2015 Chile Mission Update – March 20


Rev. Tom Duley PreachingOne of the joys of coming to El Vergel is also one of the most important reasons for doing so. That is to meet people from a different country and culture. By doing so we get to have some limited understanding of what the lives of others are like. When this occurs we gain some Insight into both how we are different from them and how we are similar them.

On our first Sunday here we attended worship at the Emmaus Methodist Church. We received a joyous welcome from the members. Everyone was greeted with a smile, a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Of course, we would welcome with handshakes all around. The sense of welcome was the same as it would be at home but the method of welcome was very different.

The worship service itself had many of the elements of worship that we employ. There was singing, praying, preaching and the reading of Scripture. These elements of worship we hold in common. However, there was no creed recited, no praying of the Lord’s Prayer, no anthem, no choir, no Gloria Patri. These elements of worship which are central to our experience of worship are not a part of their experience of worship. Yet God is worshipped in both churches.

El Vergel churchThen there are other differences that are small but interesting. For instance, when purchasing ice cream you pay and order first, then you hand your order ticket to the server who fills your order. It’s just the opposite of how we do it. Or, when you use a credit card to make a purchase you are asked whether you want to charge it all at once or break it into four separate monthly charges. That’s an option some of us might like but it isn’t available to us. Here, buses play a much bigger role in transporting people than they do at home. There are several bus companies. Intercity buses are coming and going all the time. The buses are comfortable and customer friendly. These are small differences which help us to understand that other people see the world differently. Things get done. They just get done differently.

From one culture to another; from one country to another there are small differences as well as significant differences in the way things are accomplished. But no matter where I go I am always reminded of one thing. The truth of the Christian faith is that we can be outside our own country in a foreign country and still be with family … our brothers and sisters in Christ. We leave our families and churches only to find other family members and churches in a country far away from our own. They may do things differently but in the final analysis there is much that we hold In common. To learn that truth is more than reason enough to participate on an international VIM team.

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