Tonight at our church, we had a “pastor appreciation” service. Pastor Eduardo and his wife, Lorena, have been such examples to both Max and me. Let me tell you a little bit about them:
Eduardo (35) and Lorena (33) are a young pastoral couple that began pastoring this church 2 years ago. They have four young children, 3 girls and 1 boy, ranging from 4-12 years of age. They live about seven houses down from the church – in the poorest area of this city. Eduardo works at a secular job downtown 40+ hours a week, Monday through Friday. Many nights, he arrives home about 8:00pm, eats dinner, and then goes to visit someone from the church/community or attends a church function.
On the way home tonight, I asked Max how much Eduardo receives as salary from his secular job. He replied, “Well, when he gets paid, he earns about $700 per month.” So that makes it about $8,400 a year (although he has not received that amount because his job is so unstable). At times, he has been offered other employment that would pay him significantly more, yet he has turned them down. Do you know why? He said he could not take those jobs because, if he did, they would demand even more time away from the work of the church. Do you know how much this man receives financially from the church? Nothing. No salary. The people cannot afford to pay a pastor. They can hardly pay utility bills and ministry expenses, let alone pay someone a salary.
The house they live in is about 800 sq. feet. Their kitchen has a stove in it that only has two functional burners. The oven has not worked for almost a year. The gate surrounding their home is securely locked at all times because the drug and crime rate is so high in the neighborhood. (In fact, just last night, Eduardo counseled a neighbor who has been robbed, at gunpoint, four times in the past year – yesterday being the fourth occurrence.) Their children cannot go outside to play by themselves because it it too dangerous.
A few months ago, all of our churches here in Chile were sending their youth on a missions trip down south to minister to the Mapuche Indians. Eduardo and Lorena really encouraged their oldest daughter, Darlyn, to go because they wanted her to see what it was like for people that were ‘in need’. They wanted her to see how blessed they were as a family.
Now do you see why they are examples for Max and me? Praise the Lord for their sacrifice! More people in their neighborhood are coming to Jesus because they are experiencing love from this family. They have found those that truly care about them and their needs. They have found a church of genuine Christian love.
We took a little video so that you could experience some of the worship service and celebration. (Oh, by the way, you’ll notice that the power went out halfway through the service for about an hour but then returned for the final few minutes.)
2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV) For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
Your turn to share: Who has God placed in your life as an inspiring example?