Last Sunday we went to the church of one of the families at school. My student Naomi and her family live outside of Moshi in a small village, and it takes her, her sister and her father over an hour to get into Moshi to come to our school. We teachers were invited to visit the church with Steve, the school administrator and Ryan, our fearless missionary leader. We drove out to join the service, which was well off the beaten path and held in an unfinished house. The brick outer walls were the only complete part of the structure – the makeshift roof was a tarp, and the wooden benches inside were on dusty, uneven ground. But as we walked into the church, all the details of the building faded and we heard their joyful worship. About 40 people were singing in Swahili, their acapella voices probably audible to the whole village around them. They were dancing and clapping, and their worship was contagious. We sang for probably an hour, trying to pick up the Swahili phrases and sing along.
The service went on for much longer after that - Steve gave the sermon, and then recruited us teachers to come up to the front and minister to anyone who needed prayer or healing, etc. It felt like nearly another hour of that, praying for all those who came up. They were encouraged by it, and it was really interesting, since we didn't have enough translators, people came up asking for prayer, and we had no idea what they were saying. But the Holy Spirit led us, and He knew what they needed. =) It was a blessing to be a part of their lives, even for a brief moment like that.
After the service, we stayed and played with the kids - they don't mind the language barrier so much and they had such fun having their picture taken! I want to print some copies to bring to them next time we visit!