When the Church of the Redeemer in Caracol is full, there can be up to 300 or 400 people worshiping inside the beautiful open-air sanctuary, which is about the size of the fellowship hall in our church in America. Here is my memory of a Sunday service from one of trips in 2015 taken from my journal:
It is so peaceful to be in the spirit of the beautiful Haitian brothers and sisters, always moving but always at a slow pace. listening to the quiet shuffle of their feet on the concrete floor of the church as they press together 20 or 30 people to a pew, holding babies on their laps in 100-degree heat, little children moving up and down the aisles in their Sunday-best dress and shiny black shoes. The harmony of the voices lifting up praise together; the cadence of the prayers that are poured out unashamed and earnestly, the whir of the overhead ceiling fans stirring around the heat which no one (not even the stately elders of the church delivering communion in their dark suits and pressed white shirts) seem to notice. They are here for the purpose of worshiping God, who provides for them in a primitive manner that we are unable to fathom. The preacher is pouring out word from the Holy Spirit about being the Salt and Light of the community, in a village of 6000.
In America, we have a tendency to separate between the haves and have nots… by these standards everyone in this village has nothing. But what they do have is a spirit of peace and thanksgiving as they worship their Faithful God whom they depend on for everything. Their praise and worship is from their hearts. I can’t help but think about how in America, we have too much of everything. We do not learn to depend on God for anything. One of God’s many promises is that He will provide for our every need… but then we do not live like we believe that promise. When worshiping in Caracol, we learn very quickly just how faithful the Lord is and we see firsthand the faith of people who know this faithfulness, we see the love of Jesus on their smiling faces, and we feel the presence of the Holy Spirit that is inspirational and humbling. To fix my eyes on God over here is as easy as breathing. My humble prayer today is to take this level of worship and closeness to my Savior back home to America.