Yesterday I had the privilege of experiencing my first Guatemalan church service. I woke up around 5am (the birds started up a little early yesterday), and I went ahead and got up to take my shower. Because I got such an early start and since it was Sunday, it was the first time since I’ve been here that I’ve actually dried my hair, fixed it, and put on a little make-up. It felt nice to not look like a total slob (with the extreme humidity here, when I let my hair dry naturally every morning, it frizzes, curls, and makes me look a little loco). ☺ Anyway, by the time I was finished getting ready for church, it was only 6am and the kids were still asleep, so I decided to go exploring for “a special spot” to do my devotions (the weather was beautiful yesterday- unlike the torrential downpours we’re having right now).
I found a white plastic chair and a stool and started up the driveway (the stool was to keep my feet off the ground- in Guatemala, we have these tiny black ants everywhere that will bite you, leaving an unpleasant stinging sensation). I went just far enough up the driveway to where I couldn’t be seen by either Mike and Karen’s house or Lettie and Don Oscar’s house. All up and down the sides of the driveway, the Rheas have planted beautiful flowers and shrubbery. I hopped over the plants and set up camp in a nice grassy area at the top of a hill. Let me tell you, the view is SPECTACULAR. I’ll take pictures of it soon. Anyway, it was the perfect spot to sit, be still, and meditate on God’s Word. All in all, I spent about three hours up there (I came back around 8 to let Mike and Karen know where I was). It was great! When I went back the second time, I brought my IPOD with me and worshiped with the help of my favorite music artist, Ronnie Freeman (If you’ve never heard of him, you should check him out. Even though some of his music is kind of “poppy” for my taste, his lyrics are simply incredible)… Anyway, it’s exciting to have found a spot where I can go and enjoy some peace and quiet…
People from Rio Dulce (mostly all close neighbors) started walking up our driveway around 9:45, and church started around 10:00. Five people from a church in Guatemala City had come into town to lead the service (for the mean time, Mike and Karen’s church in St. Petersburg are paying different assistant pastors to come from Guatemala City every week). The worship service was very interesting in that I had never heard any of the music before and I didn’t have a clue as to what the leaders were saying. I must admit that because of that, I was more of a spectator than a worshiper… Anyway, after the music finished I went with the children over to Mike and Karen’s porch where the children’s lesson is taught (the majority of the church members are children). The three younger adults from Guatemala City were the ones who gave the bible lesson, and I was able to understand some of what they were saying. The children seemed to really enjoy it, and they got to do a little craft after the lesson was over. I had to stay toward the back because I was both trying to keep Danny calm and trying to make sure that the children were looking at the teacher rather than me- for some reason, the color of my skin and eyes are very distracting. ☺ Anyway, the children were precious. I’m going to try and take some pictures of them next Sunday (I wasn’t going to even try, but the people from Guatemala City took tons of pictures, so I think it’ll be alright).
After church, everyone stayed for about 15 minutes to visit, drink punch and eat Christmas cookies. I was amazed at how many people came up and gave me a hug, saying “Feliz Navidad” or other pleasantries. They are all so friendly, and I really felt welcomed in the church… Once everyone had left, the children, Mike and Karen, and I spent the rest of the day relaxing and taking it easy. All in all, it was a great first Sunday in my new home.