There is only one Bchurch close to town, and a different language than Lugbara is spoken there. I have gone to several other churches, but most are in English, one was in Swahili. So, I have resigned myself to the fact that I need to go to an Anglican church where they have a service spoken in Lubara.
I walked 30 minutes to church, and when I walked in, I started helping a lady named Sarah stack chairs. She wanted to know if I was attending the Lugbara service, and if I, in fact, knew that it was the Lugbara service. I assured her that I knew, and I told her in Lugbara that I was learning the language and I needed more practice.
After conversing a bit, I told her I had forgotten my Lugbara Bible and my Anglican Lugbara songbook (I purchased one in town last week). She immediately took me to the room where the pastors wait between services and asked if I could borrow a Lugbara Bible. One of the pastors handed me his with his name engraved on it. She asked the female pastor if there was a songbook I could borrow, but there wasn’t one at the moment.
Right before service started, a lady named Beatrice came over and handed me her songbook. Within 5 minutes I saw who Beatrice was…the praise and worship leader for the service (beautiful voice, by the way).
The numbers in Lugbara are looong, so every time someone would say what page to turn to, I completely missed it. I was looking around to see what everyone else was doing. One lady behind me started whispering the page numbers to me in English.
It was obvious I was out of place. I was the only one with light skin in a room of over 200 people. Nevertheless, I understood some of what was going on. When the lady behind me told me we were reading out of Genesis 22, I quickly turned there, but for verses and verses I couldn’t find where we were.
The lady next to me finally tried to help me figure out which verse we were on when she realized that I was in Efuza (Exodus) when I needed to be in E’doza (Genesis). Honest mistake, right?
After the scripture reading, Beatrice left the front and came and sat with me to help me! She let someone else lead the singing the rest of the day. I felt so humbled. Everyone went out of their way to make sure I understood or had someone to ask questions about words to. It was amazing!
After the service, I had several people come and speak with me. I thanked Beatrice immensely for her help, and then I went back to the pastor’s break room to return the Bible. I spoke with them in Lugbara as much as I could, and they said I was doing very well. I told them I would be back the next week, and they welcomed me graciously. I felt very loved. Usually, I feel like a movie star, of sorts, anyway (I’ll explain), but this was a different kind of attention. It was nice.
The other kind of attention is what I feel every other day. When I’m riding a piki, walking through town, shopping in the market, going to language, etc. Everywhere I go, people stare at me. People walking down the street, turn and walk backwards so they can see me. Men on bicycles crane their necks when I ride by on a piki. Little children ALWAYS yell, “Mundu! Mundu!” when they see me. And of course this isn’t just me, it’s anyone with light skin. I won’t know what to do when I go back to America and no one pays attention to me :)
I walked 30 minutes back home, reflecting on the morning and prayer walking, got lunch ready, and the family got ready for adventure #2 (coming). Also, the kids will attend the Lugbara service with me next week. That ought to make for another fun story.