We went to church this morning.
It's a small church - maybe 30 people - and we walked there in 10 minutes.
We like it so far and they seem to preach sound doctrine from the Bible. I say 'seems' because we only understand 70-80% of what they are saying and there could be something wacky in that 20-30%.
We are, of course, the only white people in the service. We have not been able to attend regularly because we're out of town a lot on Sundays. So when we're there they make a big deal out of it, have us stand up, thank the Missionaries for coming, and we wave and look embarrassed and point to the ceiling trying in some way to deflect the attention back to Jesus.
Today the service went a little long. They had a guest preacher. He was 70-80% great. Deacon got a little restless and Jenny took him outside. So there I was all alone on the front row. The preacher (not the guest one, the regular one) gets up and starts to pray. And they pray loud here and say, "En el nombre de Je-SUS...AMEN!" a lot and so I think it's fun because most US churches I've been to seem afraid to get excited when they pray. Not that getting excited is the point, but sometimes, talking to God should be exciting, right?
So a couple comes up and the preachers (guest and regular) are up there with them, and the regular preacher asks me to come up and pray for this couple.
I look up.
He says, "venga" - "come", and waves me up front.
I walk up front and quietly ask the pastor what these folks want prayer for because, well, I wasn't paying full attention and when you multiply the fact that I was only half paying attention with only understanding 70% of what he was saying - well, I was no math major, but that adds up to not getting what's going on. Certainly not well enough to pray a Big Missionary Prayer for these folks. So the pastor tells me nothings wrong and that they just want a blessing.
And so I pray.
Now, I wasn't really listening to myself, but I'm pretty sure it went something like this:
[word-for-word translation] -- this is what I said - there are no typos.
"Holy Father, thank you for your love and for life eternal. Thank you for your son and that because of him we have life, because of his blood. And thank you that gave us eternal live on this planet and for all eternity. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for my sister and brother and I pray that you to give them power and grace and your life. In the name Je-SUS...AMEN"
And there were some "amen's" out there. And the pastor patted my back and pointed to my very lonely front row seat. And I went back and sat down.
Normally, when we enter the service, everyone knows we are missionaries and so we get sort of this wow factor: people sort of look up to us. We don't like it, but that's how it is.
Not so much anymore.
You know when someone says something that doesn't really make sense or apply to the situation, you know the look people get? THAT is the look I got today. And usually when we visit this church and the service ends folks sort of crowd around us and everyone shakes our hands.
Not so much today.
And so, finally, I managed to knock us (or at least me) off the Missionary Pedestal for now.
We'll see if they ever ask me to preach.