Day 6 – Maggie
Today we had the opportunity to attend the Tree of Life Sunday worship service. Tree of Life is the local church run by members of the Caring Hearts Ministry and is headed by Pastor Francisco along with his family. Today was their Father’s Day service, and it was hands down the best church service I have ever attended. Every second of it was engaging and exciting and Pastor Francisco’s ability to not only translate but interpret between Spanish and English while still maintaining the same amount of zeal and emotion was incredible to witness. He also plays the drums and is the sole singer of the church band. We have no idea how he does it. The church was decked out in mustaches, bowler hats, and bowties in honor of Father’s Day.
The service started off with singing, and despite the songs being in Spanish it was easy to catch on and the band was incredible. Father’s Day can be a sad day for those who do not have a father, at least in an earthly sense. However, Francisco and Jenny (his wife) turned the focus of Father’s Day to our Father in heaven, so everyone could celebrate. The sermon message focused on our perfect Father in heaven that our fathers on Earth can look up to. They really emphasized that we should not be looking to our earthly father or lack of father - if that is the case - to provide us with everything that we need. Our Father in heaven is the only Father who can provide us with everything. It was a really neat message, and I loved how it included everyone since the boys from the Oasis orphanage would most likely have a difficult time celebrating with a father of their own. You could tell that the congregation felt really connected with the message Francisco was giving.
The youth and women of the church gave some awesome performances after the sermon. Their dance team used flags and tambourines to do 2 different dances to songs that illustrated love for fathers and our Father. The youth also did an interpretive play that went along with a song. It was definitely the most unique church performance I have ever witnessed. It was nice to see a different way to worship, and it kept everyone engaged.
Once, the service was done, the games began. The youth leader brought up volunteering dads to the front of the church and had them compete in hilarious games for prizes. The first game was a soccer ball juggling contest, whichever dad could juggle for the longest won a prize. Then there was some storytelling and the ultimate dad test, “Do you know all of your children’s birthdays?”. I’m proud to say my dad got all of ours right. By far, the funniest dad game was a banana eating contest at the end.
Then like any good event, the service ended with delicious food – chicken bowtie pasta salad, refried beans, jalapeños, chips, and cake.