Singing, catching, praying

View of the church service at iglesia Esmirna.

It was hard to wake up Sunday after the late quinceañera. But church is important, and I want our kids to have a different experience of church than what they get back home.

Yoli’s old church, Esmirna, is right next door to her dad’s house. It’s a small neighborhood church full of people Yoli has known since she was young. Though I don’t really know any of them, I recognize many, and I know some names.

We arrived just as the children were dismissed to go to the classes for their age groups. Ludi, Josie, and Joseph tagged along. Jadzia stayed with the adults.

Yoli’s parents were both there, though Doña Lucila sat up front in the lone padded chair, presumably because of her recent health problems.

The pastor, Adolfo, died a couple years ago, and now his son Micky has taken over. He preached a sermon about faith, focusing on the stories of Zechariah/Elizabeth and Abraham/Sarah.

After the sermon, the kids return, and each class takes turns reciting a memory verse. Then comes the “noticias” portion, where guests are welcomed, testimonies are given, and birthdays are celebrated with a song. Our family was brought to the front where Yoli told each of our names, and then the pastor prayed for our family.

After the service Yoli visited with many friends, and we also got to see Daniel Morales, who was badly injured in a car accident two or three years ago. When we heard about his situation, we helped raise money for his hospital bills.

Yoli chats with Daniel and his mother after the church service.

It was good to see him. He told Yoli that he has regained mobility in his arm, but he has not regained much strength. He is taking classes now.

After church we headed over to Juan and Lucy’s to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Juan has been out of town all this week in Bení, a northern province that is more tropical. He had to take a 12-hour bus ride to get back home in time for his anniversary. He was understandably tired.

Yessy wears her Darth Vader mask at Juan and Lucy’s anniversary.

In the back part of her property, Lucy had set tables underneath table cloths rigged up to block the sun. She invited family and church friends to come, including some from the church worship team. We ate some lovely beef (I think it was brisket), and great cake. (Jadzia boasted of having eaten five pieces of cake between the quinceañera and the anniversary.)

Lucy and Juan’s cake

Lucy, Juan and their cake

Joseph has icing all over his face after eating cake at Lucy and Juan’s anniversary.

After the meal came music. There were all sorts of songs. Yonatan, Yessy, Eliza, Yoli and others are played together or separately. Yonatan and Yessy had some duets similar to what they played for us the other night. They even talked me into singing a song, for which I was totally unprepared. Juan and Lucy even grabbed the guitar and played a song.

Yonatan and Yessy sing at Lucy and Juan’s anniversary.

Eliza plays violin at Lucy and Juan’s anniversary.

Juan and Lucy sing at their anniversary

After a while I joined the kids at the cancha, where they had already been playing with their cousins. I brought my baseball gloves intending to play catch with Joseph, but he was in a mood and didn’t accept right away. But his cousins were eager to play, and so I played catch with Daniel, Abi, Raquel, and even Rebeca. They also played catch with each other. They got the hang of it pretty quickly. Abi and Raquel seemed particularly athletic, especially Raquel who is left-handed but was throwing right-handed since I brought two righty gloves.

Aby throws the baseball at the park near Lucy’s house. Photo by Jadzia.

The weather was so lovely, I really regretted wearing jeans. By the time we got home mine were pretty sweaty from all the catch. To finish the night, I introduced the family to the wonders of Ernest P. Worrell with the classic “Ernest Goes to Jail”. It’s a silly movie, but they all seemed to enjoy it.

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