A funny thing happened today, I had my first sense of culture shock. No electricity and no water haven’t bothered me as much as I thought it might. Trying to sleep with next doors generator and dogs barking does get a little tiresome. Ever stranger than that though, today we did church for the first time.
We took the easy option and headed to the chapel at Hillcrest, Dan’s school which is 10 minutes walk down the road form our house, the service seems to be where most ex-pats head on a Sunday morning. I had ben warned that the band isn’t up and running yet so I should expect hymns, there’ll be no Sunday school for Dan to go out to, but only 45 – 60 minutes long and a good bunch of friendly faces. Spot on the money, Dan needed to loo so we entered during the first hymn, which I didn’t know, nor were any words projected, nor had anyone handed me a hymn book. So it turns out there is only a limited number of hymn books, and they are distributed out along the chairs. The row we sat on didn’t have any. The serves was true to form and couple other songs I knew from previous churches and so I could engage, but Dan was bored senseless. Unable to follow what was going on, unable to sing, unable to see, he was ready to go home. The sermon was only 15 minutes, but dad was ready to leave about 5 minutes in, maybe he was expecting a longer service. When it was over, he exclaimed ‘is that it?’
I don’t need any persuading of the importance of the ministry we are involved in here -getting God’s word in languages of people that need it. I felt like I had a small glimpse of what those people feel every week when they go to church. There because that is what we Christians do – go to church on a Sunday morning. However as I sat or stood, unable to follow those songs, not knowing what words to sing or tune to hum, I realised I was totally unengaged, totally switched off, waiting for the next part of the service that I MIGHT be able to follow.
I cannot imagine what it must be like for people who have to do that week in and week out because of language barriers. I guess I am in the right place to make a difference! How about you?
Oh yeah, and I had to fix our water pumping system this afternoon too 🙂