We love our little jungle church. Our first visit was a major hit with the girls as they sat on the wooden benches and looked out of the wall-less church to see jungle hills, flying birds and stray dogs. Our return was inevitable and our love for the environment and the people only grew. The guitar is always off tune as is the singing. The transitions choppy. The attendees late. The communion rationed into small portions as the church resources are extremely low. But the love. Oh but the love!! The smiles, the hand shakes, the laughter; sometimes due to the awkward white people and their developing Spanish. Our love has grown.
We've sweated together on many Saturdays building a better foundation for the church, leveling out the land, and more. We've hosted Christmas programs, a Valentines party, cooked food together. Our little nest wasn't much to look at but it was ours.
Then it happened. A disagreement about the land. Enter a Quito church. Miscommunication between the Quito church leadership and our little church's leadership. Hurt feelings. Confusion. And eventually, the loss of the little plot of land. Mistakes were made and feelings hurt but light was at the end of the tunnel. The neighboring plot of land was in fact ours and we could just rebuild. Wood posts, tin roof, cement floor.
But "we could just rebuild" were weighty words for our church leadership as they waded through unforgiveness and grief. Cooperating with the very church that had made mistakes was too big of a hurdle. We walked with them; prayed with them; counseled them and told them, "We are with you." We hoped and prayed that over time these words and our consistent presence would help them heal.
For almost 6 months we've been a mobile church meeting in homes as the leadership finds its way. There has been healing on both sides and our Quito brothers have come to serve with us and offered their own resources to help us rebuild. Learning to work together as churches is a zig-zag patterened walk of failure and forgiveness. This dynamic only becomes more complicated when you have a fast-paced city church culture trying to blend and cooperate with slow-paced tribal. But still, we wait for the wound to heal and the hope to rise in our little jungle church leadership.
We ourselves could push to return to the new land; to stop being mobile; to rebuild. But this wouldn't then be their idea or in the right timing. The still small voice whispers, "Hold it loosely. People over places. Always, people over places." If we pushed our own agenda the foundation of our new church meeting place would be made of half-healed wounds and pressure. We don't want that. So we wait. We wait for the Holy Spirit to do his work and we stay. We stay by their side and continue to say, "We are with you."