9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:9,10
Tom, our leader and friend from the Del Camino Connection (DCC), opened our day with this reminder and call. We are here to visit our brothers and sisters - since we all have the same call. The churches that are a part of DCC form a network of churches looking to make a radical difference through holistic expressions of the Gospel. This looks like a church leadership taking a serious look at the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of their direct community, and go to great lengths to creatively solve those needs. This results in great risks and great fruit of the Spirit. The pastors are described as having "second conversions" - a moment of awakening to be the church in ways only dreamt of.
What a challenge for us, too, in the states! What a blessing to be in a partnership with these daring and faithful people.
Our day began with a visit to El Circulo's morning service. El Circulo is a young church that grew out of a youth movement in the early 2000's. They holistically serve their community through youth outreaches, an Alpha class at a local Dominoes Pizza, and through creating safe spaces for school-drop-out youths.
We then had some time to explore Colonial City, the first colony in the America's that Columbus founded. We saw where Columbus' son, Diego lived (it was a pretty legit castle), and some of us got ice cream - those of us who missed that are still quite bitter about it.
Finally, after a quick dinner, we went to Vision Celestial's evening service. It was so wonderfully lively, and we were welcomed like long lost family members. Sarah preached a good word about Jesus' empathy and compassion for us... we can fight for the Kingdom, for the holistic, risky mission of God, because in any suffering we might experience, Jesus experienced it first. More joyful greetings continued after the service, concluding an heart-filling and awakening day.
The Lord has something for us!
Father, thank you for our brothers and sisters who are living out the Gospel 100%. Who have risked everything for the sake of loving their cities and communities. Teach us at Hillside to walk in the same manner. Teach us through our brothers and sisters. Thank you for hugs, drawings, laughter, your Word, and for times of praise that feel like we literally before your throne. Give us rest and expectation. Amen.