We got to go to a traditional church service in a small village here in Rwanda and I can tell you it is very different from our services in the states. To help you understand it better I created a list of do’s and don’ts for an African church service.
Don’t bring a watch. No one else has one or cares about beating the crowd to Chili’s. So, settle in. You are going to be there a while.
Do bring a cushion. The only padding the benches have is what the good Lord gave you.
Don’t be fooled by 5 seemingly perfect places to end the service because there are probably 3 more in the distant future.
Do bring your love of music. There is a lot of singing and, even though you do not know the words, it is still very cool.
Don’t be worried about your lack of rhythm. Gloria Estefan lied to us all. The rhythm might not get you, but it is OK. People in Africa don’t care.
Do lose your inhibitions. Even if you never dance at church, let your uptight self go and enjoy the moment.
Don’t whip and nay nay in church. Lesson learned.
Do bring a translator. I bowed my head in serious prayer for 5 minutes, only to find out those were the announcements. I might have even thrown in an ill-timed hallelujah.
Don’t bring your breast feeding cover up. It is not needed.
Do bring your heart for prayer. It was cool to see mothers honored and prayed over as they have a very tough life here in Rwanda.
Don’t think because people here lack water and electricity that we know more about God then they do. These people, while they appear to have nothing have something so much greater. They have faith that is strong and very real in their lives.
The message from 1 Samuel was about God providing for our needs even in the midst of our troubles. We need to learn from the Israelites and serve the only God – not allow things to become idols in our lives. Here is where it got real. The pastor went on to say that seeking God’s kingdom first, even when our needs are great, is the key to joy. Sometimes the blessing that comes from this might not even be for us, but for our children years from now, so that when people look at their village and wonder why it is different, that God will get the glory.
I know I want God to solve my problems first so then I can focus on Him, but it is just the opposite. I should focus on Him and by doing so my problems will not seem so big.
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