It was a beautiful clear evening. We were in a small church in the mountains high above the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia. We had a beautiful view of the city lights. My husband and I had been ministering there with a team from Costa Rica. One of the local workers invited us to visit her home church. Most of the members were Quechuan and did not speak Spanish fluently. The moment we stepped into the building everybody was eager to make our acquaintance. We were greeted with the usual Bolivian way of hand shake, kiss, hand shake again. At my 5′-3“ height, I was a head taller than most women. They wore their traditional colorful skirts, typical hats and long braids past their waists. I definitely did not look like them and did not even speak their language. And yet…I felt at home! I was with my family! My family in Christ!

I have never felt more like I was participating in a true New Testament church than that evening. The service was conducted in a mixture of Spanish and Quechuan. There was singing and praying. My husband shared a brief message in Spanish and it was translated to Quechuan, followed by a message from one of the elders. What a treat!

When it was time for communion, the leaders announced that a member of the congregation who was put under Elder discipline had gone through all the requirements and was ready to be reinstated. The congregation was asked if they agreed that he could again participate in the communion service. They did. Then we were asked to get on our knees (on the tile floor) and get our hearts right with the Lord by confessing any sins committed. People all around me were whispering prayers in Quechuan. I was praying in Spanish. John was praying in English. After a while, still with our heads bowed, we were asked if we had anything against a brother or a sister to get up and reconcile. I could hear some shuffling of chairs and feet. Then there was a final prayer, we sat up, and communion started pretty much how we conduct it in our congregation.

This was the closest I have ever felt to real communion with my brothers and sisters in the Lord. I still get tears in my eyes thinking about that experience. The service lasted over two hours. The best two hours I have ever spent. I will probably never see those dear people again until we get to heaven. But I am looking forward to that event described in Revelation 7:9-10, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ”Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”’

If you have the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart, you can also look forward to that event, but you can have glimpses here on Earth as my husband and I did that evening. You can participate in short or long term missions and experience the joy of being with our global family in Christ.

Isabel Hines
Global Outreach Council

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