We went to both the morning and evening church services today. There isn't a middle-of-the-afternoon service because the hymnals tend to burst into flames on account of it being so freakin' hot. Of course, I'm kidding, they are way too poor to be able to afford hymnals.
The pastor was an intelligent, passionate, and kind man about my age. I liked him immediately. Despite the language barrier between us, I felt that we were kindred spirits. He was patient with me when I spoke, and reworded his own sentences when I couldn't understand something he said. With him, he brought his wife, six of seven children, and a guitar which he played beautifully.
(the pastor warming up before the service)
As is the custom, I was invited to address the congregation. I spoke without a translator (gulp) and told them (I think) that I taught in Texas, and that these others were my students, and that we had come to work on projects for Promise Home such as "hot water" and "electricity". Then I told them that since we all had the same Father, that we were family. They liked that part and said "amen" and other words I didn't know. Perhaps they were just glad I was going to stop talking.
We sang some songs with melodies I recognized. Soon we were singing the same songs in Spanish and English simultaneously. It was another moment of connection despite the language barrier between us. It was as if we were two prisoners, ears pressed to the cell wall, tapping out messages of hope with our crude implements; we established a significant relational link and the very thing that kept us apart had became a conduit for celebrating our unity.
(Aimie, the pastor, and his wife continued the connection after church. Aimie's voice often makes me cry, but I thought this time was particularly poignant. After shooting this video I went off by myself to wipe my eyes and catch my breath.)