Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The "Unknown Visitor" gets Baptized

A few Sundays ago, Patrick invited our family to his church on the day his son was getting baptized. This was the "unknown visitor" I wrote about in January.

I also remember telling you about the time we drove out to Patrick's, and I was amazed that he biked the distance between his house and mine nearly every day whether in rain, cold, heat, or mud.

So, here we go.

He told us to be there at 9am. So we planned to leave the house at 8:30am. At 8:25am, Patrick called to tell us that it was starting at 8:30.

Oh well.

Why do I ever worry about time here?

This continent runs on a different clock.

It's called "no clock."

Of course, we arrived at 9am, and it hadn't started.

The church was full, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the service was held off for us, but I didn't ask.

We drove up, and someone walked out to meet us and lead us in. We didn't know him, but he knew us.

We entered in a side door and he led us....

to the front.

Like "the stage" the front.

Like "behind where the preacher preaches" the front.

See... proof. That's the preacher, and I'm behind him (sneaking photos).

Of course, in our hurry to leave the house, I forgot my Lugbara liturgy book, so I couldn't participate in a lot of the readings, but I did know when the baptism process started because...

everyone turned around and faced the BACK of the church.

Well, I'm not shy. I shuttled on down the aisle and sat myself down (with three kids following me) on the "new" front row. Doug stayed behind and manned the stage.

These little kids were sitting on a mat in the back (the new front).

When Patrick's son's name was called, Patrick came up and joined his wife with the rest of the family members. Part of the tradition here is that everyone in the family has to hold the baby for a small time, so they passed him around to 6 or 7 people before the reverend took him.

And with foreigners now in the back of the church, more kids started crawling in.

Kids with kids on their backs.


After all the children had been baptized, I scooted on back down to the stage.

At about the 2 1/2 hour mark, they took up the offering.

Part of the custom here is for each individual to bring their offering to the front.

I got such a kick out of Caleb at this point, and I'm pretty sure I laughed out loud.

He took his offering, and he got stuck in a mass of people and couldn't get out. I shouldn't laugh, I know, but it was so funny watching his face.

Another normal thing you see here is people bringing part of their harvest as their offering to God. I guess for us Americans, we could equate it to people paying Doc Baker with apples and corn for his services on "Little House on the Prairie"

This is a bowl of cassava that was brought.

After church, we were guided outside.

I took a picture of the church parking lot for you.

This is an adugu. A popular instrument made around here.

Beautiful sound.

This was our view outside.

Basically, it's a group of kids who stood in front of us and just stared, because...

someone got chairs out of the church and lined them up for my family to sit in the shade of the building.

Do I have to tell you that this was a tad bit awkward?

It didn't last long because lunch was being served.

We were ushered into a hut and seated next to the pastor.

The big thing for my kids is eating food in the village. They have really gotten good at trying everything, and I'm so proud of them. This day, especially, they did a great job (of course, grasshoppers and termites were not on the menu).

After eating and being at the church several hours, we knew we had to get back for Doug's bible study with the baseball team, but we wanted to get pictures of Patrick's family first.

I love developing pictures and handing them out to people. It gives them and me such great joy.

Here is the boy I named Michael and they named Aitasi.

I'm thinking the white lady is scaring him, what do you think?

His older son cried the last time he met us and didn't want his picture taken. So even though he has his hands in his mouth and he's not smiling, this was a big step.

Ok. I like you now.

Time to go back to the car (the only vehicle in the "parking lot" pasture).

If you ever come here, you will feel like a movie star. Everyone wants to touch you, stare at you, and talk to you.

Here is a picture of the paparazzi following our car.

And Aitasi's first car ride.

Good day at Vurra.


The Spears Family said...

It's the WORST when they usher you up front to the CHAIRS when everyone else is on the floor. AND they won't let you help with the food preparation. I am still not used to it.

Nancy said...

I don't know if you are aware that some older kids tell the younger kids that white people will eat them. hahahaha I guess it is a bit like our Hansel and Gretel stories. One of the new little boys was crying at the orphanage and Becky got one of the kids to explain why. The older boys looked a little sheepish. Who knows, maybe the history on that story could go back to when Africans were kidnapped to be slaves and the parents had to motivate them to run fast.

Brandy said...

love, love, love this post!