Yesterday's post described how we came up the mountain.
The graduation began shortly, but first we worshipped. With guitar, bongo drums, maracas and tambourines, they sang. Exuberantly. Joyfully. Eyes closed and heads leaned back.
With many hugs from family, the graduates were given diplomas. Once the ceremony was over, we realized that if we wanted an interview with the pastor, it had to happen now. The light was fading and we had no electricity for lights.
So we set up an interview site with banana trees as a backdrop to hear an amazing story about a pastor redeemed from voodoo (another story on another day). As we filmed, goats wandered into the background.
By the time we were done interviewing, the meal for the graduates and their families was taken away. We wondered if we’d go to bed hungry.
But many hands helped us tear down our filming equipment and then we were seated in the pastor’s home around a table heavy with food. We ate a common Cuban dish, white rice and black beans. There were fresh sliced pineapple, bananas, lamb, chicken soup, bread, fried plantains.
Once the pastor’s family had served us, and were satisfied we needed nothing more, they faded from the scene to let us eat. We tumbled into beds in three small bedrooms with hard mattresses and stiff lumpy pillows.
But we realized that we had displaced three families. We’re not sure where they slept that night, but they were up late to clean up our food and then up early to prepare breakfast.
We ate pineapple slices as we watched the sun rise, casting orange and purple through the mist of the mountains. We left the mountains tired, dirty, and nervous about the 15-hour drive ahead.
But we left knowing we had been treated like royalty, given the best they had by people who love Jesus and freely give.
They said we had honored them by coming, but we found new energy in their love for the King and their love to us. Coming to the mountain had changed us.