Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Easter leap into another culture

Today, for Easter service, I decided to try a different church near my house instead of going to the one I have been attending.  The Baptist church is just two blocks from my house.  I had no idea what time it started, but since I know that a lot of the churches start at 10am, I thought perhaps this one did too.  As I was walking there, I didn't see anyone walking toward the church.  Well, perhaps it doesn't start at 10, I thought.  When I got there, there were definitely people there.  As I approached, I asked a man standing outside what time it started.  He told me it started at 8am and ended at 12pm.  Wow!  Long service.  As I entered I made a very big observation....

This was a Haitian church service!!  Everyone in the church was Haitian and the service was done in a combination of French and Creole!!!  Wow!  The church was packed full.  I entered and went to stand in the back, but a very nice gentleman gave me his seat.  At times, I understood a few French words from my lessons (I have been taking French lessons now once/ week for about  the past 2 months).  At one point, they were introducing visitors (I know this because the man who gave me his seat told me this in Spanish).  Then, someone went up front and said in English, "We have an American with us today.  I don't know her name, but will she please stand up and introduce herself".  Yikes!!!  I do not know enough French yet to do a decent introduction, so I spoke in Spanish (which everyone there understood anyway- Haitians are very intelligent people-  they know 2 or 3 or more languages!)

The service involved a lot of singing- songs I did not know but enjoyed.  The sermon lasted only about 20 minutes and was centered around the passages of Isaiah 53 and Matthew 27.  The service was very good.

What a strange experience.  It has been a while since I stepped into a country where I was not able to understand the language.  Here I was 2 blocks from my house and it felt like I was in a different country- surrounded by people from a different culture than what I have grown acustomed to and speaking languages that I don't understand.  Yet, while I was there, I couldn't help marvel at the fact that even though these men and women are praying in a language that I don't understand, God understands them completely.  He created these other languages.  It doesn't matter which language you use- whether it is English, Spanish, French, Creole, or any other language- God created them all and He understands you!!  How amazing is that!!!

Happy Easter!!!  He is Risen!!!!!! 

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