First church service in Spanish: check! I’m not going to lie… The last couple days have been unexpectedly hard due to homesickness. I’ve just been more aware of the fact that I’m really going to be here for five months, which has made me crave a hug from someone familiar, but going to church this morning was probably the best decision I’ve made thus far! The same friends who I hiked with yesterday live with a sweet lady named Olguita, who goes to Viña Las Condes, a local church.
I walked to a nearby metro station for them to pick me up, and we parked under a Marriott hotel. We then walked up to the first floor (with fancy, cone chandeliers and a giant fountain and big glass windows and gold walls) and met the pastor, Jose, and went into the conference room where service is held. We got there around 9:50am, and the service “starts at 10am.” We were probably the fifth, sixth, and seventh people to arrive. By 10am there were about 20 people in this ginormous conference room. After we sang the first three songs, the entire room was full of people! Chile is a funny place…
The service was fully in Spanish, but the pastor also speaks English, and there are translation headsets to use if you so desire. I nice young lady from the UK does the live translation. I managed this service without the headset, but it’s very nice to know that they’re available!
Though all of the songs were sung in Spanish, I recognized many of them, which was a really nice little piece of home. We sang “Great Are You, Lord” (“Grande Eres Dios”) by All Sons & Daughters, which is a popular selection at my church, Aletheia Church in College Park, so that was especially welcomed by me.
There’s just something about a room full of people worshiping the Lord and hearing His word and bonding over that great commonality… There’s something about it that is perceptible without having to share a native language or even to speak a single word. I love it. And I love that I can find this kind of community — the kind of community that I’ve found before in College Park — 5,000 miles away! God is cool.
I think the homesickness was largely coming from the fact that I feel like I’ve been removed simultaneously from the communities I have in my home, in Fallston, and in College Park. Going to Viña this morning showed me that life doesn’t actually have to be that drastically different: I can still be a part of a Christ-centered community; I can still find comfort in the knowledge that my God is always always at my side and looking out for me and providing for me; I can still find wonderful friends who will tell me it’s okay to miss home but we’re here for a reason, and the day is to be seized!
I hope you all can find a similar sense of hope and peace in your everyday. It’s a wonderful thing, and it’s right within our reach.
Peace and Blessings x
(From Santiago, Chile)