Today's blog was scheduled to come from Rich, but, alas, has become a second post from Mary Jo because they're married, and the blogging assignments just work different when there's a spouse who could write in your place. Aaand the shorter posts seem to have gone out the window. Oh, well. This is a mission trip. Things you don't expect to happen do happen all the time.
Anyway, read on about our first official day of ministry.
Well, while we don't seem to get enough sleep (the humidity is oppressive and seems worse at night), the Lord seems to revive us every morning. As usual, we had a great meal. Then we headed out to church and exchanged a lot of greetings on the way.
The service began with prayers and praise led by a delightful young man named Emanuel. The Holy Spirit shined through his eyes and his smile and his exuberance. He also acted as interpreter for much of the service. Rich (he's my husband, so I don't call him Pastor Rich) gave the first sermon of the day with Pastor Julius interpreting for him. The young women of the choir treated us to some great music and singing as well. Emanuel led us in a few songs and had everyone up and joining in and soon had almost everyone dancing.
Next came the children, those beautiful happy kids. They danced and sang and smiled (there is a lot of smiling here). I wanted to dance with them. Hmm, maybe I shouldn't be so reserved and let these kids teach me something. We were then blessed with the adult women of the congregation next as they too danced and sang. These people know how to make a joyful noise unto the Lord and I am taking notes. Their enthusiasm is inspiring. If I can witness with the same enthusiasm as they worship, my feet will be beautiful. Romans 10:14-15 - look that up if you have a minute. No, look it up now.
While I was thoroughly enjoying the sermon, I was also feeling very nervous because I had been asked to prepare a sermon and Patty and I were to go to another church (actually a mission) and preach. I have never done that, so I was praying that I would not trip over my tongue.
Unfortunately for me and Patty, it began to rain. That was fortunate for this community, though. They have suffered extreme drought, with no real rain since July. There is no such thing as irrigation here, so no rain means no garden, no grass for livestock, and no fruit on the trees. All of these provide food and income for the people here.
With the rain, the road we were to travel on became too dangerous to travel on by motorcycle. So we stayed at Kilimani Baptist Church and enjoyed the service. We were blessed when Pastor Paul from the mission came and joined us instead. There will be revival meetings several evenings this week, so my opportunity to preach will surely come again and I pray God will use this vessel (with no injury to my tongue).
(Cat Note: Doris and I were scheduled to go to Pastor Albert's church, but did not go there for the same reasons. Weather - what are you going to do with it? *shrug*)
As the service continued, we enjoyed a great sermon from Pastor Julius and another from Rich. We were so welcomed by this congregation. They have been preparing for our visit for months and many will go out with us as we witness to interpret and watch over us.
As the service concluded (this is a long blog because it was a long service, but at no time did I see anyone nodding off or excusing themselves to catch the football game. Enthusiasm and rejoicing held everyone's attention.), I was honored by being asked to do the closing prayer.
Before we left the church, I had a wonderful few minutes with the kids. I showed them pictures of my home, my dog, the forest where we live, and they all had a wonderful time running their fingers through my hair. Many of them walked us home from church, holding our hands so we wouldn't slip in the mud and laughing at how we were trying to not ruin our shoes while most of them were barefoot.
What a great day. God is so good.
P.S. Cat gave me a B- on our Evangecube practice (Cat Note: not true - I gave her a solid B).
Oh, one more thing that I saw on the way home that touched me. The rain had pooled in ruts in the road, and there was a little boy sipping water from it. I'm not sure what use it would be put to. Patty thought it was for making the mud brick used to repair and build homes here.