The sun hitting the tin roof of the church in San Benito begins to warm up worshippers as the service goes on, but we hardly notice as we are treated to so many children’s performances, songs, puppet shows, and even a skit.
Upon arrival earlier that morning, we were greeted by a barrage of popping balloons, a firecracker welcome, as the children gathered to greet us at the gate. Their little hands reached out to touch us as we walked past, and shy smiles welcomed us to their church, Fuente de Vida.
I was surprised when I saw the church name painted on a wall I passed on the way to my seat. Fuente de Vida, Fountain of Life, is the name of my church at home. The church where I was married 19 years ago, where all of my children have been baptized, where my family continues to attend today.
I’ve always heard God is in the details, so why am I surprised by this beautiful reminder of home as I am missing my own family this Sunday morning?
Two young girls stand at the pulpit now, ready to sing, as the opening notes to Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” are played. They sing a worship song in Spanish to the tune of that 1960s hit, and despite a lack of comprehension on my part, the song is deeply moving to me.
It is ironic, as this church service has been anything but silent. This is a group full of energy and love. We have clapped energetically to the rhythm during most songs, and we can hear children playing, chairs moving, even full conversations all around us throughout the service.
After a short message by Pastor Jesús, the service winds down, and we are given cake, baked by the project’s own bakery students, and bracelets, made by the project’s jewelry-making students. We are treated with love and hospitality by our brothers and sisters in Christ at Fuente de Vida, and I suspect this is a service I’ll not soon forget.