This Sunday I was invited to preach at one of the "bush" churches, at a place called "Bilu". Judy was not able to go with me, and there were no missionaries or volunteers who could go. I asked some of the college of nursing students if they'd like to go. Five of them decided to go along. I had never been there before, so the pastor offered to meet me in Banz. The only problem was that we forgot to specify a time! I guessed the time, but the pastor had wanted to start early this week, as it was a special service. He waited patiently for me, however.
Lina, Lydia Kolum, Elvis and Nixon, NCON students went with me.
The Bilu Church of the Nazarene's sanctuary and prayer house. A foundation has been poured for a new sanctuary in the future.
We drove to the village and then walked a short distance to the church building. The people were waiting patiently for us.
It turns out that this was a special service for this church. They had participated in a community evangelistic crusade in which 179 people had made commitments to Christ. Twenty-seven of these had chosen to unite with the Nazarenens. After greeting us, the people invited us to wait with them for the group of new Christians to arrive and then participate in greeting them.
A lot of kids were trying to get into every picture I took, so I took a group photo to placate them. Some "big kids" sneaked into this one.
While we waited the pastor got his hammer and tore the woven matting that is used as wallboard in the thatched buildings from a section of wall at the back of the little sanctuary. When we talk about a church "splitting at the seams" we don't usually mean it this literally!
There! Instant overflow seating!
The new believers process in
The group of new Christians arrived, led by three members of the organizing committee for the recent crusade. They passed through a double row of people singing a welcome song, and went into the church building.
The worship team led in lively worship
The NCON students shared a testimony and a song
This is the "preacher's eye" view of the congregation. The people raising their hands are the new believers.
Well, of course they would have a lunch for the guests. It's a good thing that I took the NCON students along, or it would have been a very lonely lunch for me. This was a very nice meal, including several grand (and expensive) touches. There were 2 kinds of rice (and rice is pricey for most people), chicken (and chicken prices are up as well, do to high feed prices), and of course a variety of fruit and vegetables. Garden produce is also getting hard to come by due to the drought.