Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Traveling Church Brigade

We need a name. Something more catchy than the traveling church brigade, but a name is definitely necessary. Bismark asked me if I wanted to go to El Crucero with him yesterday. Of course I said yes. I’m not passing up an opportunity to see part of the country.
So Bismark, his guitar playing “brother” from church and his wife and 3 kids came to pick me up yesterday. We met the pastor at some random gas station along the way and off we went.
No. I’m not here in Nicaragua as a missionary. By any stretch. The traveling church brigade simply creates opportunities for people who want to worship to be able to. That- I can be a part of. I have trouble with the concept of missionaries who feel it’s their duty to convert others to their beliefs and interests, insisting on the “right” way to worship and the “right” God to believe in. The traveling church brigade simply provides an opportunity for others to worship. Traveling with Bismark and the crew simply gives me an opportunity to see parts of the country that I otherwise wouldnt, and meet incredible people.

We drove for 45 minutes to this gorgeous mountain top community. The temperature was 12 degrees (celcius) colder and incredibly windy. It was no longer shorts and short sleeves weather, but the Nicaraguans who live there don’t have warm clothing. They don’t have anything.
Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere- next to Haiti. More than half of the population here lives in poverty. Half. Its hard to believe that its not just one small community that I’m working with in La Chureca.  The poverty is everywhere.

The sun was setting into the ocean as they began the service. Yup. I got to make my speech in front of this congregation as well. White people clearly don’t make it to El Crucero very often. I tried to sit discreetly in the back and just listen, but everyone turned to watch me instead of the preacher.
The kids loved my camera- partly, because it made them the center of attention for a few seconds, but also because they got to look at the picture afterwards and see themselves.  Difficult to get my head around, but there is no way these people had any sort of mirrors around their houses, and it was probably a rare opportunity to be able to see themselves.
The people of the congregation eagerly and gratefully accepted clothing donations after the service. Beautiful, peaceful, heartwrenching and hopeful.

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