James MacKenzie (Aberdeen Christian Fellowship).
Time is a strange thing. As we came in to land at Tenerife South Airport, it seemed like nine weeks, rather than nine months, since our last visit. We had returned to the island at the invitation of South Tenerife Christian Fellowship to minister the timeless truth of God’s word to the people of STCF and the large number of visitors – mostly British – who fill the church, particularly on Sunday mornings. As before, Florence and I split the preaching between us, each preaching at four services.
We tried something different for the Thursday evening bible study – a bible study on studying the bible that we called “Getting More out of Reading the Bible”. We split this between us, too, with Florence teaching some of the principles and then I led a small group session that allowed for participant interaction.
The ministry throughout the month seemed to go well, with some encouraging feedback. There were a few God moments and one that sticks in the mind was this. On the last Sunday evening, the church service was in ‘competition’ with a live band playing in the pub downstairs. It was time for communion and I was just about to indicate to the congregation my intention to abandon a time of quiet reflection because of the noise downstairs when, literally at that moment, the band stopped and all fell silent. The silence lasted only a minute, but this was long enough for us to confess our sins and contemplate Christ’s amazing sacrifice.
All in all, we were kept quite busy. Florence stepped in to help lead the singing, as the worship team was short of female vocalists for part of our time there. Fortunately, they had enough males so I didn’t need to assist!
It wasn’t all work, though. There was ample time for relaxation and for getting to know some of the church people better. As usual, funny things happened too. On our arrival at Tenerife South Airport, a Spanish woman was handing out maps of the island to visitors. She handed me a map and, as I had just arrived in Spain, I thought I would try a little Spanish. “Gracias”, I said. “Thank you”, she replied. Role reversal or what!
On one of our trips out, our car wouldn’t restart after I had stopped in a garage forecourt. I didn’t speak Spanish (apart from “Gracias”) and the guys at the garage didn’t speak English. They quickly discerned that the car had conked out and made pushing gestures and engine noises, from which I deduced they were going to push me out into the main road to bump-start the car. I got behind the wheel and, sure enough, they shoved me out on to the main road during a small break in the traffic and off I rolled down the hill towards Los Cristianos. Once I’d picked up speed, I took my foot off the clutch and the car came to life. Who needs to speak Spanish? Some things are universal!