Sunday’s A’Comin’

Sunday’s A’Comin’

Ah, Sunday in Swaziland. The first of the Lord’s blessings was that we got to sleep in an extra hour. For those of us that can’t seem to stop talking (or dancing) at night, that was particularly sweet.
During the course of our conversations with Sofiso, we had invited him to come to Timbutini with us for worship this day. With some wrangling of details, Sibonelo managed to work it out. Or God, rather, worked it out.
To those that have not had the opportunity to experience this church service, let’s just say it is quite the scene. As we came into the small, cinder block church, we were seated with males on the right side of the church and females on the left. This writer manages to sit in the middle of a group from Swaziland. As we got ourselves situated, immediately, we found ourselves lifted to within the notes of the rich, African voices. The melody flowing from the left of this writer’s ears was crafted as only the awesome Lord can craft. Closing one’s eyes, listening to the voices weave and blend and harmonize, one could easily believe he/she had been transported to heaven. It was that awesome. There are no hymn books. There is no order of service. Such encumbrances! No. Rather, a song is started as any member of the congregation feels moved to start a song. Most of the songs were in Siswati, but trust us, it did not matter when we did not know the words; instead of singing, we followed God’s command to simply be still and know that he is God . Yeah, He is.
Now, speaking of singing, Team 2 had an answer to prayer regarding singing. You see, the night before, our Fearless Leader informed us that we would be expected to sing as a group during church. So, we got out our trusty songbooks and practiced! Yeah, we did. Folks, God simply did not bless us with deep, rich, melodious voices. We all have our limitations, right? Well, ahem, it was readily apparent we had hit upon one of our’s. So, Sunday morning, one can imagine the trepidation we felt as we walked into the midst of this choir of angels, preparing to present our song and truly make a joyful noise that would make the chickens outside cringe. First a visiting team from Colorado got up and was introduced to the crowd. They had a special moment of remembrance for a former teammate that had passed away during the earthquake in Haiti. Then it was our turn…..and we knew the moment of our singing was upon us. We stepped our humbled bodies up onto that small platform and introduced ourselves. Then (hold breath here)………we were ushered off the platform. As our brother Musa would say, “Hallelujah!” (pronounced Ah-lay-LU-ya!) No singing. We were saved! An answer to prayer! And discussing it amongst our team members, we feel sure that the Swazi church members had also been praying fervently that we would not sing. God listens and saves, people, God listens and saves!
So the service continued. Intermittently, between the spirit-filled singing, various Swazi people would get up and give their testimony, in Siswati. Now, remember, Sofiso had joined us. And he had a powerful testimony to tell, a testimony of faith and hope. We had asked him to provide his testimony to this church. So, Sofiso delivered. And ohhh man, he delivered! He brought it. Game on. He spoke entirely in Siswati. At times, we caught words or hand motions that we understood (as we had heard it the night before in English). His voice rose and fell, quickened and slowed. He spoke from the heart, and the Swazi people listened. I cannot tell you the place was completely quiet…..the church did not operate that way. But as we looked around, we could see the faces of the people were paying attention and absorbing his words. Sofiso brought it, for sure.
Then the minister got up and preached, with our brother Musa by his side. The sermon jumped around a little…..one of our teammembers confessed to dozing off a bit…..not for long; but she said she closed her eyes for a minute and he was talking about Noah’s ark. The next thing she knew, he was talking about abstinence! Huh? But overall, his sermon was about faith. Faith promises. Faith to build things. Faith to heal things. Faith to live and move and have our being. Faith.
One interesting observation was that the children sat up front. The preacher preached in the middle ailse. During this time, the children were very well-behaved. And when a child wanted to leave and go outside, for whatever reason, they just got up, walked right between Musa and the preacher, and walked outside. The minister did not even bat an eye, much less miss a word. The children were simply a natural part of the environment, no matter their walking through the sermon. Jesus must be smiling.
And eventually the service ended. Eventually. When they got around to it. Not “on time,” not “late,” rather in God’s good time. When we stepped outside into the beautiful 75 degree weather, the writer ventured that the service had lasted 1 ½ hours, perhaps 2 at the most. We white-folks-with-the-extremely-bad-voices checked our watches. Three hours it had been. Three hours. But if you ask us, I believe everyone of us would say it did not seem that long. Yes, a few dozed a bit….but keep in mind we are working very long days – and the weak must sleep!
Now, during the service, a rather unique and interesting thing occurred. (Hmmm, really, WHY would we not expect this by now?!) We have posted the blessed picture of Mike Ikeler and his Special Friend, Thabani. But what most of you probably do not know is that Thabani is Special in more ways than one. The understanding/assumption is that there was some brain damage at birth. He is approximately 8 (?). During the service, Thabani had a seizure. Mike gently carried him out and several teammates and D-team members accompanied him. As his home was just down the road, it was decided to carry him home on foot. Mike carried. Jesse walked beside him. Jesse offered to carry Thabani, to which Mike replied, “He’s not heavy. He’s my brother.” Does one laugh or cry at this? Both perhaps.
Regardless of the reaction to that statement, here’s what God did. When they got to his home, the reaction at home assured Mike that Thabani indeed has a loving family that cares for him (this child’s survival would truly be threatened if he did not). Further, as a result, he and the teammates that accompanied him were able to witness to Thabani’s uncle. He listened with interest. We will get him a Bible today.se
The rest of our day was filled with a lovely lunch of wonderful hotdogs grilled by Kriek and Jumbo. There were met the Colorado team and exchanged some ideas and contact info. After that, we tooled over to the local market, where our missionary, Alison, showed us how to barter like a fiend!! Impressive, she was. Skilled, she was. Female, she was. She nailed those prices down, down, down!
Our day was brought to a “close” as we ate a good chicken dinner at something slightly comparable to a Zaxby’s. Then crates were staged and packed for the next day. After that, it was either sleep or fellowship in our “den.”
And the Sunday came to a close. But don’t worry…..Sunday’s a’comin’, again.

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