Last Sunday was the date for the church picnic for Iglesia Biblica (Bible Church) in Atenas. We walked to the church about 8:30am and caught a ride in one of several vans that were being used to take people to the picnic site (about 15 minutes away). The picnic area is a property that is privately owned that includes an open park area, swimming pool, a food prep building, tent, and, of course, a futbol (soccer) field. There was also a large, blow-up bounce house/slide. That looked like a blast, but, unfortunately, there was a height/weight restriction...
The day started off with a service, including the Worship Team and a message given by the American pastor, Steve (translated by one of the church members). Pastor Oldemar, the actual Pastor of the church, was also in attendance.
The Worship Team was plugged in and provided some great music to start off the service. All of the songs were in Spanish, except one. Here are a couple of samples of the music from the service:
The blonde singer is the daughter of some expat friends of ours from the church. They moved to Atenas about a year and a half ago, from Missouri. Since the daughter is a native English speaker, she led the only song they performed in English. It's one we really like. It's very moving to hear a familiar Christian song when you are quite a ways from the US. It's a song all the expats could join in and sing along with.
After the service was lunch - a very popular activity.
Church picnic + swimming pool = ?? ... Baptism, of course! I understand the water was a little chilly, but that didn't stop anybody. Pator Oldemar is the tall guy in the orange shirt. He is really tall - about 6'6", maybe 6'7". Pastor Steve is in the blue shirt.
After the baptism, it was time for the games to begin. The games had rounds for every age group, from young kids to us more "experienced" players. Tina and I both got our turns participating but didn't win any of the prizes. The games were simple pass-the-ball games (similar to the old Time Bomb game) and races for the kids. Of course, the swimming pool was open for business, too.
And what Central American church picnic would be complete without the traditional PINATA! Yes, the source of so many You Tube videos was one of the final "official" events of the day. Not wanting anyone to be left out, they had about 4-5 different pinatas, each for a different age group. If you think it's only the kids who engage in a mad scramble after the candy falls out, think again. The video above shows the candy rush after one of the "grown up" pinatas was broken.
The weather was overcast almost all day, which actually was a good thing. The temperature was still warm and we didn't have to avoid the intense sun exposure. A good time was definitely had by all. It was a full day and we got back to our apartment about 4:30pm - pleasantly pooped.
Posted by Mark