The service ran for 2 hours. Yes, 2. (And we hear that is short for this area!) There was a lot of music. All the children were invited up front for a Children's blessing. Our little Ugandan Sweetie marched right on up with the rest of the children, as the Minister prayed a special blessing over the children and their parents. I'm up for this one being added to the American service!
Next, all the visitors were asked to stand. Us Muzungu's (white people) stood out just a tad, but now we got to actually stand. Oh boy! They also recognized the woman who we were with. They called her the "Grandmother to all Children", and told about the amazing ministry she runs here. Then they recognized all the Americans who were there. (All 4 of us.) Everyone clapped.
Then came time for the offering. It took place during the music with everyone still standing and singing and dancing. Very joyful giving. It's hard to not have joy when you are moving to a beat and singing praises to the one we are giving to. Then we sat, and they asked for Thanksgivings. Apparently this is another offering for those who are thankful for something from the past week. They go up front to give thanks and offer more money in response to all they are thankful for. I thought this was fantastic. We should do this in America! Gives a whole new meaning to counting your blessings. :)
Next it was time for the Preacher (Bishop). He stood up and said that today he was more of a teacher than a preacher. He spoke about the pillars of His denomination and made it clear what they believe and don't believe, and how to live in response. It was no nonsense, there was no fear of offending anyone, and he was clear and to the point. (Very different than many American churches.)
The next part, I must admit, made me giggle a bit (just because of how different it was to me). Toward the end of the service, they had an auction. Someone had brought in a bunch (and by bunch, I mean probably 100) of Matooke (green bananas) to sell to the highest bidder. The money would go to the church. I believe the highest bid came in at about $35 US dollars. (More than double what they worth. And also quite a bit of money for this area.) Yet another thing I think they should do in America! Next week, what will you offer for the auction??? :) It was fantastic. There was more singing, communion, and we were dismissed.
What an experience. Oh....perhaps one of my favorite things here - when one is finished praying, and you say "Amen", you clap. Why would we NOT clap at the end of prayer? Makes sense to me.
We came back to our hotel after church and laid around for a bit. Aaron took a nap while I went down for some YUMMY coffee and watched Providence and little Miss UG Sweetie run and play in the Gardens. I read a bit, but mostly kept looking up to see the sweetness of these 2 girls blowing bubbles and laughing and chasing. She loves Providence so much already. (I'm actually a bit concerned about how she will be when Provi has to go home. But we'll deal with that later.)
|View from the porch.|
We're back in our room now, and the girls are playing cards. Sweet, sweet times. The joy on this new child's face can't be explained in words. We had been told in the past that she hardly ever laughs. However, we are seeing just the opposite. She laughs often, and makes the funniest noises in response to our gestures. Her huge grin appears quickly at our slightest attempts. Seeing her joy brings us great joy - and for this we are so very thankful.