Sunday, 6/16:  Day 3, Nicaragua

Something else which hit me at 5:15am this morning about Nicaragua – I sleep ridiculously soundly here.  And it’s a good thing I’m sleeping in a twin bed or else some physical hitting would have occurred to curb the jake brake-like snoring.  Forget an alarm clock.  I scare myself awake in this country.
After breakfast, our facilitator, Alicia, took us to church in Terrencio.  Terrencio is the village where we spent the majority of our time last year; we split into groups every morning, but reconvened at noon for lunch and an afternoon of VBS in the classrooms.  Lunch was delivered in boxes to the church, which was perfect since its daily consumption mimicked the Last Supper – a morning of machete’ing is not for the faint of heart.  So this morning I could not wait to arrive at the same church and all its familiarity, this time for a 2 hour worship service.
As our bus turned off the dirt road onto the main cobblestone street, children began to run and wave wildly.  I was looking for Rosa – a clever and savvy girl who engaged in an understood quasi-power struggle with me the first day we met last year.  By day two, she was engaging in a baseball power struggle; by day three, she was wearing an OSU hat. 
In fact she was the same girl who literally stopped the bus as we pulled away for the last time, pushed open the doors, climbed the steps and yelled, “Bet!  Bet!  Don’t leave me!”  I hugged her tightly, looked at her tears through mine, and promised her I’d return. 
Rosa was not in Terrencio earlier today, but I caught the back of her through the bus window.  We bumpily rode through the neighboring village she calls home (El Porvenir) on our way back to the hotel.  I’d know that confident, cocky stride anywhere.   Her now 12 year-old self seemed 
unchanged from afar, but I have no doubt she still rules the roost, as well as all the boys.  I can’t wait to hug her again tomorrow.
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“Church” is different here.  It’s intense.  It’s moving and uplifting in ways which are indescribable unless you’re standing there, taking it all in amidst the excessively thick air.  Oh the air.  It simply does not flow inside that building, rendering its inhabitants sticky, smelly, nasty messes in a hurry.  Everything must be covered out of reverence to God, and we happily complied.  My sundress was soaked inside of 7 minutes, coming in second place only to a lightweight (or so I thought) cover-up counterpart.  I could not have cared any less.  Nor could any other soaking wet attendees.
The congregants movewhen they sing.  They feel when they respond.  They lovewith all their hearts. 
…All in Spanish. 
I understood roughly 20% at best of what was being said for 2 solid hours, yet, like last year, I was moved at my core.  Some things you don’t have to fully understand to just fully know.
“Where two or more are gathered…”  No matter the country, no matter the setting, no matter the language – we all worship the same God.  The One who knows us, and loves us anyway.