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An hour into the worship service after 4 baptisms, 3 weddings, and 6 first communions, it hit me. "I'm here," I thought to myself as my mind slowed down. "I am so grateful to be here."
Maybe it was the heavy smell of incense burning on the altar. Perhaps the swelling humidity finally got to me. But even more likely, it was the Holy Spirit, pulling at my heart strings once again.
Because who else but God could imagine this moment? Who else but God could imagine that the lives of these people could intercept? Who else but God could imagine that native Mayans and Minnesotans could share life around the font, the table, and the Word? After traveling to visit our partner congregation in Cimiento, I can say with certainty, that "nothing will be impossible with God." (Luke 1:37) Because who else but God could turn this vision of a church partnership into a vibrant, real, relationship?
I had moments like this throughout our entire trip; when I was overwhelmed with gratitude, when the Divine would tap me on my shoulder and remind me to take a look around. "Look at where you are! Look at where I AM!" God would whisper to me.
God's voice lifted from a whisper to a loud and resounding "YES!" when we took time to wash the feet of the women at La Santa Cruz de la Esperanza, who worked so hard to show hospitality to us. God's laughter was the loudest of them all when the younger children climbed on our backs and the older children giggled at our feeble attempts at Spanish. God's embrace was the warmest when we had to say our goodbyes before jumping into the back of a pickup truck to drive through the jungle and back to the Lutheran Center.
God's presence is palpable in places like Cimiento, where gratitude pours out of each cup of sweet coffee, and where God's praises are sung in the morning by roosters.
When you begin a partnership with a congregation in the ILAG, or travel for the first time to meet them, I can't tell you what you will see or do. I don't know what you will experience or learn. But what I do know is that "nothing will be impossible with God" and that the overwhelming power of God's presence will greet you.
The Rev. Ali Ferin
St. Michael's Lutheran, Roseville