I don't know about where you live, but in Belize, one of the ways Satan tries to destroy the church is through the spreading of malicious gossip. Sound familiar? The sad thing is that often the gossip originates and spreads within those who claim to be part of the body of Christ, even leaders, such as pastors and evangelists. What a contrast to what Jesus says those who follow Him should look like: "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35).”
Sometime in May, a pastor asked me if it was true that a certain church in Toledo was "dead." I had heard this rumor going around about this particular church, so I asked him what he meant by dead, figuring that after all, only God truly knows the state of being of His church. True to what I had heard, he said that he heard the church is closed and the pastor is no longer active. I smiled and invited him to attend the rally being held by this "dead" church the next month. He and his church did attend, and I trust he found his answers.
It is true that the Pueblo Viejo church congregation is not large, but there is a small nucleus of church members there that pull together to accomplish large feats. This was again demonstrated on June 8th -10th. They invited a guest speaker and music group from Guatemala and then began to invite a host of churches to attend the series of three services. Their pastor, Honoratus Choc, is the same man who nearly missed ordination last year due to surgery near his eye right before District Assembly. He is a man of dedication and commitment. Together with a core group of church members, he trusted God to give them the strength and ability to bless a large number of people through this event.
Preparation was extensive, including building a thatch building for a kitchen, cutting (with machete) a massive quantity of firewood for cooking, and coordinating the group coming from Guatemala. By the time that whole event was finished, they were all exhausted and spent, but still wearing smiles. I had the privilege of watching them bless the lives of many as they tirelessly prepared meals (Sunday's meal included a whole beef and a large quantity of chicken), hauled water (no running water in Pueblo), and facilitated the large crowd that gathered. I don't think any of them were able to sit in the service and be ministered to by the guest speaker, but they allowed many others to do so, and it brought them great joy.
I heard several comments afterward about the sacrifice they made, wondering what benefit the church received for all that work, effort, and expense. I don't think that the benefits can be measured in physical terms. The church probably won't suddenly be filled with more people, they didn't gain wealth, and their hard work will quickly be forgotten. However, God's work is not ultimately measured in physical things, and I trust their reward will be eternal. And what a privilege they had to be ministers of God's love to others through that special event. I heard that the day after it was over, they had gathered again, working together to finish all the clean up and eating a meal of beans and tortillas together. I am sure that the fellowship was sweet. While others spoke of deadness, these people were willingly giving of themselves to bless others. I pray their efforts were a testimony to others!