People always want to know what a pastor does with his week. It’s hard to describe because there is no such thing as a typical week. We seldom work from 9-5. My mind is usually full of my to-do list and when one thing is done there is always something else waiting. Living here makes it even harder to explain. Everyday living and chores take up more of our time. However, I thought I would list some of the things that happened last week:
Monday - This was Erin’s 9th birthday. We let her take the day off school and Rhonda took her to get their nails done at a nail salon. Then the three of us went out for lunch. Monday is usually my day off so we stayed home in the afternoon. We had a quick birthday supper then I drove Rhonda and Erin to the LIFE group. LIFE is a program Rhonda runs for ages 9-11. They meet every Monday evening from 6-8 PM. They have an hour of gym and then its snack and Bible story time. At 7:45 PM I had to pick up Michaella and Marissa from their Jr.Hi youth meeting downtown and then drive back to pick up Rhonda and some other kids. We dropped off some of their friends before heading home.
Tuesday - I usually start Tuesdays at home so I can pray and plan for my week ahead. I just have to work off a list of stuff or I never make progress. I took the bus downtown and caught the subway to get to a lunch meeting with local pastors and workers. There are four of us who meet together each month for fellowship and encouragement. We pick a topic for discussion and come prepared. This month the topic was ’dealing with conflict in the church’. The one thing I have learned is that a church in North American or a church in Azerbaijan is pretty simliar. It may have to do with the fact that people are involved! After lunch I went to my office downtown to deal with some admin issues.
Wednesday - Today I had lunch with a man who has just moved here with his family. We talked about the excitment and challenges of moving into a new culture. Now that we have been here a year we are able to look more objectively at our own experience and see how we have grown. It’s great to meet new people as they arrive and to share in their journey. Back at the office I was preparing for the elders meeting which was held from 7:30-9:30 PM. We are working on a number of new vision items for the church, including a possible second service. No decisions yet but it was a good meeting. The elders in this church are great and I am really enjoying working with them.
Thursday - Rhonda has Ladies Bible study and then a prayer meeting on Thursdays so I like to stay home and work on my sermon. I am currently preaching a series from John chapters 13-17 where Jesus is teaching his disciples in the upper room. For the six weeks leading up to Easter we are celebrating communion each Sunday as we reflect on the last words of Jesus.
I had to move to my office because the power went out at 10 AM at home. (We also had water problems but that is a different story). When I got to the office (which is shared with a Christian businessman) they were celebrating someone’s tenth wedding anniversary. We had lunch provided and then I tired to get down to work. However the internet at the office wasn’t working and the lights in my office kept going on and off. I found that I got little semon prep done today. Since its Valentines Day, Rhonda and I decided to go out for supper. It has been a while since we have been able to do that, just the two of us. The power went off again around 6 PM and we waited until it came back on at 7:30 before leaving the house. It was after 8 PM before we got sitting down for supper but we were together.
Friday - Every Friday morning I have a men’s breakfast at 7 AM at some offices in the downtown area. This group has been meeting since last October and is developing into a great group of friends. It’s a place to share and be open and pray for one another. After breakfast I had a meeting with the head of a translation company. I am wanting to start a newsletter for pastors in the country. This is something I would write (about ministry topics) and then get translated in the local language. I was very encouraged by our meeting because it appears that the cost will be managable and they have time to work on it. To translate a four page newsletter will cost around $75.
I had lunch (I know you must think I am over eating but really its just the way of connecting here) with someone who is moving out of the country in a few weeks. They have lived here for four years and will be returning to the States. It was great to hear of their positive experience and the love they have developed for people here. That’s life in Baku, there are always people moving in and people moving out. It is one of the hard things to keep track of.
Saturday - A friend picked up Jacob for soccer practice at 9 AM and then I picked him up when it was over. He seems to really be enjoying it and it gets his energy out. I went back to the office for several hours to finish my sermon. Rhonda and the kids went shopping, Marissa was looking for a new shirt. We enjoyed Saturday night at home with our family.
Sunday - We usually get to church by 9:45 AM and help get things ready for service. The praise team was already practicing and the Sunday school area was getting set up. We had a good service but the auditorium where we meet was cold. After service people hang around and talk for some time. The kids complain we always close the place up. Sunday night I had another meeting to speak at. There is a great organization involved in disciplining people and they run a program here in the city. Every so often I am asked to speak and this time I shared on family life and ministry. Its one of those topics you never really master. The evening was enjoyable and it is encouraging to see how God is building his church.
So, that was some of my week. Why not let me know what you are up to? Have a good one, David