Monday, November 19, 2012

D-31 days... African church

Ha-ha, did any of you seriously think I wouldn't miss long, loud, humid, loud, sweaty, loud African Church Services and wouldn't dedicate an entire post just for this unique phenomena??? :)

Yes, yes, here we go!

For this Sunday we got invited by a pastor who works with us for the Jesus Film. It took us about an hour to get to his part of town on a Sunday morning. We called him and he sent one of his members to walk to the main road and guide us through the 'scenic route' (a.k.a. trash heaps, mud, sewage, pots and holes...etc you get the idea, basically typical African passage ways).

The first thing we noticed was the loud loud off-key singing. Somehow maybe African churches believe that the louder you scream into the mike, the closer you are to God - or what??? They must have a sound system regardless of the size of the church or the congregation. They only have 2 settings on the sound system: off or   fully cranked up to 10 - nothing in between!

The church buildings are usually small without windows, or even if they have windows it's covered with thick curtains. The ceilings are often covered with Christmas decorations or other colourful hangings. Church services go from 2 to 4-5 hours. In one church here in Conakry the pastor graciously reduced the service to 2 hours for Mercy Ships people... :) Not sure how I feel about it.

The first part is just a warm up, which is followed by some introductions and prayer time. Then we have the worship with loud music, dancing, clapping, lots of activity. All that in a small building with no air flow. Unlike Africans fotti people (white) do sweat a lot, even in comfy cotton dresses. It's still beyond me how they can tolerate the heat in their plastic dresses that do not breath at all!!!

Thank God they saw our discomfort and lowered the volume - seems like my prayer for a broken generator was unnecessary! The pastor was from Cameroon, he was planting this church here and thus was preaching in French. One of the worship leaders was translating to English for us. Often it was hard to follow them as they tried to shout louder than the other in a tiny building where no sound system was needed to begin with. Oh well... :)

The sermon itself was very good, we truly enjoyed it and were deeply challenged by the level of faith these often persecuted Christians have! After the service the pastor invited us to stay for a while, to chat, encourage one another and pray together.

Sadly we had to return to the ship as others needed the vehicle, but this was definitely a church I would love to return again! (which according to my dear hubby says a LOT!)

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