Chowning - July 2004 Report.
Everyone looks at the world from their particular point of view. Below are glimpses into the thoughts of three Aja people as they attend a cluster meeting. They are real people experiencing actual events, but the accounts are my attempt at capturing their unique viewpoints.
I am so glad Komi was chosen to speak. He is no stranger to our village. Three years ago he came here, every week. He explained God's word so well that many of us came to understand that the Creator really loves us and wants to give us a new life. My friends and relatives are getting another opportunity to hear him. I had hoped that God's word would change their hearts today.
Yet, in the middle of Komi's lesson, my sister and her friends started giggling. Komi had been explaining John's vision of Christ, dressed in a blood stained white robe, returning from winning a battle. Komi said, "There was no blood or dirt on the robes of the saved ones who were following Christ. Christ had fought the battle for them." It took me a moment to figure out what brought on the laughing. Well, you see, my sister was wearing the traditional dress of her voodoo cult: a white sheet and pale cowry shell necklace and bracelets. She, and two of her fellow coven members were the only ones in the audience who were dressed in white.
I bowed my head. Then, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Benwa who was on a bench behind me. He leaned forward and said, "Remember when we used to make fun of Christians. Now look at us. Give them time. God's word will do its work.".
This brush arbor is typical. It was put up yesterday. Its much larger, but only a little less permanent, than the structure used by most of our congregations. It sure would be nice to lead singing in a real building. I doubt if the brothers and sisters could sing better. They already sing so well. They would just sound better, their voices echoing off stone walls.
I love leading singing, especially in these cluster meetings. It is the most exciting time of our worship. Others can preach and teach all they want. God uses them. But when we sing, everyone participates. In song we encourage each other with words like "What a person cannot do for himself, God will do it for him" and "The earth is God's. The heavens are God's. What does the Evil One have?" We praise God when we sing: "God is everywhere. He is in Badjame village. Amen. He is in Kidji village. Amen. He is everywhere" and "Satan has been chased out by the name of Jesus."
I am always a bit disappointed when a leader tells me it is time to stop singing. After all, we have only sung fifteen songs. There are so many more.
I have seen some of these people at market. I heard Zakaria call that fellow in the back row "director." He must be a primary school principal. That women over there knows all the songs. I saw her delivering a whole car load of oranges to Azove last week. Before today, I had only seen the few visitors who have been coming these past three months to preach in our village. I am sure glad that we were able to come to this meeting, even before we have been baptized. I had no idea so many Aja people were part of God's group.
I learned a lot of new songs today. I also saw what takes place in a Sunday meeting. I did not take the Lord's Supper, because they said it was only for Christians. I have some questions about it. I will ask those who come to teach us next week.