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by Rowanne Fairchild (’14)

Every Tuesday night we have Hosanna, a student-led worship service and time of prayer in English.  The chapel is packed with students every week, and the Spirit is there, moving among the voices that shout out praises.

And once a year, the Spanish for Christian Ministry class puts on a Noche de Alabanza, to worship and pray and read scripture in Spanish, and to demonstrate the continuity of fellowship and praise in a different language.  To show that God is present and moving no matter which language is spoken.

This year, the Noche de Alabanza focused on the fruits of the Spirit.  This event is planned and led by students from the Spanish for Christian Ministry class, a 400-level course taught by Kim Hernandez.  Every student from the class participated, whether they were leading worship, reading scripture, speaking, or leading corporate prayer.  This teamwork demonstrated the body as made of different units, each equipped with different gifts and designed for different types of service.  Over one hundred and thirty Whitworth students showed up to worship and listen to the talks and scripture the class had prepared.

As a student in the Spanish for Christian Ministry course, I had a different perspective than the students in the audience.  I had seen the many hours of preparation to make that night happen, and I was watching it unfold as the students in the audience joined us in the worship service.  It was a great joy to see my peers serving the Lord and serving each other in ways they had been designed to do.  For some, their role that night was beyond their comfort zone.  But as they spoke about a fruit of the spirit, or sang in front of everyone, they realized they could fulfill this task that was placed before them.

Participating in the leadership of the Noche de Alabanza was such a rich experience.  It was a challenge and a joy to read scripture to a listening audience, while I spoke in a language that was not my own, but yet was.  As a class, we did more than discuss God’s transcendence of language and culture. We experienced it.  And we brought that experience to other students in a way that united the church body.  That night was a time when the Spanish language was more than just a class or a homework assignment.  It was an opportunity to learn and to worship and to unify as a body of Christ.

Rowanne Fairchild is majoring in English writing. She believes stories are valuable expressions of people and the world around them, and is fascinated by the motivation behind the stories people write.