A Welcome As Warm As A Casserole

The last couple of weeks, our family has been visiting a Spanish-speaking church in the city.

A few months ago, Billy stopped being a Bimbo, and I began to point out that his connection with other Latinos was disappearing. I have learned from past experience the importance of those spaces where he can relax in the culture and the language.

Around the same time, I was listening to someone else mention how their child is usually the only one of her ethnicity in a group of kids. Suddenly, I was convicted. 

Ella is getting to the age where she is making friends and talks about them (constantly!). None are Latino. I love all her little comrades, but I hope that she can also know other Latino kids in her circle as she grows up.

So we decided to again explore the possibility of a Latino church.

We’ve gone back and forth over the years about church. We feel like one of us always has to fully sacrifice worshiping and building community in our native language, and that is such a challenge when it comes to spirituality. But I was willing to give it another shot, so off we went.

Immediately upon arriving, I could sense Billy’s joy as the warm greetings poured in. He has always struggled with what feels to him like coldness in the way Americans barely, or not at all, acknowledge others in social settings, especially strangers.

Not here. In fact, we’d been there less than ten minutes before a woman I’d never met before was rubbing my pregnant belly. Between that and her asking me questions in Spanish with me trying quickly to translate and respond (I’m super out of practice!), I must have looked like a deer in headlights.

After she walked away, Billy leaned over to me. “We’re not in an American church anymore!” he announced gleefully. Then he nodded to the back of the room, “There’s a corner, would you like to go hide in it?” Awesome. 

It may be true that I have been conditioned to ease into new social settings, which may possibly be interpreted by my Latino husband that I’m shy and rude. But he knows that’s not the truth, and I am getting better at embracing the culture of the warm welcome (and good-bye). I actually really do believe it is a practice I should incorporate more.

As far as the Spanish church, it was a pleasant surprise. With a high population of second generation immigrants, nearly everyone we met also spoke English. The sermon translation was one of the best I’ve heard in my years of wearing headphones during a service. And several of the worship songs were sung in both English and Spanish. 

So we will continue to visit, and I am excited about getting to know others in the church better. After all, I’ve been kissed and had my belly rubbed… so I’d love to learn some names…

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  1. We can never find the right church either. It is hard to please two people, let alone two people with different native languages and cultures!

    1. Absolutely! Since Billy and I met at church, I think this challenge has been a surprising one. And now the added incorporation of a child has added a new twist!


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