Our first Lay Renewal was at the Baptist Church of the North (BCN) in Grand Bay. We were staying in Blue Bay at the south end of the island and Grand Bay is at the north end of the island. We dropped a team off at Curepipe (Curepeep) and a team off at Goodlands.
The weekend began on Friday night with a dinner. At BCN we ate standing up in the Courtyard. We were on a tropical island which interpreted means hot and humid or hotter and humid or hot and humider. You get the idea. Needless to say we sweat a LOT!
Friday night consisted of singing, testimony, teaching and small groups where the church people got a chance to share what they expected for the weekend, what the teaching meant to them and other questions intended to draw them out and make them think about their spiritual life. Ben and I, being newbies, were prayer partners to the ones leading the group session. The people were very good at sharing so we didn’t end up staring at one another.
Saturday morning we had coffees in the homes. The coffee group I was in shared very openly about their struggles, prayer requests, answered prayers, etc. Then it was back to the church for lunch. (When we had a break, I would tell people “’Til we eat again”) J After lunch the men and women broke into groups to share. The ladies’ group talked about women’s ministry and we were very surprised when several women spoke of their ministry (prison, after-school) that the other women were not aware of. Several women told others they would like to get involved. They need an organizer! At the closing prayer, I thanked God that these women had outreach ministry but I prayed that God would put it upon some hearts for “inreach” so the ladies could meet together to pray, talk, encourage and inspire one another.
Saturday night we had singing, testimonies, teaching and small groups. In these small groups, we asked people to share the time they first gave their hearts to Christ. We asked them to think about what they had heard in the teaching and about their commitment to Christ. We all then wrote a letter to Jesus. That was something new to me but was very meaningful. I think that is something we should do from time to time.
Sunday morning was the Sunday worship, teaching and a time of commitment. Many people came for prayer, recommitment, salvation.
After church we were to leave at 1:00 to reverse course, pick up the other teams and return to Blue Bay. However, one of our hosts wanted to have our team for lunch and they prevailed upon our leader to postpone our departure until 3:30. We had a lovely lunch in an outside dining area overlooking the ocean.
Let me just interject here that when I say we took a van and dropped off the teams, it was a 23-24 passenger van. We were a total of 20 people PLUS luggage. We were able to take one suitcase per couple with just the things we needed for the weekend. That luggage plus any small carry-ons went WITH us inside the van (Did I mention the van was un-air-conditioned?)
We Americans are so used to our creature comforts. We had no air-conditioning in rooms, churches,or vans.