Our second day in Ngaamba fell on a Sunday. We had been told their services sometimes ran a little long, and by long, I mean 3-4 hours. Our team divided into two groups, each group attending a different service within the community. Our bus pulled up to this white church, the front doors were open and the sounds of music and instruments came flooding out. The community that was gathered around were welcoming and wore smiles that would melt your heart. I wanted to be in that church. My heart seemed to be in synch with whatever was going on inside those walls. It was at that point that the other group was told they would be staying for this service.
Figuring that my church would be similar in fashion to the white one, my group started walking to where our service would be held. Little hands grabbed a hold of mine. We stopped in front of this small cinderblock building with a tin roof. One door. One window. This was where I’d spend the next four hours, and if I’m honest, was disappointed.
The service had already begun, as we filed in through the door, passing the single drum that held tempo for the worship songs. We were ushered to the back of the building, passing 8 rows of wooden pews. No backs on our seats. Kids on our laps. Kids on kids on our laps. The air stopped moving. I counted the cinderblocks – it was 8 cinderblocks wide, and 13 cinderblocks long. There were 52 of us on those 8 tiny rows.
It was your typical church service, just longer. I won’t bore you with the details, but I will say that my time in this church was stripped down, honest to goodness, pure worship. No light shows. No boy bands in page-boy caps, scarves and skinny jeans. Our only focus was God. I was overwhelmed by how present I could feel the Lord. They praised in a way I have not. But want to.
The service was spoken in Kikumba with some parts being translated to English. There was one point in the service where the Paster asked us to pray. Out loud. All at the same time. One of my other team members made the comment that we caught a glimpse of what God experiences when we all pray to him. Lots of voices talking, praising, pleading to Him, and he can discern them all. He listens to them all.
In that tiny 8 x 13 cinderblock shack I was reminded that God doesn’t need a lot of accessories to his grace and love.
PS. Just because I miss seeing this sweet little face everyday.