The Language of Love… A Foreign, Yet Biblical Experience.
“A Cross-Cultural Experience”
Documented by Lauren E. Oliva
The Church of God of Prophecy in Riverside, CA
Don’t be fooled by the simplistic structure or the area that this church resides. This small Hispanic church is in love with Jesus!
Church of God of Prophecy is a small and somewhat charismatic Spanish church tucked away in the toughest area of Riverside, also known as Casa Blanca. Slightly bummed that I wasn’t able to attend a Sunday service, I walked into a Tuesday evening bible study not expecting to get a true “feel” for this cross-cultural church. Boy, was I wrong! About 50 people were gathered in this small space:
A woman and an English translator stood up to give the announcement that the main pastor was ill, therfore bible study would be cancelled for the evening. Then she announced that the night would be devoted to worship and prayer for the needs of their church and community. Once this speaker was finished, the entire congregation read Psalm 103: 1-5 aloud, all at once. I was taken back by the passion devoted to this communal type of reading. It really blessed me to watch the people give our Heavenly Father praise before any petition and prayer were offered up to him. After the reading was finished, worship began. An upbeat Latin tempo lead worship and the congregation overflowed with prayer, praises, and “amens” to the sweet melody. Some people were moving their feet and clapping their hands.. while others where posed in submission on their knees in deep prayer. Despite the language barriers and social differences, one thing was for certain: The language of worship is all the same.
Prayer was broken into 5 sections:
1. The Youth
2. College Students
3. Single Mothers
5. Healing for the Sick
As the Spirit led, the entire congregation lifted up their prayers for each of these groups in a very charasmatic and beautiful fashion. All the people that represented each group that were being prayed for, stood up while the whole church prayed over their specific needs. The picture below really touched me. It captures all the men standing and linking arms while being prayed over for the fellow men in their homes, churches, and community.
My favorite part of the service was when I was asked to represent the college group and receive prayer. Some people laid hands on me and a few others, then prayed for the college community in our city… wow! I just couldn’t get over the sense of community in this spiritual family of believers. At the end of the service, so many people came up to me and shook hands with me and greeted me with warm hugs. Some people spoke English- which was comforting, but for those who did not, the love of Jesus Christ was the only language we needed.
Iglesia de Dios de la Profecia
7442 Diamond Street
Riverside, CA 92504