February 15, 2009....This was our second Sunday to attend church at the Fountain of God Church, in an extremely poor village near Navashi. Pastor Joel, a friend of Mary's, officiates over the services and he takes his commitment very serious. When I decided to go to Africa, I was determined to experience it all, and this included attending church. However, little did I know these church services would encompass singing, beating drums, dancing, and praising the Lord for three and half hours. OH MY!!
Pastor Joel, who preaches in Swahili to the congregation, also has an interpreter to translate in English. Pastor Joel, blessed, blessed, and reblessed everything and everyone. A quote we all got a kick out of was, "You must give or be taken." What that meant no one was really sure. There were so many times the group was asked to stand and praise the Lord a bit similar to the Catholic Church. Like the Catholic Church there was of of course an offering basket.
Pastor Joel, explained to us they only have the sacrament four times a year and only on special occasions. However, because we were there it was considered a special occasion so they broke out the bread and wine. As the bread was passed around you had to break your own piece of bread, and even though it was cheap wine, never the less it was wine in those little silver cups. YES... after three hours I need a good stiff drink, I just wishing, however the cup was a bit bigger. I wondered how all the Mormons would handle the situation, but they handled it with grace and drank it all down. Why some even had a smirk on their faces. Afterwards they all joked about the fact that God, would forgive them, because after all Pastor Joel, had blessed the wine at least ten times.
This church service was nothing like I had ever seen before. Pastor Joel, was all dressed up in a suit, yet so many of the villagers had no shoes and were dressed in rags. The children ran in and out of the tin church and a goat and donkey even wanted to join the worshiping.
On the bus ride back to the lodge, I started laughing and all I could think was oh hell, give me one of those half-assed, long winded Mormons any day of the week. I was glad I went to church and was able to experience it, but I really don't want to go back anytime soon!
From Mom: Well, today was the second Sunday we went to Fountain of God Church. I was hesitant about going and considered staying at the lodge, but decided to go to church with the group. Three and half hours later the Pastor shut up. Oh my! He blessed and re-blessed everything! Then, the congregation would stand and beat the drums until I thought I was going to scream. There was so many "Amens!" and "Praise the Lords!"
The church is in the center of a VERY poor village and is just a little shack with bench's and dirt floors. Today, in the middle of the service, a goat came to the open door and started baaing as if to say, "Okay, enough!" But, the Pastor just kept right on going. This is for Andie and Kristina...Okay, so give me a half-assed, long winded, Mormon any day of the week!!!!
From Andie: So, I can expect you in church with me on Sunday? Maybe we can see what Dr. Vizmeg is doing, he might could go with us. Ha Ha!
From Kristina: I knew it wouldn't be long before you were on board with us! This post made my day! Love ya, Kristina.
From Mom: I'll be there as long as I can bring a goat! With Love and miss you all!