Today, Michael takes me to his home church to attend services. He has attended here since he was small. We drive up the gravel drive to Kager Vision Center and into a grassy compound with a sizable brick chapel (maybe seating for 150 about 90 attending), a stucco and rock community center building and a stucco clinic (built by an NGO). The African style of worship is not unlike a rousing Southern Baptist service with lots of singing along with the preaching and teaching. As I’ve noticed elsewhere here, there were always 2 speakers as there is constant translation (here the dual service was Luo and English).
We sing a while, with the worship leader and 3 women chorists taking turns leading, and 2 keyboardists accomplanying. Then the dance team shows up. The four eight-year-old girls file in and stay up front and for the 15 minutes of that song, dance to the music in unison. It is just delightful – those girls have all the moves, frequently varying their dance, sometimes executing turns, sometimes back-to-back, always in unison.
The Guest teacher speaks on how to pray (importance of silence before God, separation from distraction, etc.) and later on how to worship with all our heart/soul/mind/strength –worshiping in truth (accurate to scripture), with real (heartfelt), thoughtful and practical (not just ritualized) worship.
And it seems to me that “worshiping with all our strength” suggests that it should cost us something, should involve some sacrifice, if we’re really putting our lives in His hands. For a little while recently, my road seemed particularly difficult and humbling, but in general I am thrilled with my work with Achungo. It seems like nothing but a gift.
Halfway into the service, visitors are invited to introduce themselves and many come up to the stage for a brief word. Michael speaks briefly, introduces me and I briefly express my greetings, appreciation of the unity of believers world-wide, and sense of call to join Michael in his important work at Achungo. Pastor Henry closes the service sharing his recent travels to develop the ministry and visit colleagues and parishioners, as well as upcoming program plans. After the service, during greetings, I tell him how much of a blessing it is for me to work with Michael, that I consider him my role model. (I hope his church is very proud of Michael!)
It is close to 2pm when Michael drives me back to Rodi. I remark on his introduction of me as having left a big job to fill the position of Mama Achungo (i.e., Exec Director) and I tell him that I was much more impressed with how he has left his new career for Achungo. He is a very remarkable man.
He joins me for lunch at the Tausi Hotel and we talked about all the things we want to do during my visit. I am pleased to hear him say that 3 weeks might not be enough for all we want to do. I had begun to worry that it would be a burden to him but his excitement is all the encouragement I need.
After Michael heads for home and after a brief rainstorm and thunder-boomer had blown through, I take a walk down the road past town, and past the rich, green countryside and fields of maize and banana farms. I seem to be a big celebrity –I’m incessantly greeted from nearly all those I pass. Little children called out “mzungu” (“hey white person”) and grownups offered greetings of “how odd you?” and I learned the proper reply is “fine, thank you, how odd you? A very friendly place.