Blog Celebrating in Uruguay
We often hear cultures referred to as event oriented or time oriented. Time-oriented cultures are pretty much guided by the clock; punctuality is of great importance. On the other hand, event-oriented cultures focus on the activities themselves, not the time frame.
I was recently in Uruguay to join in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Free Will Baptist ministry in the country. One thing struck me early in my visit. The people of Uruguay are event-event oriented. Focus is clearly on the activities before, during, and after the event—with little concern for how much time actually transpires between the beginning and end. It really hit home for me when the evening service did not end until 10:30, we were served dinner at 11:00 p.m., and it didn’t seem to bother anyone. Quite frankly, I found this a refreshing relief from the hustle and bustle fixed-time world in which I function.
PIONEERS ARE HONORED
The two days of celebration were absolutely honoring to God, the missionaries who have served, and the pastors leading the way to the future. It was an honor to experience this event with two of our pioneer missionaries: Glenda Fulcher and Molly Barker.
Glenda and her husband Bill were some of our first missionaries to the country. They served eight years before making a lateral move to Panama to help open that field. Many of the Uruguayans poured out love and respect for her. It is extremely moving to be with pioneers as they visit their root ministries after years of absence. I could just sense her walking down her ministry memory lane.
Molly is a perfect match for Uruguay and its people. She has adapted wonderfully to life in the country and they have embraced her as one of their own. It is impossible to describe what it is like being with Molly as she moves from location to location, event to event. She is totally at ease, and exudes a godly love and an all-out commitment to the ministry activities.
The church leaders gave repeated recognition to Glenda and Molly, but also made multiple mentions of Paul and Amy Robinson. The Robinsons were in the first movement of missionaries to the country in 1962. Much to the chagrin of the believers, the Robinsons were not able to make this glorious occasion due to Amy taking a terrible fall just days before their departure. Though absent in body, they were remembered by many and spoken of in words of praise, admiration, and thanks.
THE WORK CONTINUES
The time I spent with Jaimie and Tammy Lancaster was extremely enjoyable. Their great hospitality and flowing sense of humor made my visit even better. Hearing them express their love for the people and their vision for the future gave me great assurance the ministry will continue for years to come.
The newest arrivals on the field, Neil and Mandi Morgan, demonstrated an incredible sensitivity to the culture and ministry. It was amazing to observe them as they attended the long, long, celebration services with their two daughters and see how they took things in stride. The girls are just absolutely awesome. I think the Morgans know why they are there, what they are doing, what they want to see accomplished, and are committed to doing their part by living in obedience to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
I see our team, the leaders, young people attending the meetings, and the future looks bright. God has worked in Uruguay, is still working, and, I am convinced, wants to continue working. We as Free Will Baptists must maintain our commitment to this country, its people, and our team ministering in this hard place.