This past Sunday, Super Bowl Sunday if you will (Meg will post on that later), Deb the pediatrician at the hospital took us with her to visit her church. Deb’s church was about a 20 – 30 minute drive through some beautiful portions of the rain forest… very pretty in the morning sunlight. The church itself was very small and all the people sat on one side of the aisle, about 20 in all. Pastor Michel, one of the hospital chaplains, gave the message from 1 Timothy about how a deacon in the church should live his or her life. A little dry for us westerners, but most likely a needed message for these people so that godly leaders may be raised up to lead the church after the missionaries leave. After the message, something happened that hasn’t happened the entire time we’ve been here… we were formally introduced! Deb told them a little about us and what we do. They warmly welcomed us and after the service allowed us to take a few pictures with them (see the video below).
Later in the afternoon, back at Bongolo, Lisa invited us over for a worship sing-along with two of her Gabonese students that she mentors who are also trying to learn to speak English. It was amazing to hear the two of them speak even simple phrases in a language I could understand. It immediately made my heart go out to them. Their names are Lis and Davis (pronounced Leese and Dah-veese), brother and sister about 18 years old. Their whole family is Christian, and they told the story of their grandfather who was a great missionary to many African countries and also Holland. They also shared a song that their deceased oldest brother had written as a worship song to God that had become their “family anthem.” We sang several worship songs together in English, and we all took turns sharing a song with the group. For my turn, I sang Amazing Grace, and afterward Lisa wrote down the words for them. They had never heard it before! After speaking and singing with these two, with Lisa’s help in translating, my soul was lifted and my heart filled with respect and love for them. Probably the most powerful moment was at the end of our time, when we took turns praying for each other in our own languages. I prayed for Lis and Davis and then Davis prayed for Meg, Amy, and me in French. What an amazing God we serve who can hear our prayers in any language from any tongue!