Brenda’s Bulletin

March 31, 2020 So Many Changes!

March 31, 2020 - 3:14 am - Posted by Brenda Matthews

So many changes in just two weeks!

Thanks to all of you who have let me know how you are doing and who have asked about how I’m doing.  There are only a couple of confirmed cases in La Paz, but most people seem to be taking this seriously and are staying home unless they need to leave.  I had to go to the grocery store, and we could all easily keep our social distance.

Family Day 2020Family Day was a success.  It was our last event before the restrictions due to Coronavirus.  We had hoped for more people, but those of us there had a great time together and I think that everyone met new people.  I just posted all the photos to  https://www.facebook.com/iglesiaelfarolapaz

Two days later, Wednesday, restrictions were placed on group gatherings, so the leadership had to meet.  I hosted that meeting on Zoom over two evenings (with another last week) and the decision was made to cancel the church service and to try live streaming it.  From that point, my time has been consumed in Zoom meetings, video production, live streaming, and WhatsApp messages with very little time for email.  Saúl and I have been working closely on these projects.

CoronavirusSaúl set up a WhatsApp group so the leadership could send messages to the church without all the replies.  I then worked at populating the group.  I think I was able to get everyone’s info but one new couple… and I’m still working on that!  That evening, Thursday, Saúl and the pastor came over to tape a video to explain to the church that we would not be gathering and the reasons for it.  Friday I worked on editing the video and preparing the visuals for the second video.  That evening they came back again to tape the plans for how we would do church and I went right back to editing the videos.  Almost ten hours were invested in taping two short videos (I didn’t keep track of the hours editing), both of which I was able to upload on Saturday. (1st video: https://1drv.ms/v/s!ApirIiDEtXgY7gz6nMI-yOWxp4tp?e=gQM7An and the more interesting second one: https://1drv.ms/v/s!ApirIiDEtXgY7g1y2Wn5va1RGQNd?e=RyY9XZ)

Coronavirus1The last two Saturdays, we’ve been at the church preparing for the live stream on the Sundays.  Obviously, we’re back at the church Sunday mornings for the live stream.  You can see our high-tech set-up (joke!), but each week we’ve improved.  I’ve been blown away by the response.  From the comments and interactions, we know that we’ve had great attendance during the live stream and then others are able to watch it later.  The first week’s post has had over a thousand views!  I ended up “hosting” that week at the last minute because David didn’t arrive in time, but he was there and did it last Sunday.  (Check out the videos and live streams at https://www.facebook.com/iglesiaelfarolapaz)  We’vCoronavirus2e also encouraged families to send in “selfies” of themselves worshiping together, even though we’re separated.  The first week I was posting them to the WhatsApp group, but last Sunday I made them into a video to reduce the number of posts (https://1drv.ms/v/s!ApirIiDEtXgY7grf_bTqjDc_36EQ?e=9Qatod). Saúl, Camilo and I also prepare the visuals used during the service and I’ve been preparing other visuals that we’ve posted in the WhatsApp group.  Please pray that we don’t lose the internet connection during the live stream and for strength, stamina, creativity and joy as we continue to serve.

The ladies’ meeting was the last church gathering and then last week we met on Zoom to pray.  It was awesome!  Fifteen of us were on the call. Coronavirus4 In order to make that happen, I set up two practice Zoom meetings and then several individual ones to help our not-so-techy ladies be ready and able to join the call on Tuesday.  I’ve done several more of those for ladies who’d like to join tomorrow’s ladies’ group prayer meeting.  Last week we spent the time praying as a group, but today I’ll be sending them to breakout rooms to pray in small groups between our times together as a large group.

Coronavirus3We’ll also be starting a church prayer meeting.  In order to help others in the church be able to lead, I made a tutorial video in Spanish to walk them through the steps (and made it available for others to use as well).  After our ladies’ Zoom meeting, I’ll be working (by Zoom) with the person who will host the church prayer meeting.  You should be able to check it out here:  https://1drv.ms/v/s!ApirIiDEtXgY7gnlhMsaQvXzgQo7?e=o7eq4Z  (Above are some of the ladies who helped with the video.)

After almost two weeks of high-pressure activity, the pace is finally starting to slow down a bit.  When I first heard about the self-quarantine, I thought that meant I’d finally have blocks of time to work on a translation project for the church.  Please pray that I would be able to start that soon and for wisdom as to my involvement in these different activities.  It’s been challenging, stretching, fun, stressful, and rewarding.

Please also pray for friends both here and there who are dealing with serious health issues.  Phil 4 transparent backgrMay the Lord protect each of us in these difficult days, and may His peace rule in our hearts,

Brenda

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