Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Finding Church (and Laughter)

I'm pretty sure that in heaven some day, all the northern hemisphere folks are going to watch the Tanzanians worship God and they'll say,

"Shoot, why were our Sundays so boring all those years?"

(If you're reading in a feed, you'll have to click to the blog to see this video.)

You know you're in for some movement when your worship leader starts off by saying, "Okay everybody, make sure you spread out and have room for dancing."

And this particular church?  Presbyterian, people.  Not even Pentecostal.  When in a sub-Saharan African church, you dance.  Dance or go home.

The dancing is my favorite part of church here.  But other than that, church has been a struggle sometimes.  We spent 10 years at international churches during our years at HOPAC.  But now that our ministry is to the Tanzanian church, we've felt compelled to be a part of it on Sundays.  Which means attending church where Gil and I are often the only white folks (or rather, I am the only white person, since Gil is a nice shade of brown).  We are different in color, in culture, in language.  We stick out like sore thumbs.

It doesn't help that in our effort to network with different pastors, that means we visit lots of different churches.  So it's taken a long time to really feel connected anywhere.

Which makes me particularly thankful for this group.

A number of months ago, we joined the small group from our church that meets in our area of the city.  We are the only non-Africans in the group.  They've been meeting together for a long time, and we are the outsiders.  But they have welcomed us with open arms; they have invited us into their lives and cultures.

Last weekend they planned a special dinner for couples with the purpose of strengthening marriage, and they invited us to help.  It was one of those evenings with good conversation and even better laughter.

Laughter, I think, is one of those absolute necessities to fellowship.  We are privileged indeed.

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