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RELIGION

THE ITEM

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2013

Bilingual worship: Local churches break it down for congregations BY JADE ANDERSON janderson@theitem.com Finding the right word is not always easy, especially if you are thinking in one language and speaking in another. But a number of local ministers not only find the right word, they also preach a sermon, and often they do it in more than one language. “Sometimes it’s easier to worship in your native language,� said Pastor Javier Polo, who has worked with a Hispanic ministry with First Assembly of God in Sumter for about two years. “I’d say 99 percent of it is Spanish, but we use the Spanglish version sometimes. Although a majority of people that go to the ministry are all bilingual.� Other ministries use a two-fold approach

such as that of Pastor Silver Mabalot and his wife, Cristina, who have co-pastored a small congregation at Pilgrim International Assembly for about four years. Since the congregation is largely made up of intercultural marriages, Cristina Mabalot said, they speak in English and occasionally translate into Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines. “Some of our American-born, Englishspeaking — they learn other languages through our services, and they enjoy learning the different language,� Silver Mabalot said. “It’s quite interesting. They will ask, ‘what word was that again?’ and take notes.� And humor usually does not translate. What the Korean members of the Han Sam Korean Church

‘It makes it different and wonderful when we kind of put all the different customs together.’ Pastor Javier Polo, First Assembly of God find funny when Pastor Byung Lee tells a story in that language does not make his Englishspeaking members laugh when he tells the same story in their language. “The hard part is there are some differences in American and

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other holidays such as Valentineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day, Silver Mabalot said. Leeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s church will fellowship before the New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Eve service. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We try to meet together and have a service before we meet in the new year,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Every church member comes to me as a family and dedicates time for prayer requests as a family. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s kind of a Korean tradition at New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s to eat special Korean food, and then we have a service.â&#x20AC;? Reach Jade Anderson at (803) 774-1250.

Start the day right.

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thing familiar fixed in a totally new way. It makes it different and wonderful when we kind of put all the different customs together.â&#x20AC;? Food plays a big part in the Mabalotsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; ministry. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have food after every church service,â&#x20AC;? Silver Mabalot said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;After our regular, we have snacks, but during a party, we have a lot of food.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Unfortunately, or fortunately, we eat a lot,â&#x20AC;? Cristina Mabalot said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It has led some to call our church the International Food Ministry.â&#x20AC;? They also host family cookouts and try to do special events at

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Korean culture,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard to deliver a message in another language. There is a kind of disconnect.â&#x20AC;? He, too, has many intercultural marriages in his congregation, Lee said. But even the same language does not mean the same customs. Poloâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s members come from South America, Central America and the Caribbean Islands. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The words that we use sometimes mean something totally different,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We may have the same language but different music. People from the islands have music that has got a lot of bongos and drums, while Central America tends to like Mariachi style and slow rhythms. When we go to somebodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house to celebrate, the food may be completely different or some-

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THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS ACTIVE DAY INC. .FEJDBM"EVMU%BZ$BSFBOE3FIBCJMJUBUJPO4FSWJDFT

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December 19, 2013  
December 19, 2013  
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