Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Ecumencial Worship for Peace

Last Sunday the 18th of October, DIPAZ (Dialogo Intereclesial por la Paz – Inter-church Dialogue for Peace) held an ecumenical celebration and worship service at the Lutheran Church of San Pablo in southern Bogota. The shared celebration was a fantastic display of the hard work to join hands, combine efforts, and build peace that many church members are involved in here in Colombia.

Celebrating together were members of Catholic, Presbyterian, Mennonite, Baptist, and Independent Evangelical churches, and, of course, the Lutheran congregation of San Pablo. 

DIPAZ will continue to promote ecumenical worship at other congregations around Bogota and hopefully they will grow outside of the city as well. The next one is already planned to be held at a Mennonite congregation, and will hopefully have the same showing as this one did.

A sign brought to help the message of the celebration, the translation is "A Peacemaker is an example of Jesus' forgiveness and reconciliation".
Lutheran Pastor Nelson Celis, of the congregation San Pablo, introducing the space and opening the worship celebration. Pastor Nelson has consistently been very supportive of my work with the human rights program as well as the participation of IELCO (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia) in DIPAZ.

Andres Alba, member of San Pablo and active participant in DIPAZ, currently he is volunteering to help coordinate the activities of DIPAZ. He is with his son Gabriel or Gabo. Andres helped facilitate the celebration, in this picture he is introducing the various guests that were visiting the church for this special celebration.
In this photo, Pastor Michael Joseph is introducing himself and his participation in DIPAZ. Michael is a fellow missionary from the United States, he is here jointly through the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ. Here in Colombia he works with the Peace Commission of the Evangelical Council of Colombia.
The worship included group activities intended to spark discussions about peace. In this picture the children are making hands out of blocks to represent they are God's hands in the world. 
Members of the Church on the Rock (Evangelical Independent) introducing themselves. The Church on the Rock participated very strongly with the monitoring and verification efforts of DIPAZ for the current unilateral ceasefire of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).
Abilio Peña from the Inter-church Commission for Justice and Peace (a member of DIPAZ) offered the message for the ecumenical service, focusing on the reality of conflict in Colombia and the role of the church to work for peace. Abilio is a founding member of DIPAZ and is very involved in the defense of human rights and the promotion of peace in Colombia 
Gabo getting in some drum "practice" before the celebration started.
(All photos in the blog were taken by Katie)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Learning and Laughing

I want to be good at Spanish, I don't want to know just enough to get by, but I want to be really good. I want to be understood all the time and understand all the time. Here especially, but I imagine this is true to some extent learning any language, I have learned to laugh at myself. I have said the wrong thing, mixed up my words, and embarrassed myself probably more than I even know. It happens regularly. I have learned to laugh at myself first, and then ask someone to explain to me what I said this time.

There was one time someone asked me how long I had been married, I very happily responded that I had been *tired* 7 years [cansado vs casado]. Another time at lunch I ordered *a lettuce* for lunch. The waiter just starred at me until I realized what I said and corrected it to chicken [lechuga vs pechuga]. Then there was the time when I was planning some games for a retreat; I was introducing some Minute to Win It games. I was writing out the instructions and asked someone to edit them; I was trying to explain the game where you use a straw and suck up pieces of paper to move them from one side to another. Well, I got the word wrong for straw and suck.....my boss laughed so hard he cried (thankfully it was only him and not in front of the whole retreat).

My Spanish Class: left sitting is Howard, Angela (the professor), behind them Samuel, me and Jordan.
(Photo credits: Another Professor at the school on Howard's phone)
Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a blog called Gracia (Grace)....I wrote about learning Spanish and starting a 6 week intensive Spanish class, and how gracious everyone I work with was. A year later, everyone continues to be gracious, we laugh together at my mistakes, and I am learning. Now, a year later, I also just finished 2 more weeks at the intensive Spanish school. A very common question we are asked is how much of our work is in Spanish....all of it! I speak English one hour a week in the office, and that is during an English class Curtis and I teach (which I will blog about another day), the rest of the work is in Spanish.

My drawing and my partners play-dough figure 
following my directions.
(Photo credits: me)
So I went back to Spanish school. It was fun to have a change of pace, and really dive deeper into Spanish. I learned a lot, filled up a good portion of my Spanish notebook, and made some new friends. This was a small class, with only 4 students! The activity that we did on the last day of class (well, last day for me, students come and go as their schedules allow at this school) was practicing using command form. In Spanish everything conjugates differently depending on what you want to say. So, saying "wash your hands" for example can be said many different ways, depending on what you are trying to convey. This also becomes more complicated if you want to say "don't wash your hands". The last day we were practicing the command form in negative (don't wash your hands). We talked about what you shouldn't do on a date. The activity ended with everyone drawing a picture and then explaining (using positive command form) what your partner should make using play-dough.

Now I am back in the office for full days again, it's good to be back into my normal routine and fun to start practicing everything I have learned.