Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Sunday in Spanish

   Isabella is going to write your post again today. Sorry, guys. ;)

   The day started out with a walk down the block to the local Catholic church- Iglesia Catolica.  The priest liked to hear himself talk, and the homily was 30 minutes long with constant crescendos and decrescendos. I spent the first half listening intently and trying to decipher what he was saying. I could get the general gist of things for a few minutes, but mostly I was lost.
    Afterwards, we went to David Alvarez's church, where, after the service, Karen would take us to have lunch with one of the church families. I had no desire to sit around aimlessly for several hours, so I went upstairs to investigate the service. David was in the middle of his sermon, and they had an English translator. (A church team from Tennessee is visiting this week as well.) So I listened and spent a rather enjoyable hour and a half.
   My family, however, had not. By the time everyone had gotten cleaned up and Karen (David's daughter) was ready to take us to lunch, they were hot, irritable, and very hungry. After driving halfway across the city, we arrived. Ingrid and Karen's boyfriend (novio), Pablo, had just started preparing lunch. For about an hour, we were relatively entertained by playing with Ingrid's baby, Alfredo, while I knitted and read. But it started to get tough around 2:00.

Electrical work, Guatemalan style.

Hanging "safely" on the side of the cliff. :)

Preparing the bus for the trip to Monterico. 76 kids will fit in it.

Line of "chicken buses".

View of Pacaya from David's street.

   It was hard- sitting in a small house, not being able to talk to anyone, with no one our ages, and Mom did not want to eat meat again, for about the fifth meal in a row. (Meat here is a special treat, so they prepare it for us Americans a lot. Also, many gringos are not used to the beans and tortillas guatemaltecos eat day in, day out.) The worst part was that their neighbor is- ah- musically inclined, and Sunday is when his band practices. For two hours he played the same passage over and over again on the drums and guitar. He played so long, he beat a tattoo of the rhythm on the insides of our heads.
   The presence of the Holy Spirit within me was very obvious during this moment, and instead of falling apart at the incessant, unending noise, which could very well have happened, I was instead granted the grace to see beauty in the situation.
   During his years of ministry, Jesus stopped and ate with sinners all the time. He always made time for the people, and no matter how poor they were, they were honored to serve him. This is how they feel about us, I realized. We are their honored guests, and they cannot wait to share what little they have. We are so used to doing things for ourselves, making sure they are done to our liking, on our time schedule- but right now, our service is to let others serve us. Jesus never complained because his hosts served food he didn't like, took too long preparing it, offered him an uncomfortable bed, or their homes were located in an unpleasant area of town. His ministry was all about serving others, and one way he did that was by allowing those others to serve him.
   Today, I learned that it's not always easy to be served, especially when the circumstances are less than perfect. Serving others is important, and at times difficult, but sometimes allowing them to serve you can hold just the same significance. I now have new respect for this part of Jesus's ministry that I never really considered before. Sure, he traveled around preaching the gospel, healing the sick, and generally performing really cool miracles. And he stayed at people's houses a lot. That definitely wasn't the most difficult part of his ministry.
   But was it? The circumstances in which we had lunch today are probably similar to what they were like in Biblical times. It couldn't have been easier for Jesus than it was for the Contolini family today. After all, he was truly God and truly man. This means He felt discomfort, just like us. But by allowing himself to be served, he showed his true, unending love and solidarity for all people.

  Lord Jesus Christ, as my journey continues, please teach me more ways to show Your limitless love and redemption. I ask that you would fill me with Your Spirit, so that I might continue to do Your work and follow the path You have made for me. Kindle in me a flame that will burn bright with a desire to do your will and be your witness, and let it be visible to all I meet. I ask for the strength to carry on even when it's not easy, for patience with my family, and for the gift of tongues, that I might speak Your Word in Spanish to Your people Guatemala. Transform me into a channel to bring this love to them. "For faith, hope, and love remain, but the greatest of these is love."  I ask this through the intercession of Mary, our most blessed mother. Amen.

1 comment:

Amie said...

Oh,Isabella! What beautiful entries you have made. We just received a card from you Contolini's. We will miss you this Thanksgiving, but are so grateful to have friends like you who value service experiences like the one you are having. Praying for you. Missing you. Sending love. If I could mail some cinnamon rolls and rainbow jello, I truly would. XOXO from all of us Houser's. Be sure to keep Chapstick with you at all times (a reference to your new favorite foreign film set in rural Idaho). Did I mention how much we adore you? XOXO again!!