My friend Marvin asked me for transport to the hopping town of Harmony, where he had been invited to minister. Marvin makes cement blocks for Chodort on weekdays, but is also an active (Pentecostal) preacher in his community. I said I would give him a lift, would not stay for the church program, so that I could return home and take my own family to church.
Our plans don't always work the way we expect them to, do they?
Sunday came. I couldn't remember exactly where Marvin lives in the maze of muddy dirt roads in south Choma, so met him at a nearby high school. He brought his wife with him. We drove to Harmony, which is only 15 minutes down the highway. Then we waited at the side of the road for awhile for someone named Clive to come on a bicycle and lead us to the church building. Finally Clive arrived, then rode in the car with me while Marvin pedalled furiously on the bike behind us. The scenery was beautiful, as the rains have made everything green again. The sandy road went on and on...I had planned to just drop them off and then leave (they could catch a bus back to town) but when I realized how far into the bush we were going, I decided I couldn't leave them without transport. When we finally arrived at the little church, I called home and let my wife know.
The church is a small red brick building a bit bigger than our living room, with small slats for windows, a dirt floor, and a tin roof. Four or five benches were set up along one wall. The stage was raised slightly, with a battery-powered piano keyboard and speaker. There were english Bibles and songbooks (printed in Edmonton!) on the benches. The service began at 10am and went until about 1pm, after which we had some lunch outside (pounded maize with sour milk and sugar). We left around 2pm; I did some grocery shopping on the way home and got home at 3:30pm--about 7 hours later than I'd planned to.
I felt very welcomed and comfortable in this small church plant. A few of the church members were quite familiar with Choma/Lusaka/Western way of life, so maybe that's why I felt so accepted...and the church wasn't too crazy (maybe because there weren't many people there today?). In fact it was mostly in English, with some Tonga translation. The pastor said I would be preaching next time I visit. Maybe I'll put it off for awhile. :)
Happy New Year!