For my site visit I was undecided where to go since I know I easily become bored or sleepy on the weekends. The week before I had to go to a church a group of women were visiting houses in my neighborhood, I thought they were Jehovah witness because there is a church close to my house but they were Christian. They invited me to their church telling me that next week it’s their 20th anniversary and they will be more than happy so show me around and answer any question I have. I decided to go on a Friday dress usual and I was surprise to see that they to their service is in a school close to my house. As soon I got into the school parking lot I was welcome even when I was not even out of my car by the people. I saw that more than half of the people was dress usual, maybe it was because it was not a Sunday but Friday. I walked to the auditorium afraid I might not like it , that I will get bored alone,and the more people I was the more nervous I became. But, as soon the gate keeper welcome me told me where to seat I felt less anxious, and he gave me a paper at the entrance that’s only for the new people. I wrote my name and info on the piece of paper and gave it back to one the ladies that was also a gate keeper. Soon after that the pastor got on stage and started welcoming the people and also the new ones one by one. I was so nervous because I didn’t know they were going to do that. The pastor said my name I got up and the people started clapping, shaking my hand and one lady even hugged me and welcome me.
After that the curtain on the stage open and the band started playing and the first thing I notice was that they had four flags, one the American flag, Israel, Christian, and the last one I couldn’t recognize it. I truly can say that when I heard the band instead of getting bored it made me feel happy and I even sang one song because I liked the rhythm. I could see the people’s faces enjoying and singing the songs from memory even when they had a screen with the lyrics. Moreover, one thing I notice as soon as I got into the auditorium was that about 70-80% of the people had the same black shirt with an emblem saying Bethany church 20th anniversary. For me the services felt more like a party from the past, the present and the future. Every 5 to 7 minutes they stop and showed a video of the members of the church saying their experiences and how long they have been church member some were crying with happiness. Others telling their story how they came to the church most of them came through a summer program that the church has every year. One thing I got amazement was to see one girl from the same high school I went to she was also in one of the video that said that in the present she thanks God for the pastors and also for the opportunity of going to medical school this semester. I almost cry seeing all the videos and stories of the church members I could see that they were not only like a community of believers but they were also a family. After the band stop playing and also the videos one of the girls singing prayed for the offerings, giving thanks to God for the life, health, and what the people receives and gives to God should be given with a joyful heart and said amen as well the people. A line formed of people with an envelope with money giving their offerings to a person that was holding a little basket.
Finally, at the end the pastor walked to the stage and started preaching giving thanks to God. He said that without God he is nothing and he was also giving thanks for the freedom he was in this country and said that in Cuba he was sentence of about 20 or 30 years in prison for preaching is not even stealing but just talking about God. I was writing notes about what he was talking and in my mind I thinking that I like a looked like a weirdo, but I was not the only one taking notes also the church members. I asked why they were writing what the pastor was saying and the lady told me that is was because the church members get together in groups of 2-17 people and talk about the service and what they learned from it reading as well again the bible verses that the pastor read. For me it was an interesting experience and I am happy that I went to church and learned about them. It was an experience that I will never forget seeing whole families together singing. The gender ratio in that church was balanced and I was shocked to see that since I always thought that more women go to church than men. I will go back again to that church and also the oldest daughter of the pastor invited me her group to learn, review, and also ask questions about what I didn’t understand. Next time I visit the church I will be more informed about their practices, how, when, and why they do them.