Today was our first Sunday here. We arrived at Marangatu with the Pastor just before 8:00AM. The church provides a snack for the kids before service so we drank Tang and ate cheese puffs and cookies together. Then we all went in the sanctuary.
They used the new digital projector for the first time during service. They have one already that is very useful too, but this one has a higher lumen so it’s great for daylight services. When David, the tech guy, saw it, he respectfully called it “beautiful” which was a funny moment. The projector was purchased for the school with missions funds. It’s already coming to great use for church functions and Shin is going to use it for teaching computer class in a few weeks.
We were very lucky at the airport because the security can impose taxes for expensive equipment if they want. But it was in the backpack and it went through all the machines just fine. We were also lucky they didn’t open our suitcase full of supplies. It was potentially problematic to put everything back in if they took everything out. Also, we had a paper cutter, pots and pans, two full art boxes, etc. We thank God for the ease of transportation and letting us get all our bags back on time.
Then children’s praise and service started. The children’s songs are great and full of energy! More than once during the praise here, I thought to myself, “How great if we brought these songs back and translated them.” But then I’m reminded that it’s not the songs that make praise meaningful. Hopefully Shin will be able to post movies up soon so you can hear. They sang a few recognizable ones too, like “I’m in the Lord’s army,” and “Trading My Sorrows.”
The adult service was interesting. The order of worship was praise, offering, announcements, praise and then message. The announcements were much longer than the message.
The people here are so friendly. Before & after service, people came up to us to shake our hands and give blessings. It’s a wonderful example that we hope to take back with us. Of course, there are also a few that are more shy who wait until someone introduces them or until we come up to them.
After service we went home and had lunch with the missionary family. They made kimbap and miyuk gook. It was so good. Hopefully, Maru, our tutor will take us to the Korean sector soon for groceries.
At around 4pm we went back out with the Pastor to one of Marangatu’s extension churches east of Villa Elisa. It’s called La Lomita. Currently there’s a pastor, his wife and 6 kids that live in the community as missionaries. Marangatu also regularly sends out volunteers for Sunday school. It is completely a children’s ministry for kids.
The entrance to La Lomita
We went inside as the service was going on. The kids here love to go up to the front and do hand motions. For every song there are a bunch of volunteers. They also love to take the microphone and sing. It was really adorable. There were also two slightly older kids that dressed up as clowns (I’m pretty sure it was the missionary’s kids). In the meanwhile, outside some teens were playing volleyball. So I played with them. Who knew that God would use even my love of volleyball to relate to people of another culture. I feel extremely lucky about volleyball and pasta.
The left half of the room
See all the kids up in front doing handmotions
One of the two men up front is the missionary.
After service the kids got Barbie dolls
As we were driving back, the missionary told us he is in the middle of formulating a plan to provide bread and milk to the kids atleast once a week. Half the kids have been abandoned by their own parents and live with cousins or aunts. Most aren’t fed regularly or properly so they’re not healthy. He says it would cost about $40 a week to feed 150 kids. We are ready to be involved with that. Next Sunday we will visit the other children’s church led by Pastor Freddy.
I made tomato sauce from scratch yesterday using fresh tomatoes, roasted garlic, cilantro, and tomato extract (it was more like salsa). We ate it with chicken & cheese ravioli. It was the second meal I cooked here. But it was a landmark for me because I have a fear of germs and it’s been hard to feel at ease in the kitchen. Here’s a picture of dinner.
The rest of the evening after dinner we finally rested. We came here with so much excitement and readiness to do everything but our bodies are not handling it well. I’ve been sick with a cold with slow healing. And we are easily fatigued by the sun. We haven’t been diligent about asking God to protect our health. Luckily, Missionary Cho and his wife know better than us that we need to rest before the school year begins and build up stamina. Especially because, she says, we were under a lot of stress right before we arrived. I’m really grateful for their wisdom and generosity.