Saturday, July 21, 2007

San Lorenzo, part 1

Well, we had a nice trip to San Lorenzo and we have quite a few pictures to show from it. We had a good time there and it was a great opportunity that we were a part of. Now, for a description of the following pictures.
These first three pictures are from our friend, Jose's village. We had a picture posted of him a few posts back. He is originally from the San Lorenzo area but has been a part of the work in Guayaquil for the last few years. He is now getting ready for mission service in Peru. The third picture there is of turkeys, which we don't see a whole lot.
I took this one in San Lorenzo.
This is of Christine and Esmeralda. Her family ran a bakery right next to the hotel we stayed at. Her family have been in San Lorenzo for a year, since fleeing their homeland of Colombia because of the unrest there.
The next several pictures are from last Sun. night in San Lorenzo of a procession/fiesta dedicated to the Virgin of El Carmen. Last week was her feast day and it was celebrated in grand fashion. Jose and I were walking by the Catholic church down to the dock and we heard all these drums and singing. So, we went in and saw what was going on. A bit later people were leaving the church and getting in a truck full of people that were singing for the Virgin. It was quite strange, and even dark. San Lorenzo is predominantly inhabitated by Afro-Ecuadorians, that is descendants of Africans that came several hundred years ago. Their descendants were actually free, they had landed on the northern Ecuadorian coast as a result of shipwreck. They have kept several elements of their African culture and that was very evident last Sunday night. They had drums, shakers and call and response singing to the Virgin of El Carmen. They had two statues of the Virgin in these boxes and there were people rocking them. I asked them what they were doing and they said they were making the Virgin dance. As I saw this, this made me think of a verse from Jeremiah that I had read recently, (Jeremiah 10:5-6)-"Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good. No one is like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is mighty in power."
They ended up bringing the statues in and setting them up in this altar in someone's home. Their was more singing, eating and drinking. We were able to talk to some people and it was all interesting but we left pretty early. These pictures were from the first Sunday. I will have some from the clinic and the rest of the trip later on.
As I close I ask you all to pray that the truth would be revealed to the people there and that they wouldn't be deceived by false images and traditions.
I forgot to mention this earlier but we have a volunteer team in this week. Actually, they're about to leave but just pray for them as they finish up and pray for the people they worked with.

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