Today was our first day back in the States and I attended church at Bluff Dale with my parents. As I sat listening to the service I was struck by the stark differences and yet similarities between our church in Honduras and the service here in the States. I thought I would share a few of the differences.
1.) I got out of my car and walked into the church without crawling through a fence, stepping over cow poo, going around pigs, and walking over a log to get into the house church.
2.) It started on time. Our church is supposed to start at 10:00 but that is very flexible. When they see our truck pull up the kids will run from various houses to come to Sunday School. Adults will trickle in, eventually the final one may come about 10:30.
3.) I understood the whole service! I speak decent Spanish but it takes a lot of concentration and even then I miss a good deal of what’s said so it was nice to just sit and understand all that was said.
4.) People look very different here. Of course the most obvious is the hair and skin tone differences. I saw blonde hair, brown hair, light brown hair, dark brown hair, no hair, black hair, gray hair and all the in-betweens. The same with skin tones. In our church, and in our country, we typically see only black hair and dark skin… and then us.
5.) Everyone was all dressed up and looking pretty. In Honduras, people do not typically dress up for church. Most kids come barefoot, with dirty or stained clothes and the adults are not much different.
6.) Everyone was quiet during the service. In our church it is culturally acceptable to talk during church and for kids to walk around and come and go as they please. It was a little strange for the service today to be so orderly.
7.) When the offering is taken in Honduras it is done by an individual walking to ask each person for their offering. Here, it is much less personal and no one would not notice if you gave money or not.
8.) The singing was on key and there were instrurments with the singing. No further comment needed.
9.) I sat in a comfy pew, was warm and did not get bitten by any bugs. Our churches have homemade benches made of tree trunks and no back and certainly no cushion.
10.) No chickens came pecking around my feet in the middle of service.
11.) There was no cooking stove being tended to in the kitchen where the kids meet. The lady of the house is usually cooking supper or tending the fire for the oven while church is going on. Unfortunately this does not keep the house warm so I am still cold in the winter.
11.) In America, when someone prays, others pray silently or day dream. In Honduras, when one person prays, everyone else joins in prayer out loud. At first this was very distracting and after a couple months annoying. However, I have come to appriciate this over time. There is something very special about hearing many people lifting up their prayers as one voice. Try it sometime… you might find you like it.
However, with all the differences the most important things stays the same here as well as in Honduras. We all worship the same God and Savior, Jesus Christ; who looks past our differences and sees a group of people, His people.