Try to remember the first time your prayed. For some of you, it will be when you heard about Jesus for the first time at an alter or during an invitation. For some it will be with your parents by your bedside. I don’t remember the first time I prayed, and I don’t remember the first time I heard a prayer…so I’ll just count that day as today.
I have learned a lot of Spanish since my first trip here in 2005. Not only do I pick it up here, I studied it at Marshall and have done a decent amount of vocab expansion on my own. So, when I’m here I can do a decent enough job about asking where a bucket goes on a work site or talking about how many people live in the United States…but I have learned a lot this trip. Now, I’m not telling you this so you can ask me what something says in Spanish, but merely to preface something that is super important in my life today.
Church has always been a place where my Spanish skills have meant next to nothing. The songs bend and stretch words so I don’t know what they are, and the sermon is always roughly translated for us, and everything else is usually spoken so fast that I can’t keep up. However, today was a different story. Today, for the first time every, I understood prayer in church. It wasn’t slower than normal and it wasn’t any different, but I could understand every word. It was amazing. Essentially I heard someone talk to Christ for the first time today. The prayer was a simple one, but it was made infinitely more powerful by the fact that before this time it was completely inaccessible.
Also, it feels really good to dance at church. I haven’t ever done it before. Everyone was dancing and singing, some were shouting praise to God. They played music for like an hour. I have always loved going to church there because of the uninhibited joy that I see, but to dance was great. I wasn’t going to, but my little brother Erlin grabbed my arm and when I said I didn’t want to go, he said, Baila para Jesus (dance for Jesus). Wow. So we went up, not knowing a word that was being sung except for a few here and there, and I just two-stepped for about a half-hour without being judged by anyone or having anyone consult about if it was appropriate or not. It was just expected that people there would be filled with the joy of Christ and show it.
Even the sermon was fantastic. The pastor spoke of the third part of the Prayer of Jabez, which immediately made me cringe, but the way he dealt with it was fantastic. No health and wealth business…he just talked about what it means to walk with the Lord (about the importance of the teaching of Scripture in the family and the importance of always being mindful of the will of the Lord). The verse that spoke the loudest to me was Exodus 33:14 “And he said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ And he said to him, ‘if your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.'” When do I ever say that? When do I say to God, if you’re not at the center of this, I’m not going to do it? How powerful is that?! Today was so humbling for me.
After church, we took all the boys on a bus and headed about an hour away to Mombacho, which is a mountain. The cool thing about this mountain is that it is completely wooded and has a canopy zip-line tour. Yep! 17 cables connected from tree to tree, the longest of which was 900 feet! So I was having a good time going the traditional route until about the last quarter of the trip when I asked the guide if I could go upside down. So he attached my harness to his and swung me upside down and backwards and held on to my legs as we flew across the forest canopy from tree to tree. It was ridiculous to say the least. Some of the most fun I have ever had in my life, and the scenery was gorgeous. I just wish I could have shared the experience with everyone I know. Amazing.
Today has been the best day so far, and I’m not just saying that because we didn’t go to the work site today because I love that, too. God is awesome, and he makes beautiful things for us to enjoy and to use to find joy in Him (natural revelation). I can’t wait to ride a zip-line in heaven with you guys.
Though we’re far, we worship the same God and feel the same love that a crucified savior provides for us,