This morning Judy and I, along with Swiss medical student Rebecca Buchs, young EBC missionary Sue (who's last name I don't know), and our friends Esther and Simon Tausi, went to visit the "Emmanuel Family Prayer Tower" back in the hills.
It's a bit of a long story, but to make it short, a family felt led of the Lord to turn part of their land into a prayer retreat, a place where people can go for some quiet time with the Lord.
We drove through the town of Minj (for those of you who know your way around these parts) and then up to Tsigmil, turned south (I think) and drove for another 20 minutes, parked and walked for about a half-hour.
We heard someone singing in the distance. I had not expected a formal welcome. I thought that we'd just walk to the place, look around, maybe rest for a little while, then walk back. But as we came around a curve in the path along a small river, we found a group of people singing a welcome song. There were about 20-- they had formed a double line for us to walk through. We were met by the "Papa Graun" (literally the father of the land--just means the senior member of the family that owns the land) who escorted us up a beautiful path.
They had transplanted flowering plants, including several varieties of orchid, and some soft fluffy moss to decorate the path. There were signs naming the several small streams that converged here after names of rivers from the Old Testament. They had added a collection of seashells from the coast, and a couple of rocks that they thought were fossils (which I don't think are).
The path leads to the site where one of their houses once stood until it was burned by enemies during tribal fighting several years ago. At that time they felt that God was directing then not to rebuild on that site, but turn it into a place of prayer. We sat around and sang songs, then Pastor Bill, one of the sons of the family shared a brief devotional, and we had a short time of prayer.
This was honestly the best time of worship I have had in weeks. I believe that worship is something between the individual and God, that no pastor or "worship leader" can make you worship, or keep you from it, for that matter. When music is not to your liking, or when the words spoken don't stir you emotionally, or the environment is not conducive to worship, it's up to you to worship God. When the music is your favorite, when the leader says things that really minister to you, when the surroundings make it easy to turn your thoughts to God, it's still up to you to worship. But for whatever reason, this morning in a little clearing near the top of a mountain in the jungle, it was easy for me to worship.
The folks had prepared a lunch for us. We ate together, walked back down to the car, then drove back to Kudjip. The day was little more than half-gone, and I had had an adventure, a time of worship, and a good lunch. What more could I ask for in a Saturday?