Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Church in Sudan


Day 7 was Sunday.  It was going to be a shorter day for our team as we were only scheduled to attend and help out at Kiri New Life Baptist Church.  Church in S. Sudan was similar to church in NC, but in some ways it was also very different. 

  • The order of service is about the same.  Sunday School Bible study first, then songs to start off while the late comers trickle in, then offering, prayer, more songs, a sermon, time of invitation and testimonies, then everyone is adjourned.
  • The sermon was preached verse by verse from a passage in the Bible.  The preacher used illustrations as well, just like our pastor in NC.  (He pulled up a small mango tree growing nearby to illustrate the idea of being rooted in our faith.)
  • There was more than one leader or pastor helping out during the service.
  • They usually have children's church under a nearby tree, but they made some different arrangements the day we were there.  Amanda read a book for children's church and played some games with the kids.  Johnson is typically their children's pastor.
  • Length -- The service seemed about as long as ours back home.
  • The pastors spend some time reminding the people to be on time for the church activities - - sounds oh-so-familiar!  ha!
  • Pretty meticulous attendance and offering records are kept in a ledger of sorts.
  • Baptisms are usually held at the end of the service in a nearby stream.  We were hoping to have at least two because we had two people accept Christ during our evangelism before Sunday.  Unfortunately, they did not come to the service that day.  
  • Meeting under a tree...it was actually quite nice and refreshing under the mango tree on Sunday morning.
  • Dancing...lots of dancing in the Baptist Church!
  • A tree limb pew may snap in the middle of the sermon sending about seven people's bottoms to the ground!
  • A drunk man may saunter in from the road, yelling and shouting during the service. (Thankfully, he stayed for the sermon and ended up rededicating his life to following Christ and leaving alcoholism behind!)
  • During the invitation, the pastors expect someone to come to accept Christ, rededicate their lives to Christ, or to share a testimony.  If no one comes, they wait....and wait.  They expect a response of some kind!
  • Charms gotten from a witch doctor may be burned at the close of the service.
  • One of the pastors may go riding off on his motorbike in the middle on the service because he realizes he forgot to bring the matches from home.   
  • After the service, if someone drove a vehicle (us), as many Sudanese children as possible and maybe one drunk guy will pile onto every inch of the truck for a ride home.  

Here are some of our favorite captured moments from the Sunday service @ Kiri

"Pastor Samuel" plays the drum, while everyone sings, claps, and dances.

Sam brings the message in English while Johnson (in the background) translates into Bahri

Amanda shares a children's book with the kids after the main service.  Evelyn is the adorable girl with the head wrap.  

This precious lady was beautiful in her brilliant orange wrap!  She is a Christian leader among the women in Kiri village.

These two following pics were from another team's trip to church when their Land Cruiser got stuck in the mud.  There is normally a rock bridge for them to cross, but we had heavy rains the night before, and as you can see, the bridge was under water.    They started spinning and sliding into the mud.  The cool part was that the whole community came out to help them get the vehicle free.  They helped build up the rock bridge and life the truck out onto solid ground.  I believe it took them about three hours of work to get the truck free.  The Sudanese people have a strong sense of community. 

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