Last night I went to Barranca to my first Al-Anon meeting and didn't get home for 5 more hours. The meeting itself was 2 hours. There were 6 women there (including me), one of whom was from Puerto Supe. It was an encouraging evening for a number of reasons. The meeting was a good space for me to work on language learning, because it was a time for me to talk in Spanish about personal things without others interrupting me or rushing me and a for me to listen to others speak the same way. It was also sort of a relief to be in an environment where I wasn't expected to meet anyone else's needs. I was there to learn and think, not help necessarily.
After the meeting, the whole group went across the street to one woman's house, where we spent the next 3 hours chatting and smoking (I passed on the cigarettes). After a while, the topic of church came up. One woman mentioned that she wanted someone to teach her about the Bible, but when she went to mass, she couldn't understand the priest. At that point she turned to me and exclaimed, "But now we have you!" How's that for an invitation?
I have high hopes of starting an Al-Anon group in Puerto Supe. I think it would be a tremendous ministry (in the secular sense) to the women and maybe men of the town who are suffering so deeply from the family disease of addiction. There are strict rules in Al-Anon about not bringing in other philosophies, but I also think that it could be a good place to begin relationships with people who are seeking God. We'll see. It is clear to me that Al-Anon teaches Biblical principles in a neutral way and gives an outline for the Gospel. I think it lays a beginning foundation for people seeking God to come into relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and I want to be open to helping people make that connection through the window of Al-Anon.