April 16, 2009

What's a VIGILIA?

We attended our first Paraguayan vigilia (vee HEE lee uh) a couple weeks ago, at the home-church of a community about 25 kilometers from us. A vigilia is an all-night service, but we didn't quite make it that long. (We'd brought along a carload of teenagers and couldn't rightfully keep them out all night.)

The whole day had been dark and windy, with intermittent storms. We'd been without electricity since early morning, as had the location of the vigilia. We all wrapped up in hoodies and jackets (what a GREAT feeling, for a change!) and packed a few flashlights for the service. When we got there, we were surprised that more people than had been anticipated were there despite the conditions. In case you don't know, the hint of rain in Paraguay is enough to keep most people indoors all day. The fact that it already had and was threatening to continue seemed like a 100% chance of cancellation, but God's people showed up ready to worship.

After several songs, a few speakers took turns sharing short devotional sermonettes with the crowd, who was packed in a room with no walls (roof and floor only) and a candle placed in a corner rafter. The single candle flickered on and off as the breeze decided whether it was going to settle in and stay or just pass through. Finally, lightening and thunder led to rain--the service continued. Most of it was in Guarani, but we understood the Spirit of worship and praise in the music, the Spirit of adoration apparent in the testimonies and devotionals. What a special night with our brothers and sisters!

(SIDENOTE: This is the same local church that has been meeting in some of the members' front yard, but they are planning to start building their sanctuary next month, should the weather cooperate. This will be the culmination of years of fundraising for this congregation.)


  1. First, Did you get the email with the info?
    Sounds like you guys are really get involved with the church and community around you.

  2. Hey! Sorry we missed you when we were passing through. I was literally looking for your SUV on Rta. 6 through your town. (We had a truck full of people and couldn't stop!)

    I dropped off the Bibles at Sara's. If you need more, let me know. Hope we can connect sometime soon after we come back.


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