Thursday, June 26, 2008

Church This Past Sunday

Before we left the Pioneer, Melinda told all of us that the Church was having communion that day. During communion the congregation of the church eats the body of Christ in the form of little pieces of bread and drinks the blood of Christ in the form of juice. Only those who were baptized in a Catholic Church can participate in communion and only a about four of us met the requirements.We walked about half a mile to a church is called Saint Clare. Arriving at 10:00 am, we sat down outside the church doors waiting for other people to arrive. While waiting, I walked around the corner of the church to find Cody and Katrin playing the drums with one of the Zambians. Cody wasn't doing magnificently but he did alright for a beginner :). Once everyone started arriving, we walked in the church and sat down in some seats in the back row. The church was rather small. As soon as you walk in you are met with about nine rows of long wooden benches. I have some pictures of the church. Once everyone sat down we waited for a few minutes and then we some women in the front seats began singing. On the other side of the church humbly sat about twenty nuns. The whole church service was in Nianja. After the women finished singing four beautiful songs, the nuns got up in their rows and sang a few songs using hand motions. Almost how praise dancers use their hands. When the nuns finished singing, the pastor came out and spoke in Nianja. Sometimes the pastor translated what he said in English for us. He told us that we shouldn't be afraid of listening to God. He said that if God tells the gossiper to gossiping, the gossiper shouldn't be afraid to stop even if he thinks that gossiping is what defines him. Next thing I knew people were bowing their heads and we all assumed they were praying so we joined them. There was a lot of standing and then kneeling on the ground. Sometimes when I thought were getting ready to sit down they actually got down to kneel. I definitely depended on following what the rest of the congregation was doing so I could follow. One boy in front of me began reading the Bible out loud. The Bible was in Nianja. Only two people had Bibles: the pastor and the boy. After more preaching the Pastor and two little boys wearing matching beautiful African printed outfits left following th pastor. Then a gentleman went up to the podium at the front of the church and gave some announcements. Then he acknowledged us and asked that one of us go up to introduce our group. Cody went up and explained our projects her in Zambia and then the gentleman said something in Nianja to the group and everyone started laughing. We all looked around at each other wondering what they were all laughing about. The gentleman told Cody to speak a little slower. I guess not everyone in there spoke English so Cody repeated what he said and the gentleman repeated Cody in Nianja. The gentleman asked us to all go up so we may formally be welcomed. We all stood up and lined up in front of the church and the whole congregation, including the nuns and the adorable children, came to shake our hands with warm smiles. I felt so welcomed and at peace. Our experiences with having warm encounters with the Zambians have been really nice. Even strangers will wave to us and everytime we walk home I see smiling faces and warm smiles. My favorite faces to see are the faces of the children. They are all very cute.
We all had a wonderful time at Church. Saint Clare was not as long as some churches back home in Seattle. I especially enjoyed the music they sang despite not understanding one word.

No comments: