The religious environment is full of variety within the different denominations that has been established along the years. Within the United States one of the denominations that stands out the most is Christianity having an immense number of churches and temples all over the country and in other nations. Christianity’s beliefs have had a solid establishment and along the years had captured the hearts, mind, and attention of most of the population in the world believing in a higher power called God and his son Jesus that came and gave his life for the sinners, referring to the humans, so they could be saved from condemnation. In addition, with the ideal of the afterlife, heaven, and hell reflected in their fundamentals, routine services, symbols, books, rituals, and missions that help them practice what they believe in and help them reach out to other people in the world that they know as lost souls. This specific denomination is the general idea of what religion should feel like for this nation and other countries as well. Christianity will involved your mind and heart in a blink of an eye, the people and the loving/caring environment that the Christians lived everyday is a factor for one to feel peace in any circumstances that life may bring.
The beliefs and fundamentals of a religion or a specific denomination are the base for believers to rely on. During this week I had the pleasure to visit a Christian and bilingual church for the first time near my area called “Iglesia Espiritu Santo y Fuego” also know as ESYF Church. This church is located in 14241 SW 120 ST. Miami , Florida 33186 and offers multiple services, Sundays at 9:30am (English), Sundays at 11:00am (Spanish), those being the main services for all audience. Within the services that this church offers they separate audiences by age and sometime by gender too. Tuesdays evenings this church offers a time to go and have a praying session with people that have petitions of healing, finances, problems, or any issue that they might be encountering in the moment. Wednesdays at 8:00pm the ministers assigned by the pastor offer bible studies in small groups to help the congregation members to understand the message that God sent through the Bible. Thursday services at 8:00pm are known as a make up sessions for Sunday services and for the people that cannot attend Sundays to church. Fridays at 7:30pm is the reunion of the youth group and they are know as the “Firehouse”, dividing the young congregation into infants, kids, teenagers, and young adults. For my personal overview of this religion, I had the opportunity to visit this church on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The experience was amazing because each day I had a different aspect, a different sense of the fundamentals of Christianity.
Christianity and the ESYF Church has fundamental beliefs that structured their practices. Christians of ESYF Church believe that there is only one true God, existing three different persons within this higher power, these are, The Father (God), The Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. Given that these three are the same person God is Jesus, and Jesus is God and they treat their congregation with the ideal of grace. Grace refers to the concept of Jesus bringing salvation by coming down to this earth years ago, converting himself from God into a human like us, being crucified by the sinners (humans) and paying the price for our sins to God and heaven so that way the humanity could be saved. This is known as the redemptive work of Christ on the cross. This act is individual and is valid when a person accepts Jesus and let Jesus to come inside the heart recognizing that God is the King of kings. Furthermore, the Christians believe that each member of the congregation should be baptized but this only when they recognized God is in their heart. The ideal of this ritual is known as baptism is by full immersion in the water. The person that is going to be baptized by the Christian religion has to wear a white tunica and it has to be fully immersed in the water and then taken out. This represents leaving the old person that was a sinner and lived like the rest of the world behind or underwater and bringing out the new person or Christian that now lives within God’s fundamentals. All the beliefs of the Christians come from their sacred book called the Bible that represents the legacy, rules, and guide for Christians to follow along their lives. Their sacred objects, besides the Bible, include wine and bread. The Christians of ESYF celebrate The Holy Communion or The Lord’s Supper every first Sunday of each month. This event commemorates the dinner that Jesus had with his disciples time before his crucifixion. In the aspects of the dress code for Christian churches and ESYF in specific, there is not a specific dress code to visit a Christian church. Most of the people go in casual but conservative clothes to the services. Some rather go in a more formal attire to the services and majority of the women wear either long dressed or long skirts. In addition, there is not specific gender roles within the Christian community, is more just suggestion that God gives through the Bible that says that the man should be the head of the house making sure that the family dynamic is healthy, that everything in the house is in other, and he is in charge of pushing the family’s faith to the maximum level. The women in the Christian community are symbol of support for the husbands and for the children. Also, the women has a immense amount of power and authority when praying for petitions or for situations regarding the family. The Christianity environment is amazing and it is simple to fit in because of its evolution along the years and the adaptation of new doctrines and beliefs.
During my multiple visits I could observed different environments and different aspects of the religion only in a couple of hours. Tuesday’s visit was basically a praying forum where people go to say their petitions and their needs to the other members of the congregation and to God in other to make all the petitions and the authority of the prayer stronger as a result of praying all together and dedicating the time to God. Wednesday visit gave me a few pieces of the background of Christianity, the small groups the ministers divided the congregation in study the scriptures of the Bible in detail and study the message that is trying to be delivered by the different passages. Thursday visit was a normal service to give the opportunity to the people that cannot attend to the services on Sunday to still attend and hear the word of God. The main services are more complex. This services include various sections, the service starts with the worship time. The Christians worship God by the music, singing songs of worship to God and even with dances that go according to the songs. After, they do the tithes and offerings, at this time the ushers (people that is helping during the period of the service) stand in front of the congregation with empty baskets in order for the people to stand up and deposit their money in the basket as an act of giving thanks and returning a little piece of all the things that God gives them. The longest session is when the pastor (the head of the church) stands in front of the congregation to give the word of God to the congregation citing some verses of the bible and asking the people to follow along with him. The last thing in a main service of ESYF is The Calling. After the pastor finishes his message he says a prayer and ask for people that want to recognize God as their savior to come to the front to pray for them and make them a member of the congregation formally. Making a congregation comfortable with the fundaments and guidance that God gave the Christians through the Bible and extending the Christian family.
During these days that I had the opportunity to be near the Christian congregation it impacted me how these people are so passionate, excited about what they believe and how they defend their fundaments and what is meaningful to them. This experience was one of the most significant experiences in my life and also for my family because before this time I never visited a church even though majority of my family is Christian. This was a motivation for me to make my mom’s dream come true that was for me to visit a church with her and have an idea of what she practices. This experience changed my life forever because it changed my perspective on Christian religion and my way of seeing life itself, made one of the most important person in my life happy, and make me feel appreciated within an environment I never imagined I would feel like home.