Saturday, December 8, 2012

From My Travel Journal Day 4

Today, I wanted to visit a nearby orphanage but I still had many things to accomplish for the Fern House. One of the big items was to figure out their current water situation and how it can be improved. I also hoped we would be able to visit "A" even though Sunday may not be the best day to go. Our driver would be coming after his church to get us, so at the last minute I decided to wait at the church, attend the service and visit until our driver would arrive.

I have never experienced a church service here, but I heard it was long and hot. Our hotel was out of water and nothing was open between the hotel or church. It was Sunday after all. I had asked Mary what time their service started, she said 9am for locals, 9:30 for obrunis, meaning it would begin at 10am. I love how time is such a different concept here. We would be told "I will be ther in the next hour" which could mean a wide range of minutes. Or "it's just 10 minutes away" and end up walking a half an hour. So of course I arrived at church around 9:20 and no one was there. Except the choir practicing so we listened and enjoyed sitting in the shade. Then Mary arrived and took us to get some bottled water. Woohoo!

The church service was so different yet so powerful. The first hour or so was spent in worship. Beautiful singing, lifted hands and such devotion was present in that building. I can't even imagine what circumstances people leave behind when they come into this church and what they need at that moment. Once worship was over, the songs became more upbeat, the tambourines came out and dancing was joyful and free. My moves were obviously "white" but I didn't want to miss out by feeling self conscious. Then our section started our dance around the aisles. Before I knew it, I was following the ladies trying to keep up. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Lucy taking video of me and I figured it would give many people laughs later on.


When the preaching began, at first they were using English. They asked me to stand and I was honored to be recognized as an "international" guest. Then they realized they had guests from different regions and switched to two different tribal languages. Amazingly, Comfort decided to translate the entire service for me, and I will cherish that gift and sacrifice for years to come. She could have soaked in the message herself and I would have been fine just listening. But she spent the time explaining things to me. What a gift she gave me.

The children's service was done so little ones started to came into the sanctuary. Precious climbed on my lap, which was the first time this cutie gave me the time of day. After 1pm she was getting antsy so we stepped outside as the service was ending. Emmi was outside eating a frozen yogurt so she had obviously enjoyed herself with the little ones.

Emmi and Mary went for snacks, Precious decided to join them

After the church you could see what Comfort means to her community. Person after person came to her with their needs and she counseled, prayed, gave and advised each and every person according to their needs. I don't know how she juggles all that is her life and does it with such compassion and care.

Soon enough our ride arrived. We were unable to visit "A" afterall. Disappointed but understandable. We decided to take a trip to the beach and have Emmi experience something different for the night. She rode a horse on the beach, we sat and enjoyed the ocean breeze and watched the entertainment. We dipped our toes into the warm water and got sand everywhere. By the time we returned, it was dark and we were done for the day. Another day of cultivating friendships, learning and enjoying was done. And how I missed my three at home....and the one I couldn't see today.

Emmi at the beach

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