It is Sunday today and we got up at around 7am to head out to worship at Orlando Baptist Church. There was nothing “baptist” about it! Some of the most vibrant worship I’ve ever experienced and the most welcoming people I’ve ever met came together at church this morning. Even I, in my three day old clothes and beaten up shoes, was greeted with warm smiles, tight hugs, and friendly handshakes. It made me really think about church in America and how superficial we are at times. We can easily say how welcoming we are to guests in our churches and how we don’t look down upon those who aren’t dressed in their typical “Sunday best” but the truth is we do. I’d never feel comfortable wearing what I wore to church today in church back home. The weight of that reality hit like a ton of bricks today. And let me add that although I couldn’t understand the the Zulu language, I could very much identify with the fact that God was in that room. A 2 hour and 45 minute church service felt like 30 minutes. We drove up and songs of praise could be heard coming from inside the little one room church. Within about 5 minutes the church was filled to capacity. There was never any need to prompt the people to worship. They sang. Loudly, they sang. They danced. They lifted their hands and prayed aloud. It’s wasn’t about a performance at all and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t help but think of how much I wish worship back home resembled worship here in Africa.
We had lunch at McDonalds for which I was thankful for free wifi and the ability to wish my Dad a happy Father’s Day (and also French fries, lol). Then we went to the Apartheid museum where we learned about the terrible injustice and cruelty that was suffered by the black South African community. It was truly eye opening to think that this was going on even as I was alive! So much about this trip thus far has been learning about the people here and the culture so that we may better understand how to be ministers to these people. Tomorrow (Monday) is Youth Day here. It’s a day where people march in the streets of Soweto to remember the horrific and tragic deaths of the children who marched to end the Apartheid. We’re going to march too and attend the celebration of freedom. I’m excited to get to participate in my first march and just be completely immersed in this beautiful culture.
Today I was so excited to get my luggage. As you probably know I’ve been wearing the same clothes since Thursday… Thank goodness they don’t smell bad! However, when they arrived to drop off my luggage tonight we didn’t recognize them and never opened the door. SO, I still don’t have any luggage!!!!! I really feel like The Lord is opening my eyes to something here. I’m living about as simply as I can right now and I’m surviving. We called the airline and they will be delivering my luggage again tomorrow by 11:00am. So by the time you read this I should have clean clothes! Praise The Lord!
I don’t know the plan for the week but I do know that we are diving in deep to the culture, learning a lot of new things, and being changed everyday. Beginning Tuesday we’ll be spending most of our time at the KYP and loving on those kids. Please be in prayer that The Lord would continue to reveal things to me about my own life and give me direction. He’s been so faithful and even in breaking me from the start of the trip by being without everything, he’s opened my eyes to so many things. The people here are beautiful and I’m honored to live among them even if it is for such a short time.