of the h-e-a-t.
To make the church more beautiful, a large plastic tarp hands low as the ceiling, to cover all the holes in the roofing above. With a plastic top and metal walls, I kept thinking this made the room a bit like a sauna, but Phil nailed it afterwards by describing it as going to church in a plastic bag. on the sun.
The heat sure didn't slow Matt down.
He was drenched, but preached a sermon I've never heard him preach before, outlining the true and powerful and life-changing meaning of the Gospel.
It was awesome to truly see the Holy Spirit working powerfully through him to touch peoples hearts, including my own, and I was blessed, to, to have Aldy share at the end how uniquely the message resonated with several things God has been putting on his heart.
Afterwards, several people from the church had juice and a chicken and fried plantain ready on a festive tablecloth, and eating together was special, too.
Side note : this is the first time (EVER) that Ethan has held Nora. He has a weird teenage boy fear of babies. She has been trained very seriously that Ethan is a no-no...hence the very uncertain face here...I love it!
He didn't even die.
Afterwards, we got to visit the homes of several family members, as well as the home of some dear friends of his who recently lost their mama. Ranging in age of 22-16, her four children now live on their own, and Aldy has had me praying for them for a while. Though he has shared the Gospel with this family countless times, they continue to say that there are certain things they just aren't ready to give up to follow Jesus.
However, their mother died unexpectedly, after years of saying that she would follow Jesus one day, later...which has the kids mourning and searching. I'm so thankful for Aldy and his family in their lives, loving them and living Christ on a daily basis, and I was also blessed to pray together for them.
As I was leaving, I asked the daughter how old she was. 19. I grabbed her hand and unexpectedly said, "My mom died when I was 19, too. You know what? Until that point, you always kind of think that it's your mom providing for you, your mom protecting you, your mom caring for you and leading you and giving you everything that you need. And it's easy to just follow your mom and her path.
"But then you lose them, and you realize that it was actually Christ all along, you realize that you can't follow them anymore. You realize that now you have to decide for yourself, who you will follow, who will sustain you, who will bring you comfort, who will provide, who now has a plan for your life.
"You think you're alone now, but He's here waiting, and we're praying."
Wasn't until we were on the way home that I realized how quick He is to use every single element of our lives and days and victories and struggles. Nothing is wasted. If we will give
God our heartbreaks and burdens and chains, He will both bring us freedom, and will use them for His glory.
THAT'S powerful, and something only He can do.
And then my crew passed out the whole way home :)
So thankful for His great grace that has brought Aldy into our lives, and for His grace that made today possible!