So, I decided to start attending a Spanish-speaking church in my vicinity. It’s a great experience both for the language and for the spiritual blessings. To be clear, this is not my first time attending a Spanish-speaking pentecostal church. I used to frequent one many years when I first started learning Spanish, but time and job got into the way. Now that I have begun studying Spanish again, I have started attending a Spanish-speaking church all over again.
Attending church in Spanish is similar to attending church in English, except that, depending on your level of Spanish, you may or may not understand a lot. The church that I attend offers interpretation services, but I prefer to jump in and listen without any aid.
Services last for about two hours. There is worshiping, prayer time, preaching, and lots of social interaction after the service. The first time I attended, I understood about 50% of the service. That was great for me, but I noticed that with each attendance, I am understanding more and more. One reason for this could be that I am getting accustomed to the accents. Another reason is that I decided to strengthen my church-related vocab by listening to sermons on YouTube. This helps quite a bit as it prepares me for Sunday mornings listening sessions.
During the sermons, I faithfully copy the references for the verses that are cited. At home, I look up these scriptures in my Spanish Bible app. I do this both for the inspiration and for the vocabulary.
I also make notes of the songs that are sung. At home, I look up these songs on YouTube with the lyrics and get lots of fun and blessings from these songs. Of course, making notes of new words and phrases is a big part of my listening adventure.
My biggest challenge is not understanding certain parts of sermons or other aspects of the service, but I am sure this will improve with time. Another challenge is how to be at ease when socializing after the service. People aren’t sure always whether to speak to me in Spanish or English. I too am often unsure whether to start a conversation in English or Spanish. So far, I have had a few conversations, but I am sure these will increase with time.
If you have never been to a Spanish-speaking church before, here are two YouTube videos that provide some insights.