Sunday morning started with a great breakfast of beans, eggs, fresh goat cheese and fresh tortillas. (I purposely ate gluten on this trip. I wasn't sure if it would be a good decision or not, but I didn't want to make any part of this experience about me.) Oh my goodness breakfast was so good! I seriously could do a post about the food by itself! I'm pretty sure that everyone I traveled with was sick of hearing how much I loved everything.
At home we're used to Sunday School and church happening on Sunday mornings, which a church service option on Saturday evening, as well. At this church, they played music in the sanctuary for about 30 minutes, which let area families know that it was time for Sunday School. Children arrived from what seemed like thin air! Once the music was done, we all split up into age groups for class. (There were a small amount of adults, as well.) About an hour later we all met back in the sanctuary so the different classes could show what they learned. Afterward, the people slowly filed out and went home. Church would happen in the evening, after dinner.
I would say the biggest difference between a church service at our church versus what we encountered there was the music. (This is other than the language, of course.) The service was about 2 hours and about 90 minutes of it was just singing. There was a woman who who led the congregation. She was very involved in the service, but she didn't necessarily have a great voice. I feel like that wouldn't fly here at home, but no one seemed to care that night. They really just worshipped.
There was a bible study on Wednesday evening, which was the next church activity we participated in. This felt more like a sermon to me than what we would call bible study. Their pastor, Pastor Joe, stood at the pulpit and read from the bible and provided interpretation. We had an interpreter for this evening, which was very helpful. Pastor Joe definitely got excited and into it! This whole study lasted an hour and a half!
On Thursday evening, the church did a going-away service for us. It seemed very similar to the Sunday evening service, although they did say a special thank you for us. It was a lovely send off and remains ingrained in my brain. I think some of that may be because a little girl waved me to the front of the church and hopped into my lap. A few minutes later she was asleep on my chest! It had been years since I had felt that :-) Her older sister sat close to me and counted little lizards for me that were crawling across the back wall of the church. It was beautiful.
(I tried to make this post mostly about the church. I will make a sincere attempt to have my last installment be the last one. I make no promises, though!)
Have you ever been to a drastically different religious service than you're used to?