I feel as though I should preface this story with the fact that even the church we attend regularly is very different from America. It does have a Southern white guy for a pastor but other than that……. It is outside with plenty of trees and things to watch and look at so you can imagine that the boys have a hard time concentrating on church. They have a place for the kids to go if they want but again, it is not quite Kids Point at Mt. Airy. It is very crowded and most of the kids do not speak English. There are very few white children that go into the children’s church and mine have not stayed the full time yet either. They are doing great adjusting but some things are harder than others. Hopefully they are understanding how others must feel at times to be so “different” and the experience can be used for a lifetime of learning to love like Jesus loved, but for now they usually sit beside me or on me during service and I have to redirect their attention from the trees they enjoy playing in after the service or their friends who are also in the seats next to us. I say all of this to say that all moms understand my hesitant spirit to say yes and visit a village church that will last much longer and be even more different than what has become the normal for them, but…..I said yes and the blessing was huge.
We left here about 8:30 am for the hour long drive. We had Pastor Fred, his wife, and five of their kids in our van with us. We had to go through a good bit of road work and a lot of bumps to get there, but we did finally arrive to a praise and worship that had already begun. The kids were lively, the Women were giving testimony of what God had done over the last week or even just that morning. Today was Woman’s day at this church, so the women were in charge of the service. They had three women to speak for the message and then both pastors spoke. Our family was introduced and then we had to speak. They had really gone all out for our family and had chairs for us to sit on stage. This was strange but the chairs had backs so we were happy to sit in the front! 🙂 Our kids joined kids church after all the singing, which basically involved running and playing outside with the other kids that wanted to play. Kids were everywhere, they would come in and out and even be on stage looking for their moms or just playing. Nobody cared, they just kept going like nothing else was going on. We also had some interesting bathroom experiences that I will spare you the details of other than to let you know it was gross but we survived.
The kids sang and then they had a women’s choir sing and dance. Everyone was overjoyed with what God had done for them and what God was doing right then. The women all spoke on the five virgins and how some were wise and some foolish. It was a great message on keeping your lamps full so you can be ready. It was very exciting to see how excited people get over Jesus, especially when in the states we tend to look over if the person next to us starts clapping and for sure when clapping off beat. It got me thinking a little, I know that can be dangerous! LOL. Sometimes in our idea that things have to go a certain way or follow a certain outline or sing a certain song or even in the same language, we miss a true worship experience in our hearts. The song “I’m Coming Back to the Heart of Worship” comes to mind as I write this. Worship is all about your heart and I emphasize the word your. We cannot experience worship for the person next to us, even if it is our husband or our kids. I try to think now like I saw these people and wonder what if it was just me and Jesus? What if when I talked to the Lord or praised the Lord I did not care who was next to me or what they were doing but only how I looked before the Lord? Am I smiling, am I proud of who my Jesus is, am I excited to share what He has done, am I thrilled enough to shout when He answers my prayers so intricately? What I saw in these people were these things. Nobody cared that someone else may want to shout or that the kids and adults were dancing around and praising, ( or running around playing and laughing), all they cared about was coming together to Worship a God who heals, a God who Loves, a God who redeems, a God who provides, a God who comforts, a God, who praise God, only cares about where our hearts are in the moments we choose Him. Today, at this Church, many chose to truly worship Him, I chose to Worship Him in the midst of something different and I was greatly blessed.
After a great blessing, we started our journey home. It was late and I had brought snacks for the children. Pastor Fred’s wife must be use to this too since she had snacks as well. Funny, her snack was beef samosa’s (which could be lunch here) and my snack was Peanut butter crackers and fruit chews (Thanks Rexrode Family)! We stopped all through the village and met Pastor Fred’s mom and dad and saw where he grew up at. We also stopped to see the house he is building in that village to be able to stay there some. After getting home a little after 3 pm, we were all exhausted but what a HUGE blessing we would have missed had we stayed in our comfort zone, (yes, we even have one of those here in Africa)! Take a look at these pictures and the videos. I hope they bless your heart as much as they did ours.
Blessings and Hugs,