Site Visit Report
At the beginning of the assignment I felt anxious and afraid since the first day I heard that I had to visit a religious site outside my own. I had no idea where to go and how to begin I know in Miami there are about 274 churches according to the Miami Dade County. In addition, I went over the list of churches, but every moment I was supposed to make a choice, I postpone it since I was a little intimidated going alone. Since I can remember going to church I found it boring with the old music since I was so young I couldn’t appreciate the music or understand. I only went to church when it was a funeral, which only has been about two or three times. The weekend that I was postponing the visit site again two ladies about in their 40s or 50s where visiting houses in my neighborhood and that’s been the beginning of how I found site visit without me even trying.
In addition, I thought they were Jehovah witnesses, but then they told me they were Christian and they were visiting house because they wanted to invite, pray, and talk to people about the love of Jesus Christ. Additionally, they told me that their 20th anniversary was in a week and that I should go that I was more than welcome to their celebration, which it was from 09/18/2015-09/20/15. I told them that I was going and they got excited I thought that they were nice even though they didn’t know me I already felt welcome into that church. The first time I went it was a Friday, the first day of their celebration and I was welcome from the moment I enter the parking lot two church members are always at the gate saying welcome, good morning, or God bless you to the people. After that at the door of the auditorium the gate-keeper told me where to seat and gave me a paper saying topic, the activities of the week, and important activities of the month. It was a relief that someone help me where to seat so I didn’t feel awkward when I enter the church for the first time and saw the gender ratio was about the same on stage and the churchgoers sitting. The first thing I notice since the first time I went it’s the three flags the Christian, Jewish, and American flag on the stage of the auditorium and an immense bible on the top of a crystal pulpit in the middle.
I went about three to four times and each time start the same praying is first, then singing, offering, and at the end the pastor comes to stage and start talking a whole different topic each Sunday. “In Christianity, ritual acts meant to convey God’s grace” and each time one of the principal church members talked to the people of the congregation, they said all the glory and every done is for God. One of the observations I did was that each time the band played the people of the congregation, they either closed their eyes singing, put their hand up, or even cry of happiness. In my whole life this experience instead of being annoying, boring it actually let me see the other phase of that religion, learn their customs, and even participate. The first time I went I dressed casual and most of the people were dressed casual as well, but the first Sunday and the other Sundays I went they were dressed nicely and I felt a little out-of-place but not that much since I don’t care that much about appearances.
At the beginning of the service a young woman about my age started praying and welcoming the new people such as me each time a new person stands up the church members clap, hug, and welcome you to the family as they say. Now I know why so many people feel the need to go to a church and it’s for the reason that they feel like home where they are brothers and sisters like they call each other. In addition, what I notice it’s that many of them are immigrant in 2010 there were about two million immigrant and it was increased since. It is pleasant for those people who feel that being church member is like being part family since many might not have their families here but in other countries. It doesn’t matter if you are Jewish or Central American once you are baptized in that church you are legally part of that family. I came to understand that as well in a book that is about the gender roles in Christianity its stated “The Christian understanding of human nature is premised on a belief in the dignity and equality of every human being in the eyes of God, and the Christian community of the baptized has been represented as one in which all divisions are overcome”. It is also stated in the bible the most important book for Christians that it doesn’t matter where you from Paul writes, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). One of the remark I remember the most about going to that church as well is that every time the pastor prayed for the new people who came is that they will no longer be slaves of the world, but new creatures through Jesus Christ.
Now a day’s people are no longer literally slaves in the United States or in other parts of the world but they are slaves of their own thoughts, hunger, depression, working 8-14 hours just to maintain their families and still is not enough. That’s where churches like this one come in handing they help their members mentally by giving them hope that God has for them is better and to have faith. Furthermore, by helping the poor by providing them with a basket of food each Sunday night. I when one Sunday night I just to see what is the basket and I was surprise to see that it had meat which is expensive and the most important items to have in your household such as vegetables, food, cans. According, The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia Christians and many other religions concern it as a responsibility to serve God by helping those that are in need in a practical way such as providing food when in hunger, love when they feel lonely and even going as far as providing a roof if they can. In my opinion, I do believe that the government and other companies as well help this church because many of the items were from Publix and providing about 150 person each Sunday it’s not an easy job to do. That’s where the government and other organization still show their interest in religion like it used to be the beginning when this country was founded by “firm believers in the importance of religion for republican government”.
I have gained knowledge of many new things by just going listening and writing notes on those Sunday mornings. One of those concepts was forgiveness the pastor was talking about Jesus Christ death the cause and aftermath was to forgive the sins of the people and since through Jesus we are forgiven we should as well forgive and stop resenting them. As a result, that day I talk to my sister again, I had 5 years not talking to her and I stop the resentment and started to let go of the past. One of the verses he read was “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins”. One of the special rituals in this church does is the last supper the first week of each month in which at the entrance the gate keeper asks you if you want to participate. At the end of the pastor teaching, he begins praying and start talking about the significance of the bread which represents the body of Christ and the wine the blood. This ritual was frequently celebrated in the first Christian communities and it’s still done through the world.
At the beginning I didn’t know what to expect, but I can truly now say that I have learned several new concepts by just doing the visit site. I loved how the church members welcome me with open arms and they still contact me inviting me. This experience I will remember it my whole life by doing this I forgave, learned about their customs, and felt I was also part of their community. I used to believe that going to church was just something they did because it’s a tradition and many have been doing this through generations but that was not the case. I saw in many their faces that they in fact enjoy going to church and what they do as members.
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