Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sunday Translation

This has been so long ago I really can't believe how quickly time is passing. Leah commented that I could update more regularly if I said a little less in each post, but I don't seem to work that way. Apparently I'm chatty no matter what my medium! Toward the very end of October a Barnabas team was here, and Melvin Martinez invited them to a service at his church. Don Melvin's church services are of course in Spanish, and he was asking about translation help for the team. I didn't have any plans for the night he needed me, so I agreed no problemo. I'd never been to his church, Ebenezer, and I love any chance to do something new while I'm here. While I know I'm not fluent, especially when it comes to scripture, I figured it would be nice to hear a new pastor and whisper translate to the person next to me. I love getting to know the teams who come down, so it's hard not to jump at an opportunity to help them! Don Melvin had told me Ebenezer was organized pretty similarly to La Roca, so I fell into the rhythm of the round of alabanzas before the sermon. As we took our seats after the prayer and worship songs Kerlin, Melvin's daughter, came up to tell me there was a microphone for me up front. I looked at her like she had eight heads and said she must be confused. Don Melvin then came into view and he made quick moves with his eyes and without opening his mouth clearly told me, "Get that look off your face and walk your happy butt to the front. Gracias."

It's funny to write about this now, and I'm making a mental note of some potentials for my "work on me in 2012" journal as promptly as possible and embrace self-confidence a little more quickly. This first translation at Ebenezer was enveloped with so many different feelings. I remember leaving feeling sort of strange. Like I'd pushed my comfort zone to its extreme, and successfully, which was motivating. But now I've translated a few more times, and it's sort of funny to remember all the initial nervousness. Pastor Martir is so animated and passionate I think he does a wonderful job motivating people with scripture and his preaching. And all his animation makes translating for him a little fun, because I can gesture toward him and say, "What he did" rather than acting things out. He had a great message that night, but I spent about the first half of the sermon in this mental war. Part of me was having trouble not imagining dropping the microphone and running out of there, part of me was considering crying and another part of me was saying hellloooo you can do this, and you kind of have to do this so please get on board! From what I heard after the service, no one noticed this internal debate, so that's comforting. I gained experience that night that I'll always cherish. While I was struggling in my head I was reminding myself that this was so much bigger than my little worries about saying the wrong thing or not knowing the words. It felt like a weight was lifted when I decided all I could do was stand up there at the big scary microphone and break a language barrier to bring some of God's people closer together. Of course I could worry about missing something, but then that's what would have my focus. Instead I decided to focus on opening my heart to receiving the message, and giving it my all to convey that message to a couple rows of smiling faces. I could go on and on about the amazing power of perspective and the intent behind your actions, but instead I'll just recommend pushing your limits a little further than you think you can handle.

After the service Nancy came up and gave me the best hug and said some of the nicest things. She really is a special new friend. We spent hours one night talking about faith and all sorts of life lessons, and it was great getting closer to her. Most of the medical teams travel with cross necklaces that they wear everyday to give to people they meet throughout the week. They're given to someone you think needs the cross, or someone who touched your heart. I am pretty sure most teams travel with an abundance of necklaces, because their goal is to give lots away. I know when I was down here in March I gave a couple crosses away to people I didn't want to stop hugging. This country is full of kind hearts and incredibly interesting people. After Nancy's hug she told me some great things about the service, and then gave me her cross! It is a beautiful cross of nails and white wire. I have it hanging on my wall, and looking at it reminds me of the power of pushing your comfort zone and embracing your potential to grow. That team was full of lovely people, and they all had great hugs after the service. I spent a little more time with them before they returned to the States, and I feel blessed to have met them. It is pretty neat to bond with the teams as they travel, especially since the majority of the people are from Virginia! I think Melvin was the best after the service though. You see, he knows me well enough to know what was going through my head, but fortunately also knows how much I needed to experience that push. He had the sweetest face when he smiled and said to forgive him, but he knew I could do it.

It is nice to know there are so many people believing in me. Very cool to gain experiences I wasn't expecting over this year away, and motivating to think how much I'll gain if I push limits at every opportunity!