May 7, 2011

Family Worship

Family worship on a Friday night. Winter 2011

The three amigos.

For the past six months or so we've been having semi-regular gatherings for food, fellowship, and worship on either Friday or Saturday evening. J and I had been talking about organizing something like this, something reminiscent of the Friday night missionary gatherings that were a part of our history back in the islands. I was particuarly inspired by the Stafford's Friday Night Haystacks tradition they'd established in Saipan. While we rarely went when we lived in Saipan, we did join them on Friday night when we visited last spring. I loved it. The simple but scrumptious food, the company of good friends and new acquaintances, the joyful singing, the kid-friendly worship thought. We need something like this back home in Ohio, I thought to myself.

Here in America, we're all so busy with our lives. We generally don't live clustered together in a mission compound as we did overseas; here getting together may main a drive of at least 20-25 minutes rather than a thirty second one from one apartment to another. There's not the automatic sense of camaraderie missionaries often feel that comes with being far from home and extended family in a different culture. Here, biological family is close at hand and there's little need to create a sense of family beyond that circle. In short, family worship beyond the nuclear unit seems impractical and unneccessary. But just because it isn't needed in quite the same way doesn't mean it can't be a rich blessing anyways. And indeed, we have been blessed each time we've found an opportunity to get together for family worship here in America.

The core group has been three couples, all with a history in the islands. There's Erwin and Rachel Capilitan. Erwin and Rachel met while she was serving as a student missionary in Saipan back in 2004-2005. Erwin, the brother of one of my former students, had just moved to Saipan from the Philippines to work. They eventually fell in love, moved to the States, and got married and settled down, ultimately right here in Columbus. Just a few months ago they welcomed the third member of their family, little Deagan.

J and Evelyn Carlos also met in the islands, when both were missionaries on the island of Chuuk. They were the first to relocate to the States, moving to the Columbus area from Guam, I think around 2003. Their son is almost exactly a year younger than our little Feller.

And then there's the three of us rounding out the group. On some occasions one couple will be missing from the gahtering, and on others the group as enlarged by others--visiting family members or other friends from the area. Whoever is there, the atmosphere is always warm, the food is always good, the music enthusiastic, the Spirit of the Lord present.

Story time with the boys.

These gatherings are all the more precious now because soon our group will lose three, as the Carlos family moves to the Chicago area this summer. They didn't plan to move, but circumstances made it necessary, and they are going trusting the God who has led them always in the past, to continue to do so as they head into a knew and unknown future. The Capilitans and Maycocks will continue to gather for worship from time to time after theyre gone, and perhaps others will become "regulars" in time. These gatherings by their very nature are all-inclusive after all, and there's always room for one more. But for now we'll treasure the Friday and Saturday nights we have left with the Carlos clan.

We'll miss J, Evelyn, and Benji of course, but we'll plan to visit every now and again--most likely on weekends, when once again we can gather for another family worship.

At the table with the Capilitans. The Carlos family was away that particular weekend, but Rachel's parents who were visiting were able to join us. Deagan was just a few weeks away from being born when this photo was taken.

Rachel reads to the boys during worship to end the Sabbath. Sabbath, April 30, 2011.

Our Feller loves the guitar. Here he "plays along" with J during worship at the Capilitan home, April 30, 2011.


Mai said...

I'm finally all caught up on your blog! :)

That's awesome that you're establishing the special-ness of Friday night at such a young age for the Little Feller! I think my roommates & I should start Friday night vespers because I miss that!

rachiezate said...

Aww! I don't ever remember seeing this blog post! I randomly searched for my name on yahoo today and this came up as a result. :)