Tuesday, April 28, 2015

El Cocuy: Misión en el Camino (mission trip)

Our group (left to right): Rosy, me, Monica, Angela
During Holy Week (I know that was awhile ago, and I am late in writing this blog), a group of four from Bogota went to El Cocuy (another group went to Bucaramanga). We left Wednesday morning (April 1), and our activities started Thursday morning. The bus trip from Bogota to El Cocuy was 13 hours! Normally it takes between 8-10 hours... The Misión en el Camino is like a mission trip to accompany churches that are either without pastor or have a request for help. El Cocuy was without pastor when we planned this trip, but by the time we got there, they had a pastor. 

Thursday morning we started with a liturgy workshop. This time was devoted to talking about the order of worship, why we, as Lutherans, do things in the order we do and what the significant of each part of worship is.

Thursday afternoon was the women’s group. This group talked about the ‘recipe’ to have a heart of God. We used the example of making a cake, so of course, we all made a cake together (a no-bake coffee cake). We then shared the cakes with everyone after the Maundy Thursday worship. 

The mission congregation: Valle de Bendición
Friday was devoted to preparing and leading worship for the mission congregation of El Cocuy, “Valle de Bendición” (there is a congregation in El Cocuy, El Salvador, and their mission up the mountain, Valle be Bendición). This was interesting for me, because on Thursday I was asked to preach for this service…in Spanish. The group I was with told me it was okay if it was a short sermon, so it was. At one point in the sermon I was talking about Bible verses that we know by heart, I told the congregation that one of my favorites is Psalm 121: “I lift my eyes up to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made the 
Me with my translator, Salmon Usa
heavens and the Earth.” However, because I was talking about verses that our in our heart, that we know by heart, I told the congregation this one is in my heart in English, and said the verse in English (but said where it was from in Spanish). A gentleman in the back, after I finished it in English repeated it in Spanish. The whole congregation teased him saying they didn't know he knew English, and he was now my translator (I’m guessing this was also a verse he knew by heart, so when I said Psalm 121, he knew exactly what I was talking about. Preaching was a terrifying experience for me in Spanish, but also a very incredible opportunity, and a very special (and gracious) congregation.

Saturday was the children’s party. The party included a skit (by the children) about a thief of happiness. Every time a child would walk on stage the thief of happiness would steal their toy, until the last person was only happy because she had Jesus in her heart, the thief of happiness could not steal her happiness. There were also group games, songs,snacks and at the end every child received a gift bag/party favor.

The children playing a game. 
Sunday was Easter, after the Easter service we went for a hike up to a lookout where we could see all of El Cocuy as well as bunch of mountains and snow! It was beautiful – a great place for our group to sit quietly and reflect about the week, and about the promises of Easter. It was a very full week, but a great experience. I arrived back in Bogota (after another long bus ride) exhausted, but happy to have been part of such an incredible week.