Last Sunday my son and I had the privilege of attending a Spanish Assembly Of God. My son had to do monthly projects for Spanish class and had wanted to attend a Spanish church. I speak and understand very little Spanish. In fact the Spanish I did learn was off of children’s shows such as Sesame Street, Maya and Miguel, Dora and the like. My son, Tyler, age sixteen, was quick to point out the patheticness (if that is even a word! LOL!) of the whole situation. He is probably right, but I won’t let him know that. In fact, when I was in school, I learned German. Unfortunately it was not the same dialect they teach today but it did help me with my Pennsylvania Dutch when I became a nursing assistant as well as it helped me understand some of the conversations the local Amish would use. Who doesn’t want a leg-up on that?! LOL!
My son and I showed up for the service early thinking we could slip, unnoticed, into a back row. I did not wish to be too noticeable as I was in the middle of my sinus infection and bronchitis. We discover quickly that there is no hiding. People were continually approaching and greeting us with “Que Dios Te Bendiga! God bless you!” I quickly learned to reply in my limited Spanish, “Gracias!” to the amusement of my son. However when they learned I understood little Spanish, they would try to make us go to the English service and then we would have to explain that my son was learning Spanish and we wished to be there. It was not a bad thing. I just grew tired of explaining.
I did, however, feel touched by the constant greeting of God bless you. These people were not only saying “hello”. They were actually administering a blessing. How many times have I or anyone else actually sought to bless others in greeting? To them it was not just a formality. It was a way of life and I felt blessed just being there. Another thing they would do in greeting one another is a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I was raised in a church where a Kiss of Charity was given but this bore more sweetness and less formality that I had grown accustomed to. Another similarity was, when we arrived, there were several people on their knees “backward” praying in the pew. The church I had grown up in also prayed like this although you did not see them doing it on their own before the services. The music was beautiful and, even though I understood little, I was able to sing along with the words on the screen because I knew enough how to pronounce it. I left feeling blessed and would most certainly return, should the chance present it self.