Thanksgiving Day at Cotani


Once a year they have a special day long service to thank God for the harvest. All the church members are farmers and all bring an offering to the church – potatoes, oka (a long sweet tuber), habas (like lima beans), etc. In front of the altar are placed the offerings, the great piles of produce. Large sacks that looked twice the size of 100 lb. bags were brought in over the shoulders of Quechua farmers. Potatoes of all sizes and shapes were unloaded tumbling out onto the pile.
The women of the church were squatted down on the ground outside the church pealing and cutting potatoes, carrots, onions, and oka. A few of the young men were roasting chicken and lamb in a large oven. Although this is a church known for prayer and fasting, this day was meant for feasting and celebration.
Pastor Gustavo led us in a two hour worship service of thanksgiving. We all gathered around the piles of produce and on our knees prayed long and fervently. And then we shared the feast of Thanksgiving – Quechua style – eating with our fingers out of our metal bowls, seated on crowded benches in the cold sanctuary.
We had to leave after the meal and it was nearly dark. Many more brethren would continue to arrive for the special meal and a second service of praise that would go until midnight at least. We drove once again up and over the mountains in pouring rain. The trip back to Cochabamba was treacherous with little visibility, a washboard road, and many large trucks to dodge. The trip back put all our nerves on full alert. We made it back home safely but emotionally spent.
We were glad to be home, very glad to get off that wickedly dangerous road and stirred deeply inside at the wonder of the day.

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