November 2, 2009

What's a Vigilia?

This past Saturday night we participated in a "media-vigilia." A vigilia (pronounced "vee HEE lee uh" and meaning vigil, in English) is an all-night service, usually involving much singing and prayer. This time it only lasted until midnight, hence it's name "half-vigil." There were a couple hours of praise and worship and testimony, and then some teaching on Halloween (it's kinda new here) and our natural temperments.

I know you won't all agree with me on this one, but our little family gave up on Halloween years ago. We used to strike a compromise, as often is done in Christian circles, but our children didn't quite understand the compromise. They (especially Camille) tend to think in clear-cut black and white where things like that are concerned. I'm betting they'll be tee-totallers rather than moderates. I say all that to say what a relief it was to spend our first october in Paraguay. I didn't have to deal with the kids' nightmares from the witch that came swooping down with a scream in the local Bi-Lo, nor their inability to go to sleep because they couldn't stop thinking about the horror movie masked dummy they saw in Wal-Mart. It didn't exactly FEEL like October (think summer in Hell), but my head knew it was and I thanked God for the respite from scary things every time I went out to buy groceries.

The other teaching was on our natural temperments, and how God and the enemy can use them as we allow. For example, I turn out to be something they called sanguine, meaning I'm not really shy and like to talk to people (okay, I admit it, strangers....), and that I tend to jump into things and make commitments without thinking them through. The study showed the strengths and weaknesses of each type, and how a person led by the Spirit can submit these areas to be used for God's glory. I'd studied this before--YEARS before--but it was neat to think of it in terms of my children's personalities.

During the testimony time, different people came forward to talk for a few minutes about what God was doing in their lives, and give thanks. Usually, they ended with a song. Despite how many times I've seen this done in Latin American circles, I still can't quite get used to the freedom the Latino culture has in singing. You know that in the U.S., we tend to only grab a microphone and burst into song from the stage if we have definite talent and have practiced repeatedly, despite what it would seem like after watching the try-outs for American Idol. Here, there is an unashamed boldness to sing praise, whether or not there is talent. I have to tell you that having experienced both sides (talent without heart and heart without talent), I'd choose hands-down the person who is totally tone deaf and causes chills from their lack of ability, but who means what (s)he sings and brings it from deep within the heart. Okay, maybe not on American Idol, but definitely in a church service!! ;)


  1. When will it be a year in Paraguay for you?

    We always enjoyed the Vigilia's as well. Nothing like that here in the North.

  2. LOL. Yep, I will confess. I have sang at a vigilia and no I didn't have the talent. HAHAHAHA


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