Host family's church.
They don't have their own building so they rent a school, Colegio Ecuador, and have the services there on Sundays.
Yesterday was Easter (Día de Pascua). I went to church with my host family. I was very excited to be able to spend that special day with them. One thing I was NOT looking forward to was the epically long church service. Oh man!! I know I'm an adult with an attention span but I cannot handle it! Church starts at 10:00 and doesn't get out until 2:30!! That's 4 and a half hours!! I'm not used to that. I love going to church. Love it. It's a time for me to hear what God wants to say to me and bond with others in the Body. It's usually such a joy. In the states, I go to Bent Tree Bible Fellowship which is a great bible based church in Texas. I'm accustomed to having a church service for an hour and a half. I go, I sing, I enjoy, I hear the Word of God, say hello to friends, then I roll out. And I leave feeling really refreshed. Haha! That's not the case here in Chile. Oh my goodness. From 10:00-11:30 that's the Sunday-school-like gathering. Then from 11:30-2:30 is the other part of the service where everyone is together.
I feel like there isn't a set structure to the service which makes me suffer even harder because there's never a way to tell what's coming next or how long anything will last. Keep in mind, that by this time, we've already been there an hour and a half for the earlier part of the service. Okay, This is how the latter part of the service sometimes goes:
Someone gets up and talks
2 more songs
Someone else gets up and talks (almost a mini-sermon because it takes forever)
2 kid songs for the children
Someone talks to the children in the front
Pray for the children
Pastor gets up and talks (but not the sermon yet)
2 more songs
Someone else talks for a long time
2 more songs
Prayer for a long time
Pastor preaches for only 20 min
2 more songs
FINALLY GET TO GO HOME...
Haha! The time before, when I went to church with my host family, I felt so bad because they called up 6 women to pray for different things. That was great. Prayer is crucial. But, tell me why each woman prayed for 5-15 minutes EACH?!?! I was dying! We prayed for a total of about 40 minutes and with my head bowed and my back hunched for so long it was quite torturous! I couldn't help wondering if one lady was just praying to hear the sound of her own voice as she began to pray for EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN including flowers and other things that didn't include what she was supposed to be praying for. Eventually I just had to sit up because my back hurt and when I opened my eyes, they were glazed over. I looked at my roommate sitting next to me and saw that her eyes were open too and reflected the same long suffering that I felt. I felt awful but it was hilarious! Finally when it ended, me and Cassandra were starving, parched, cold, and more than ready to get the heck out of there. I was feeling pretty scarred. Not gonna lie.
I think I'm still scarred because yesterday, on Easter, I tried sitting through the latter service but ended up getting up after it had started, and catching a colectivo
(taxi) back to the house! Cassandra wanted to leave too but stayed because she thought it would look too rude to leave after it had already started. I didn't care. It was odd. I felt this fight or flight feeling like I just had to bolt!! Come what may. I had already been there for 2 hours and it was like I mentally and physically could not stand the idea of being there for another two and a half hours. I felt like I was going to lose it!! Haha! So I dashed out and after I made my escape, I felt wonderful.
Then when I got home, I realized I had left in such haste that I didn't assure that I had my house key. I ended up having to scale the fence in my flowery Easter skirt!! I chunked off my heels like I was in a 007 mission and went for it. I was hoping no one would see me but just then a man strolled by. I froze, not daring to swing my other leg over. But oh the awkward looks he gave me as he caught me perched primly on top of the wrought iron bars! I tried to look casual. As casual as one can look after having been caught in such a peculiar situation. I waited until he passed before I swung my other leg over. Haha! Once inside the house, I listened to a sermon from my own church online. Does that make me a traitor? Maybe. :-)
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