There is something really quite amazing about experiencing and participating in worship in another culture. Our day started early – we were prepared for a 6 am service that we would be up and ready to arrive by 7 am (not quite sure why) but then after a bit of waiting, we were told that we would not be going to that first service, as they had done an all night worship service for New Year’s Eve (8p-6a). And apparently this is a pretty common practice, but everyone on the team was blown away by that idea.
So they let us know that now we were going to church here in Cambry – right outside the orphanage at 9:30 am. But no one was too disappointed and hopped back in bed for a nap before church!
We walked down to church and as we passed the kids dorms had many join us. We learned church starts more like 9:30ish (meaning 10 am) but after a bit, it was a packed house. People worship in their best down here – full suits and fancy dresses and we were prepared to try to blend in. All that clothing in no AC, but we were thankful when God would send a cool breeze in. Especially considering most of us had kids squeezed in all around us, on our laps and under our feet beneath the pews!
Worship was loud and lively, punctuated by Scripture reading and prayer. I was called on to preach, but wasn’t sure I would be able to while fighting some congestion and a cough. But God’s Spirit sustained me and I was honored to preach the Word in English, while it was being translated into Creole. After my sermon, Pastor Louis shared a challenge with the congregation in relation to New Year’s and then invited me up to help serve communion. After the service we walked up to the pool to celebrate the sacrament of baptism. I was asked on the spot to participate in this service as well. What an honor to baptize 12 young adults who had given their lives to Christ! It was such a worshipful morning that stretched into early afternoon!
After a quick bite for lunch, we learned we weren’t going to 4:30 pm worship, but they had planned a little excursion for us. We loaded up into the back of the trucks and were taken to a beautiful waterfall and swimming hole. The water was a bit chilly, but so refreshing. It was a perfect break from the work, and a great Sabbath rest and recharging. The landscape was amazing and the time together we had a team was really cool. We also got to see even more of the surrounding communities on our drive there and back.
It was a full day, but a good day. But it’s also a bit bittersweet as we realize our time here is coming to a close. We are committed to loving well and not just a serving love, but a physical love. There is rarely a moment where we don’t have at least one kid on each arm and possibly one on the back as well. We want to continue to be faithful to love the least of these in practical, tangible ways just like Jesus did.
Thank you for continuing to pray for us – not only do we covet these prayers, but we need them and feel them. Everyone on the team is healthy and doing well.