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Monday, June 04, 2007

Spawn of the Creature from the Blog

We now return to our previously scheduled program already in progress.

"Rhett, if you go, where shall I go? What shall I do?"

"Frankly my dear, I don't give a..."

OOPS! Wrong channel! Hey there, hi. Wow, that was close. Sorry about that. Is my face red! One might say its 'Scarlett'! Ha ha hoooo! Yeah, that was good.

Let's pick up where we left off in The Gambia - Sunday morning...
It was a beautiful morning. As the sun rose over the horizon, so did the temperature. Nevertheless, by 10am we were packed into the vans and off to our first destination of the day - church.

Now, let me just explain something about church in Africa. Right this moment, anyone who has been to a church service in Africa has stopped reading this and gone to make themselves a sandwich because they know this is going to be a long story and they better pack some sustenance before I take you all on this journey. You may want to grab something as well. I'll wait until you're back.

Welcome back. Church services in Africa are long. They are so long they will make a class on the history of Greece seem like a jog across the street. As well, African church services are very loud. They are so loud they make a crowd of Liverpool fans seem like distant bleating sheep. And lively! African church services are so lively, they make squirrels on an electric fence seem like...actually, that isn't a very pleasant analogy, is it? Maybe I'll just stick with the basics. It was pretty lively in there with a lot of singing and clapping and dancing and drums and more singing and clapping and dancing and drums and you get the point. Moving on.

Our entire group decided to come to the church service, even though we had made it optional. Since most of them weren't church-goers as it were, we didn't want to force them into it. But they were all eager to have as many experiences as possible! Well, we were all blown away by the singing and clapping and dancing and drums at the beginning of the morning's service. It was very exciting, and very moving. After spending the previous day with a local Gambian family, our group saw many families, who lived in the same conditions as Adam's family, but they were singing and dancing as if they had just won a lottery! Even the children were so excited and so sincere when they sang songs about Jesus' love and the hope they shared. The entire church opened their arms to our group. They had prepared special presentations of songs and dances. Our pastor gave a sermon, which was only about 30 minutes but it had to be translated so it doubled the time.

Overall, the service was only about two hours, which I think is a record in African church services. I've heard stories about services averaging at about four hours and peaking at seven hours! When we told the group that, they were pretty grateful for their two hour experience!

Now I know I've gone on and on about church services in Africa being long, but they have something the majority of our churches in the "civilized" world are missing out on - community. Coming together on Sunday morning is a huge event to these areas in the week. People get up and share testimonies about the things God has done for them that week. They share their struggles and ask for prayer. They'll lead everyone in a song about God's faithfulness and promises to encourage each other. Every single one is struggling for survival, but every single one of them is thankful for the things God has given them in this life and the promise of the next. It goes so much deeper than just a weekly meeting and greeting. Sunday morning is a huge celebration: God has brought them through another week together.

That afternoon our group went to a quiet little place called Lamin Lodge for lunch and a time just to relax. We reflected on the morning, talked about the upcoming week, enjoyed a short boat trip and tour of the area, and tried to keep the monkeys from stealing our Cokes. They sure were cheeky monkeys! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) By sunset we were back at the hotel, our skin various shades of brown and red. It would be an early night tonight. After all, it was our first day of school tomorrow!

And now...


This is of Saturday when we went to Adam's house. I was going to put pictures up, but I don't want to give away the rest of the story! Muwaaa haaaa haaa haaaa! I am sooo eeeeevillllll!

Take care and God bless,
~Alycia DeLong


Art said...

Adam sure has alot of things it would seem. Nice little story Alecia.

Randall&Claire said...

Good to hear that all the kids went to the LONG African service.... Africans really know how to go for it in prayer and worship, don't they?!

Can we come too next time??

Randall and Claire x