I have been sharing some things from my missions trip that I took a couple of weeks ago. Faithful readers are tired of me reviewing each day, I am sure, so if you are just now jumping in, go back a half dozen blog posts and get caught up. Then come back and join us. :)
Thursday evening was mid-week service at Templo Bautista Jarabacoa, the Dominican church. We had been whitewater rafting all day, and we were home just long enough to sit for ten minutes, eat a little dinner, and change our clothes. I was excited, because I had not been there on Sunday, and this was my first and only opportunity to attend church services while there.
Just as we were leaving the house, Wes told me that I would be giving my testimony. Yeah, okay-- no problem, except no one was going to be able to understand me. He laughed at me. There would be an interpreter, he explained, speaking to me as though I were a child. Duh! Oh, yeah! :)
I was really looking forward to church. It was one of the most memorable things about our trip to Haiti so many years ago. Amazing church services! Haitians who walked all day in the incredibly intensive heat to be there for the preaching of the Word of God. Folks so appreciative that you are there. They treated us as though we had been sent by God to come and minister to them, and they were beyond grateful.
I have found something to be true about the very poor, both on foreign soil, and to a lesser degree those from the worst inner-city projects in the states. Those who have very little else in their lives appreciate the Lord more. I remembered those Haitian folks who had been born again loving the Lord with a joy that shone on their faces. They sang of His love with great delight and with every fiber of their being.
That's what I want. I couldn't wait to get to church.
I was not disappointed. :)
We arrived before most of the others and we took our seats in the pew with Mrs. Lane. There were no children's classes for mid-week service, so excited children ran around, happy to see each other, just like in the states. Kids are the same everywhere-- they just sound a little different. Their laughter is the same. I enjoyed watching them and taking in the sights.
The church building itself was different than what I had experienced while in Haiti so many years ago. It was a real building with walls and a door. There were real pews to sit on, and not the logs cut in half lengthwise that had been our seating in Haiti. There was even some old sound equipment and a small pulpit.
Wesley is very good at resourcing from the states. Church groups come in often. I wondered how much of that stuff had been brought into the Dominican in visitor's luggage. I wondered if that pulpit came in pieces. Or maybe Wes just built it himself.
You have lots of time to wonder stuff when everyone around you is speaking another language. :)
The service opened in prayer. I was like a newbie. I couldn't understand a word. I bowed my head when everyone else did. I looked up when Pasteur Wesley's tone changed. His head was still bowed, talking away to God. I closed my eyes again. I prayed I would be able to figure out when prayer was really over, so I wouldn't be left standing all alone. I did and sat down right on time. :)
The song service began. It was an old-red-hymnal song, and Zelma and I grinned at each other. We knew something! I wish I could remember what hymn it was, but it escapes me at the moment. The words projected on the screen were all in Spanish, of course, but it didn't matter-- I knew the words by heart.
So Zelma and her kids and I just sang out in English while everyone else sang in Spanish. They sang a lot of verses, and after a couple I lost track of which one we were on, so I'd just randomly pick one and Zelma would join in with me. I know we hit at least one verse twice. It didn't matter-- they couldn't understand us any more than we could understand them. It was true singing in tongues. It was awesome!
We will continue with our church service tomorrow! :)
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