15 March 2009

Evangelized in Malava

Michael, Sue and I met up with Angela to go to a more 'lively' church this morning.  At 10am we met at the corner of Malava Juu (uptown) and walked to the service.  We arrived shortly after it started.  It was held in a large building filled with rows of pews.  In the front, the pastor was giving his sermon to the small crowd.  He stood behind what was a pseudo-alter.  More like a podium with a blue cloth.  Sitting in the front was a woman at a table with the same blue cloth on it and the chairs.  To the right a keyboard and sound system.  The pastor was giving his sermon with a microphone.  The speakers were set in the back corners with, yup, blue cloths hanging over.  For extra decoration, the speakers had large plastic flowers.  Next to the podium stood two green plants with fake flowers draped.  The pastor spoke in a slow Swahili, which was a nice change of pace from the Catholic church.  After a few minutes, the woman seated at the blue table passed a note to the preacher.  He read it and called for a translator.  Immediately, a man came forward and the pastor switched to English.  The other man took his own mic and began to translate into Swahili.  He proceeded with his sermon in English and threw in a good amount of, "Praise the Lord[s]" to keep us all on our toes. 

As he preached, the congregation listened with great care as they took notes and checked their bibles.  He came to the end of his sermon after about 30 or 45 minutes and kicked off into song.  The initial keyboardist was inept and unable to come close to following the tune.  My concerns were cast aside as the real player came in and joined.  He threw on a beat and played the right chords for the songs.  The pastor was accompanied by a group of female singers.  They harmonized as he sang his praise.  With the people up and the room filling, things got started.  The real service was about to begin, and I did not even know it.

He sang for a bit and then said his goodbye.  I figured that it was a short day and that we got lucky.  Not so much.  One of the back up ladies took over and launched into song.  As the song would progress, she would move away from the rest of the singers and cut loose into her own variants on the notes and words.  Further along, as the song came to an end, she would launch into a spoken praise that would lead to rambling.  Not wanting to be left out, everyone begins to speak out and call great praises to Jesus and God.  Some drop to their knees, head against the floor in great reverence to their savior.  Others looked upwards, arms raised as if pulled up by the holy spirit towards heaven.  They would chant and ramble their thoughts and prayers in a swell much like the Kenyan rains.  She would reign in the crowd and launch into another song that would fall apart into rambling praise and then back to song. 

This hysterical madness of praise continued for about an hour and then another man took the mic to talk about grace.  At this point I was too consumed with my own thoughts and processing of the experience to pay much attention to him.  He went on for awhile and we finally left as he was finishing up at 12:30.  Angela said that it would be a 4 to 5 hour service.  Thankfully we got out early.  Then it was off to her house for lunch.  There we hung out, watched some music videos and ate a great meal.  She made the best cabbage I have ever had.  The majority of the entertainment was provided by her son Gracious.  He was scared of us initially, except for Sue the child whisperer.  He came around after a bit and went around teasing everyone.  He would burst into laughter when Sue would give him a look, fall in hysterics when she would bang her hands on the table.

Then it was back home to relax and watch some more bootleg movies.  Great buy on Michael's part by the way.  Now the thunder is roaring and the rain is about to start.  Yesterday's shower was much needed.  Ah, and since I did not mention this, rain here is perfect for a shower.  Since I was already soaked from the walk home from the soccer match, I decided to put on a pair of shorts and grab my shampoo.  I lathered up and rinsed off in the rain.  Since we did not have a shower ready for the day to save water, it was a treat to have a shower in the rain.  Not a perfect shower, but refreshing and needed.  Maybe I will develop a rain shower system to help preserve water.  It is a bit cold, but nice as you get used to it.

A new week begins and tomorrow my corned beef cooking will take place.