I attended all 4 church services today (yes, I heard the sermon 4 times- and can probably say it back to you without missing anything). At the end of each service, the pastor called me up on stage to say goodbye and pray for me. I was given flowers and a gift- a book of the history of Maracaibo with pictures! I then had many many people from the church come up to give me a hug and wish me goodbye. Most of these people I do not know (although I have seen many of them throughout my time here). They all expressed their gratitude for the time I have spent to serve God in their church and wished me a good trip and a quick return.
During the last service, the pastor had Arturo, as missions coordinator, give me a goodbye greeting. He spoke about how I have developed over this past year. When I arrived in Venezuela last year, I did not understand much of what the people were saying. The culture was completely foreign to me. The people here are more outgoing and they talk quickly and loudly. I had asked him several times if the people were fighting- but no, they were just talking. He mentioned this today, not only to mention that my spanish is better but to show that I have grown more in understanding the people and culture that God has sent me to. I will truly miss everyone here.