After almost two years of living here, I've finally jumped into church leadership. yikes! So far, we have been attending regularly and helping with the teaching, but I was so afraid of changing their culture into my American standards that I needed to just observe. And because the people are so reserved and stand offish, I'm still learning cultural things even now.
But I'm attending a church, where as far as I'm aware, the pastor and one young woman, John, Oliver and me are the only ones that read!!! I went to the Wednesday night worship meeting and the poor young man of 25 year was preaching and using text that had nothing to do with his topics. He would have one of us read and then talk about it, but when the words didn't match up he just kept right on like they did. And our people are all just listening and I have no idea why they are coming back, but they are! So I started a womens bible study, we met at 5:30pm, and it starts getting dark at 6pm and I didn't even think about this. I'm reading the Bible with the light of my cell phone! The women were receptive, but I still have so much to learn.
But taking the American out of me has been harder than I ever thought. I'm sooo thankful that I've was lucky enough to be born an such an amazing country, I have a new and profound kind of American pride that I didn't know I could. Just the ideas that I had and the concept that people know how how to read and study the Bible at home on their own. I'm totally back in the Bible days, where people need to gather at the church to hear the word of God. And I don't mean my opinion of the Word, I mean just to have someone sit in the church and read, people will come and listen!
And to want to have a Bible study after work doesn't work unless the church can afford a generator, but then you have the obnoxious sound of a generator. Then when we gather, the older women want to hear the Bible in Umbundu, and the younger generation want Portuguese, so in this culture, even when there are not foreigners, there needs to be translations.
The picture below, is the landmark that I remember, so I know where to turn to find our church. The walls of the "building" are made of patched together t-shirts, a very common way to have shelter from the sun.
I love my church, but there is so much work to do. I am now teaching reading once a week in the mornings. The pastor teaches everday, and I help in on Mondays. He teaches 6 am women, 8am children, 10 youth. None go to school, just our church for education. Then I lead Sunday school and Wednesday night ladies Bible study. I'm praying that I start noticing leaders within the group to start training and helping this church be sustainable without me, but we have a long way to go. I mean it will go with or without me, but I do think the Lord has placed me at this church in this new neighborhood for a reason. And I'm very excited and overwhelmed by the responcability.
So this is what's is happening for now. Thanks for reading.
From Angola With Love,