Cofradia 2011 – Psalm 126

“I get Cofradia now.” This was a comment from one of our new team members. She has supported the Cofradia missions ministry through her involvement in CyFair Christian Church in Houston and specifically by sending her sons and other family members down to work on the many teams sponsored and supported by that church body. The efforts expended by the missionaries and short-term teams who have served in Cofradia have been used by God to transform the lives of many individuals and those little village communities. Since it is always a little overwhelming to try and tell others about this “Cofradia,” I have often reverted to using God’s word to direct my musings. For this trip, I found the words of celebration on Psalm 126 were pretty close to perfect.

Psalm 126 – to Voice the Joy of Restored Community

“When the LORD brought back the captive ones of Zion, we were like those who dream.”

Five years ago, the women’s mission trips to Cofradia were certainly a dream in my mind. I was on a visit there and was drawn to the women who fought many of the same battles on a daily basis that we do – children, spouses, friends, and spiritual growth. All of us have at one time been captives to sin. The story of the Bible is a grand story of God searching, calling, and rescuing individuals. He gives them His Spirit and words for life and life eternal. We get glimpses of Zion as we worship together but Zion that final glory, waits.

“Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with joyful shouting; Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”

In a previous post, I summarized our 2011 trip as being Joy and Laughter. The Lord God has surely done this great thing! The growth in the Cofradia ladies in both number and spiritual maturity is inspiring to recognize. Our reception on the first visit was driven by curiosity and not a little trepidation on the part of the local ladies. We knew that they were motivated by relationships and determined to begin right on that point. “Hija, Hermana, Amiga” became our theme: we are Daughters of the King, Sisters in Christ, and invite our Friends to come along to learn and have fun. The teams set out to model participation in worship and Bible studies and the dear ladies in Cofradia were willing to go right along and try many, MANY new things. Until this year’s “Reverse Day”, we always sang our worship songs in Spanish. I have always treasured this experience as being a preview of worship in heaven with the many nations and tongues.

“The LORD has done great things for us; We are glad.”

All glory is due to God for changing hearts, lives, homes, and communities. This year we spent more time giving and hearing testimonies. I absolutely loved this opportunity. (Do you think we should maybe consider doing more of this in our churches also?) This year, both groups planned and served, all the while trusting God to use these as offerings for His glory. We truly never know what small act – a smile, message, Bible study, craft, or service – will be used by God to speak to another heart. He is sovereign, powerful, providential, and His lovingkindness is fully on display during the sharing of these testimonies.

“Restore our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the South.”

One of our Bible studies this year was given by the Samaritan Woman at Jacob’s well. There Jesus promises living water and that “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14) The faithful service of the women’s teams, willing to give up a week of time and many other resources to go to Cofradia has been noticed by the Cofradia women. Their greatest fear is that their growth will be such that the teams will stop coming. Please pray with us that they continue to seek God through His word and increase in hunger for His presence in their lives.

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.”

I pray that we are all reminded that the gospel is for us each and every day. Yes, we take it to the unsaved, but repentance from sin, and God’s forgiveness gained through Christ’s sacrifice leads to joyful shouting. Those who sow with faithful deliberation trust God to provide; the reapers harvest with the same faithfulness and marvel at the work that has been done. Tears of repentance bear the fruit of godly joy. Many parts of a mission trip are hard but I simply cannot think about this year’s visit without wanting to joyfully shout!

“He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”

The years’ “Reverse Day” was truly a blessing to me. Not only did the local women plan and present the morning program but also helped us learn one of their crafts and even took photos of us like we do! As an extension of this practice, we are supporting the Cofradia women in their community outreach this coming Saturday – January 22. Please join us and pray that these seeds are sown for God’s glory and that their love for Him and for each other will be a magnet to draw others into this circle of Hermanas en Cristo.

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