How do we describe ourselves: tourists, guests, observers? We felt like we didn’t contribute that much. We didn’t spend part of each day working on some difficult and sweaty project. We only washed dishes a few times. However, if we asked our new-found brothers and sisters, I suspect they would consider us companions on the faith journey. For them, it is important simply that we come.
We take our time and spend our money to come and be with them. We cannot underestimate what a visit means to them or to us. There is power in “being with.” After all, one of the most powerful things we say to one another is “Christ is with you.” Maybe the way Christ is with us is when we are with one another.
Yet again, we were inspired by the witness of these people. After the morning of a sightseeing at the market and the National Palace, we visited El Mirador, Gloria Dei’s partner school. We acted out the story of Jesus telling the disciples that they are fishers of people. We pretended a piece of rope was a net and we surrounded the kids so that we caught them all. We asked them to color a paper fish, writing their names on the paper, so that we could take our catch back to St. Paul to tell our kids about them. We promised we would send them a catch of fish with our names. That way, we can all pray for each other. It was a great idea; better than trying to teach them “Row Row Row Your Boat” in rounds.
When we came back to the center, it was time to say good bye to the leaders. In a beautiful little worship service we prayed to receive the full grace and forgiveness of God. We all prayed to see one another again. They had me record all three parts of the “Iona Gloria” so they can keep singing it.
In the rain once again, we went to another congregation near El Mirador school to meet more leaders. They told us proudly about their worship and their processions with the risen Christ through the neighborhood. They also told us of the fear of violence that plagues their community. What a powerful witness their gathering is each week, a place of peace and life, in a dangerous world. Their witness is deeply inspiring.
Our last night. One last review of the little bugs on one of the beds in the women’s room. One more night with this precious church, our companions in faith.
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