Monday, March 2, 2009

La Villita


For most of the year, my sister, Liz has been telling me about Little Village, or "La Villita", a neighborhood in Chicago where her church is. La Villita is located in the Lawndale community, a poor area separated mainly into Blacks and Hispanics. She spends her whole weekends there and never stops talking about how great everyone is. :) I couldn't wait to go down with her.

It's been a while since I've been immersed into the Hispanic culture or attempted to speak Spanish, but I was excited to go to the Spanish service at Liz's church. As soon as we walked in, memories of my time in Peru came back, and just hearing the language made me feel like I was in a fond and familiar place. I even understood a good bit of the sermon!

1 Corinthians 12 talks about how in Christ, we are united through the Holy Spirit. Verse 13 says that "Jews or Greeks, slave or free" are brought together into one body--all people! The reception I felt by this extension of the Body was a beautiful picture of this unity we have through the Holy Spirit. I was treated as a part of the family, though a stranger to them.

This hospitality didn't just stop after the church service was over, either! The members of this church are clearly a close community who enjoy each other's company, and they invited me to spend time with them, too. After the English service, Liz and I went over to the home of a couple 20-something girls and chilled out in their living room with tea and good conversation. After that, we headed over to the pastor and his family's home for the rest of the evening.

Paco, the pastor, and his wife, Sylvia, have seven (yes, SEVEN!) beautiful children, but their home es muy tranquilo (is very calm). The older kids look after the younger kids, and everyone is genuine and holds a deep joy in their spirits. It was so refreshing to be there... I didn't want to leave!! I was welcomed back by everyone numerous times, and if it weren't for the pull to return to New Orleans, I think I would just move into La Villita. :)

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