We went to an African church this morning. There are several within walking distance of us but we chose this one because they gave the sermon in English (sort of) and their services are only 2 - 3 hours long (which is short in this area of the World). We joined some other English speaking white people and the 20 of us looked a bit like a parade heading down the path to church. The walk was very dusty and I ended up slipping on a steep part of the path. The dust is a lot like baking cocoa in its consistency so it puffs up with each step you take, blowing back on anyone walking behind you. We left our house at 9am knowing the service was scheduled to begin at 9am. We figured that we would arrive just in time after our 10 minute walk there, however we arrived just after Sunday School started (which usually starts at 8am). The church building is much like a big pole barn with simple hard wooden boards with backs for pews. There are 4 - 5 different adult classes going on at one time in this big open room making it very difficult to concentrate. We chose the class lead by the Pastor because it was partly in English. The gist of the class was that there is more to our salvation then having faith in Jesus, it needs to show itself in our actions. Before we knew it the church was filling up and church was beginning. The Pastor spoke in English, Pidgeon and Limbum, making it hard to follow but still interesting. He spoke on having God as our friend, using the account of Abraham from the Bible. He was very thorough about the responsibility we have to call God our friend. The concept of this is different in this culture because people are not generally friends with people who are higher or lower than them in their "class". Obviously no one is in the same class as God and yet He says we can be His friend. The music was fun - they sing out the verses first and then the congregation sings back. At the end everyone dances, walks to the front to give their offering and then farmers bring their crops to the front as their gifts and offerings. The service ends as they auction off the food from the front of the church. Cool experience!
The rest of our day was very relaxing. We got to go to the Rundus family's house for fresh roasted coffee. There are 3 other missionary families that work at the Seminary full time from America- one of them is from Minneapolis (Bethleham Baptist - North Campus). There is also a family from Canada with boys my sons ages who are here until the end of February. It was fun to meet all of them and see how we can encourage them. Our hope is to come alongside them in whatever way God shows us.
Pray for our team as people are wrestling through the emotions of not being able to do enough for all the needs that are here.