Sunday, June 10, 2007

Wow, What a Weekend!

This has been a very emotional and memorable weekend! We are so wiped out that I barely have time for these thoughts…so pictures will have to speak a thousand words!

Just as we shared a meal at Sossa’s house on Friday, we enjoyed a good homestyle African meal at Ega’s house! Four good-n-hearty-n-starchy courses with as many Coke’s as we could figure out how to drink! (These are like 72 oz bottles!) It was traditional flare, much like other American’s have eaten…but yet still SO unfamiliar to the American palette! The hospitality was incredible, though, and Ega’s gift of making a visitor feel at home could rival anyone’s! And we were the first people to eat a meal in his new home and with his new wife! (Unfortunately, as I got home I realized I had not one picture of his bride, sorry).

You’ll also see in one of the collages that we were also given a special gift from our friend, Louise. Before going to Ega’s, she gave us a wall plaque that has a Daddy and Mommy elephant with 4 baby elephants following! It’s a great gift we’ll always cherish!

Our all-together church send-off today was a very special blessing!! Hundreds of people gathered from all the different churches, some coming from over 75 miles to worship together. It was a LONG day…9a – 4p! Fortunately we enjoyed a little overcast and a slight breeze…although I wouldn’t say we were physically comfortable at all! We still sweated like crazy! The worship time was very encouraging. The Word was preached by a number of people including myself. My lesson had to do with the fact that without the saving blood of Jesus, we’d never be able to glorify the Lord! We talked about the fact that creation is longing for reconciliation with God yet as Jesus reminds us, even if His disciples are silenced, the rocks will cry out and the mountains will applaud with a loud thunder! It was my “farewell” address, challenging them to continue the mission of God that was started by missionaries over 10 years ago and yet that really was stirred in their hearts long before that. It was so good to have Jim Kennell (friend and former teammate here) here to give a brief word of encouragement, too. As well, a short email from Greg Bailey was read aloud to all the Christians (GB, also a friend and former teammate). This was an important symbol…as we are preparing to depart; we represent the “final” phase of the missionary presence among the Aja people (“final” as are as we can see it). So it was good for the Aja people to see Jim’s face and hear Greg’s words…reminding them that even when missionaries leave, it’s not the end of a relationship! Phil Martin and Don Box, two of our elders from Texas, also challenged the believers today and Morton led an enthusiastic charge prior to the closing prayer!

At the end of our service, we again shared an African meal alongside some of our brothers in Christ. What a wonderful blessing! Don reminded all of us what a unique honor it is to sit inside a traditional African house and share a fellowship meal with African brothers…we are all SO very different from one another but we enjoy unity all because we love the same Lord Jesus!

For literally about an hour after eating, Kelly and I posed for pictures with SO many people! It was hysterical…we felt like George and Laura Bush at some fund-raising gala where everyone just lined up for a photo-op! I told a friend from America on the phone later in the evening that, one day, we’re gonna be in a America and find ourselves laughing wondering why masses of people aren’t lining up to take their picture with us! Such a funny experience to be such a spectacle and as well, what a blessing to be friends with a number of people of a different language and culture! It makes a farewell Sunday very memorable!!



Julie said...

I would love to be in line on this side of the ocean for a photo with y'all! Following along with you and praying!

Brooks Inc. said...

I have been anxious to read your words all day as we have thought of you guys and prayed for you at every turn!

Love all the pictures...such beautiful children! (and adults!):)