Friday, June 22, 2007

Jamaica Road

The pictures above have nothing to do with the rest of what I have to say, but they're a couple good shots of the Africa Mercy on the day she arrived in Monrovia. In the sunset picture, the one on the left is the Anastasis, the ship that's being retired.

I've been meaning to write about last Sunday for the last few days, and I finally have time. I really had no idea where to go since there are a lot of options. I also had no idea what to expect when I got there. Jamaica Road is a church that's only a mile and a half or so from the ship, so that sounded like a good option to me because I could walk in the neighborhood a little bit. As I've said, it's rainy season, which is the "cool" part of the year, but we were all roasting in the short walk there. The temperature isn't terribly high, but the humidity is incredible.

Once we got to church we had to wait a while to go in until Sunday school was over because the building is only one room. I learned that compared to several churches in the area, this one is a pretty nice building. They actually had a roof, block walls, and a cement floor. There were no doors or windows. A friend of mine went to a church that had a roof and a little bit of the framing, no floor or walls. Everyone was so friendly and welcomed us in right away. Shortly after the service started, the lady leading the service asked all visitors to stand. ( I appreciated the fact that during the walk to church someone had warned me about what was coming.) As soon as we stood she had us all come to the front of the church. The congregation proceeded to sing a song of celebration and dance to the front to greet us one by one, shaking each of our hands. After that first time, you are no longer a visitor, and become one of the ones that gets to welcome new people next week. The worship time was wonderful! We sang and danced for quite a while, dancing forward a couple times for the offering. (and I thought the walk to church was warm!) I'm told that most West African churches collect 2 or 3 offerings, dancing forward to give for each one. They may not have much, but they're thrilled to be able to give what they do have.

I'm discovering that I don't necessarily like being far from people from home, but I do love being a couple time zones ahead. It's cool that even though we don't all "do church" the same way, we're all worshipping the same God. As I worship with people here in Monrovia, I get to pray ahead for those in Indiana, Michigan, and Indiana that still haven't started their days! (Except maybe the pastors doing final sermon preps:)


Mary said...

Sounds like a good time. So were you keeping up with the dancing? It is so interesting to be with Christians who do "church" differently and experience God in new ways.

Audrey said...

I would love to see the kind of dancing they do there! You'll have to show me...

Remember that His strength is made perfect in your weakness. May God bless your week ahead!