Worship in Masese!
January 31, 2010
This morning we attended the African Gospel Mission Church here in Masese. We have visited the pastor twice this week as we explored the possibility of duplicating their water harvesting tank, water filter system and energy efficient cook stove. He is a young, energetic man and had eagerly invited us to his church on Sunday morning. We did attract a bit of attention as we picked our way through the mud homes, past cows, goats and chickens wandering aimlessly and dozens of children in every imaginable form of dirty clothing staring as we made our small parade of white girls carrying several black children. When we reached the small concrete block church we were immediately welcomed and, although we were the only white faces in the building, were made to feel right at home. We settled in to a variety of molded plastic chairs and I noticed that on most of the available wall space there were posters made out of plain sheets of paper with scripture verses beautifully written and decorated with colored pencil. The side walls each had several large metal garage type doors that could be propped open to allow air in the building. The front of the church had a raised platform with a light blue sheet draped across the back and a small keyboard to one side. The children were pretty cooperative as we sat through the beginning of the service and just about when they were starting to fidget, the music began!
I do believe that there was enough joyful worship in that small concrete building with peeling paint, old plastic chairs, paper bible verses and cows wandering by the open doors surrounded by women washing clothes outdoors and naked children running all around, to make up for all the churches in Bedford County that were closed today because of the snow!! As the choir led worship, the room was transformed into something resembling a dance hall for Jesus. The young children ditched the chairs in the front of the church to move and clap with the music, young mothers danced with babies on their hips and even the elderly were turning and clapping to the beat of the praise music. I’m still not sure if it was one very long song or if one song moved to the next without missing a beat, I have no clue what the words were to any of the songs but it was clear that all these people were singing praises to God and making a VERY joyful noise to the Lord! At one point they must have been singing about being covered by the Word because those that had a Bible placed it on their heads and the children that had no Bible danced with their small chairs on their heads!
The pastor was very animated as he preached on the treasure that God has placed in each of us and our need to use these treasures for His Glory in service to Him. He creatively wove the story of Esther and the parable of the talents together to challenge his church to be the change that God wants for the community of Masese. I believe that God has placed a treasure in each of us through Christ, and I believe that he has also placed a treasure in this small church in the corner of Masese.
The sermon was so rich and appropriate –I found myself in another world as I listened to the passion for the Gospel that this man shared, feeling the warm breeze off the lake with a child sitting on my lap that by all logic of man should not even be alive. I could not help but wonder if, when little Chakool returns to his home in the village, he will remember being surrounded by the voices of Saints and being held by the by the loving arms of His servants. I don’t know if he will remember thanking Jesus for his food or having someone pray with him during the night when he was frightened. I don’t know how long he will wear the bright orange sandals that were his first real pair of shoes or if he will ever ride in a car again as a child. What I do know, is that saving this child’s life was part of God’s plan and that in doing so, He changed the lives of many others who will never forget this little boy that was given a second chance at life.