Recent Changes and Lifetime Changes
The Christmas message I delivered to Iglesia Bautista Peniel on December 20th was a great reminder of how things have changed recently and during my lifetime.
I prepared my speaking platform shortly before the 10 AM service was scheduled to start. The video streaming lights and the microphone were in place and the webcam set at eye level.
Five minutes before the service, I connected with the pastor's son-in-law via skype. His Asian made smartphone is significantly cheaper than the ones that we use but more than adequate for the job. A simple hook-up transmitted their image of me to a TV monitor placed in front of the church auditorium.
Separated by hundreds of miles, Edi shared seasonal greetings, and I delivered a message of the Christmas story from the book of Luke.
Things were different because of the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Per local mandates, everyone in the auditorium had on a mask, and their church service had a time limit. But it was good to see them, hear them, and interact with them. I asked them questions to which they responded. I could hear them saying amen. Although we were not together in person, we all appreciated the interaction that technology allowed us to have.
As the service drew to a close, I was deeply impressed by the fact that there were significantly more changes than those brought about by the recent Covid pandemic.
When I first started exploring the mid-region of the Yucatán Peninsula in 1967, I was a 10-year- old, wide-eyed missionary kid eager to learn and observe as much as I could about the Peninsular life that became my home for the next many years.
At that time, most of the villages were still waiting for power lines to bring electricity to them. As my father began his church planting ministry in that area, we had countless worship services in the homes of people who used kerosene lanterns for light. Many of the people were so poor that they could hardly afford a store-bought kerosene lantern, so they would recycle glass jars by filling them with kerosene and sticking a string through the lid for a wick.
The more ingenious people would take a tin can, cut it in half, and fashion a reflector out of the can to put on top of the jar. My brother David and I made several of these lanterns and talked about how we would mass produce them whenever we returned to the United States. We planned to sell them and make a lot of money. Years later, when our family was back in the USA for a missionary furlough, we discovered that folks here were not impressed by our ingenuity and therefore, another of my adolescent get rich plans faltered!
As the service on December 20th, 2020 ended, I thought about how different their world is today. They are the same descendants of the once proud Mayan civilization. Poverty is still prevalent yet technology has reached them, and God is allowing us to use these marvelous tools to increase our outreach.
Rather than focus on the restrictions brought about by Covid, we rejoice in what God is allowing us to do.
Edi and I are as excited as ever about the opportunities that await us in 2021. We welcome your participation and partnership this year in sharing the good news of the Gospel. Thank you for your part in this wonderful ministry of fulfilling the Great Commission.
Roy and Edi Seals