This morning (and early afternoon for that matter) was simply amazing and inspirational. After a good breakfast with Rev. Bonanga and his wife, we drove to the Disciples church known as Mbandaka Three for morning services. The service had actually started before we arrived at 10:30 and we were promptly out of the service at 2:30. No, that is not a typographical error. The service lasted over four hours.
Singing and dancing, more singing and more dancing punctuated a service with a sermon that praised the Lord and gave thanks for everyone in attendance. But the focal point (for our team anyway) was the singing and dancing. There were liturgical dancers dancing whenever the praise band sang. There were four choirs in addition to the band. And boy did they sing!
Praising the Lord and telling stories through verse, some of the songs lasted more than five minutes each. We were able to video some of the service and we look forward to sharing it when we get home. Due to the bandwidth of internet services it may not be possible to post any to our blog.
But, as much as I’d like to say that comprised the bulk of the service, I won’t because it would not be truthful. There were four offerings taken. And several of them had multiple collection buckets for more than one intended purpose. I am happy to report that we were well equipped thanks to one of our donors. We received a last minute cash donation that was specifically for us to use as offering at the various church services we will attend.
As you can see from the photo above, even our own Frank Gresh and Steve Hanson danced down the center aisle of the church to place an offering. As Frank came down the aisle dancing, he stole the show from Janet Helms who has wanted to do just this for more than a year. Frank leading the way got a rousing cheer and claps from the congregation as he made his way to the front. Janet following, and performing a much more dignified dance, capped off that one thing we have laughed and joked about for months. She did it!
The service closed with Rev. Bonanga bringing our team forward introducing us. Now understand that none of the service was in English. Without our interpreter, we would have been clueless about what was going on. But we were greeted with shouts and cheers. And then when we sat down, one of the choirs which was made up entirely of women brought us precious gifts of fruit and sugar cane. It is now sitting on the dining table at our guest house for us to snack on.
What a day, and that only took us up to lunch. Up next is our journey to view well sites…. The reason we are here.