It’s been a month since I started to fill in for Pastor Chai. I’ve done many new things in that time: baptisms, funeral service, officiating Communion, leading the Gospel Presentation Session and The New Life Bible classes, etc. I have been able to manage thanks to prayer support, especially by the 333 Prayer partners, but I must confess that it hasn’t been easy.
I’ve found that it’s hard to get used to my new routine, especially for early-morning prayer. It’s harder than I thought to get up 30 minutes earlier at 4:30 AM. And praying for 3 hours is no walk in the park. I thought that increasing my prayer time from 2 to 3 hours was just a matter of determination, but just sitting for three hours straight is physically demanding. My whole body starts to ache after a couple hours and I have to get up often to walk for a bit or exercise.
Reading the shepherds’ report probably takes me more time than it did for Pastor Chai because I have to frequently consult the pictures in our church directory to match faces with the names that appear in the reports. Like Pastor Chai, I try to remember faces when I pray for people who have yet to become believers or who are taking The New Life Bible class, but when I try several faces appear in my mind because I can’t exactly recall what they look like. I feel sorry for The New Life Bible class members because I haven’t yet remembered the names of everyone in the class.
The hardest thing for me is preparing for the Sunday sermon. I used to start preparation on Monday. But now that’s impossible because I have other duties to attend to. It’s usually Thursday before I’ve taken care of all the required ministries and find time to start preparing the sermon. So even though Thursday is my off day, I can’t take the whole day off. I get up late and have breakfast with my wife. Then in the afternoon I come to my office to start working on the sermon. Studying the sermon text takes a long time, sometimes through Friday night when unexpected things happen. So no matter how late the house church meetings last on Friday nights, I get up at 4:30 AM Saturday and come to my office to prepare the sermon. Saturday is a pressure-filled day because I have finish the Pastor’s Corner before noon to be printed in the bulletin, and deliver the sermon outline and Bible passages so that they can be printed in the bulletin inserts. I vowed to start my sermon preparation earlier but have not been able to so far.
My immediate goal is to get used to the new routine and not lag in the schedule. I must keep up because another Lifeseries Bible study I had been leading will start at the end of August.
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