Last Sunday and First Goodbye

Jambo and Supa from the Mara! Today is the last weekend day I will spend here at the Maasai Dental Clinic. It’s been a good last weekend for sure, but I am beginning to look forward to returning home in just a few short days. My morning started off with the monkeys chasing each other on the roof. They were quite rambunctious and quite loud. A few of them also stopped by the window sills next to the kitchen, but I know better than to leave those windows open.

I went to Grace’s church again this morning. I had asked William last night if there would be someone who could walk me to the church, and he arranged for John to walk with me. We had to walk in somewhat of a silence since John doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Maasai, but it wasn’t an unpleasant walk as the weather was still a bit cooler. We didn’t leave for church until 9:45, and probably didn’t get there until about 10:15. The service had already started, but people continued to trickle in for the next 30 minutes or so. They were in the middle of prayer when we arrived, and just like last time, it was kind of a “prayer for all” with everyone praying their own prayers. John and I just jumped in—-this time I brought my Lutheran Book of Prayer, so I had some structured prayers to help me during this prolonged prayer time.

After prayer, one of the members named Elizabeth, got up and gave a short lesson. They had another congregation member translate during this time so Grace could sit with her husband Paul. Elizabeth’s lesson was fairly straightforward—-be kind to all, welcome guests, do what God wants you to do, and accept Jesus as your Savior. After she finished her brief lesson, she then called on “new” faces and faces who hadn’t been to church in awhile to stand and I guess explain themselves. Kind of an odd thing, but everyone basically had sound reasons for not having been, or were interested to hear the Word of God, and so they were all blessed to be in church that morning. Elizabeth then called on me to speak. Seeing as how someone has to translate for me, I didn’t say a whole lot other than I was very blessed to be there, and I thanked all of them for being so welcoming, and I looked forward to the rest of the service. This seemed to satisfy Elizabeth as I was not called upon to say more.

After this, it was time to “Praise God”—which if you don’t remember from my last Sunday service blog, means song and dance. So the chairs were cleared out, people gathered up front, and several songs were sung while people danced also. They again kind of let me do my own thing which consisted of a side step with clapping. Cardio and a church service if you want to think of it that way. After song/dance, we had another prayer time, which I once again called upon my Prayer Book to help guide me.

Now it was time for the various “choirs” to perform. We once again started with the younger kids, who came to the front and did a few songs with some dance as well. They were then dismissed, and the next aged kids came up front to do the same. These all looked like pre-teens, and all of them were in full Maasai dress with their beads and head bands and other accessories. I never found out if there was a special reason they were all in traditional dress today as they were the only group of children to do so. Next up were the youth, or teens, but they apparently had nothing prepared, so the ladies group went next. After all the different groups songs/dance time, it came time for the sermon.

They had visiting pastor today who came from “very far” (that was all he said), who preached instead of Grace’s husband Paul. I spent the first part of his sermon (about 15 minutes) without a translator as the girl who had been translating as tired (understandably so), so I’m not entirely sure what the opening was about. Grace then came to sit beside me so she could translate. I told her she didn’t have to translate everything as I know that is difficult to do, and she loses a lot of the message as well. The next part of his sermon was about finding peace in Christ. Essentially, once you’ve been saved by Christ, you will have a peace to help you through life. It is through God’s grace that we are saved, and obtain this peace (Ahhhh, Lutheran theology. How lovely).

The next part of his sermon was apparently condeming pool/billiards, and alcohol. I kind of felt like I was listening to Harold Hill from the Music Man, which then sparked “Ya Got Trouble” to pop into my brain. For those of you who have not been exposed to this piece of musical theater, the lyrics to this song include: “Oh ya got trouble, right here in River City. With a capital P and that rhymes with T and that stands for pool….” See? I have the same problem everytime our pastor’s wife says tradition in Sunday School back home…..Fiddler on the Roof pops in my head. Anyway, this part of the sermon was a bit hard for me to follow other than pool and alcohol are bad, and lead you away from Jesus.

The rest of his sermon was also pretty straightforward—-he used various passages to encourage people to be kind to one another, plant good “seeds”, be good servants of Christ, be respectful, and ultimately just be a good human being. He said all of this has to happen in your heart, not just in your words. Good message, for sure, and I found myself thinking back to a conversation I had once with Dr. White (one of my dental school instructors). He had asked me my opinion of Christianity, and I had answered, and so I turned the question back to him. He said “Generally I think anything that encourages people to be good to one another, and be good human beings, is a good thing. We need more of it.” For some reason, what Grace was translating from the preacher sounded a lot like that conversation with Dr. White, so that’s why it came to mind. After the sermon was over, we had another 20-30 minutes of basically announcement time. Again, those of you back home, be grateful I don’t take longer with my announcements even though I swear you all got tired of hearing from me every Sunday. Once again, it was a great Sunday service, and a great experience. (P.S. total time today was 3 1/4 hours).

Since Grace is going to be on vacation this week, today was my last day to see her. I told her thanks tremendously for all her help, and for making my month here a great one. She then asked “When do you think you’ll be back?” Haha, well, Grace, right now, I have no idea. She gave me a blessing, and told me to have a great trip home, and that she’d be praying for me. Can’t ask for any more than that.

John and I walked back to the clinic. I accidentally tripped fairly early into the walk, and just barely stumbled, but John took that to mean I needed help. He insisted on holding my hand for the majority of the walk back to the clinic. All I could think was “hope this doesn’t get back to his two wives”. We got back around 1:45 ish and William had informed me that the camp thought we were going on game drive, so they’d packed a lunch. Soooooo, I had a safari lunch again. Although this time it had even more food: Chicken leg, butter/tomato sandwich (uh, what?), two apples, hard boiled egg, chips, large chunk of pineapple, large slice of watermelon, banana, and half an orange. Once again, I ate about half of it. The rest will get eaten for dinner as I am not going to the lodge. Thank goodness I had already told them I was skipping dinner or I have no idea when I’d eat all this other food.

After lunch, I went down to get my now thrice rinsed laundry (it rained again last night in the middle of the night) off the line. The wind had picked up, and it looked like it was going to rain at some point, so I thought I needed to get it before it got soaked again. Sure enough, about 4:00, the winds started howling, and the heavens opened up. It rained for about an hour, and now it’s nice and cool. There’s another batch of dark clouds in the distance, so the rain may not be done for the day. The rest of my day has been spent reading and working puzzles and listening to some music. Pretty low key afternoon/evening, but I’m just trying to soak it up while I can, because when I get back stateside, it’s gonna be busy. The to-do list has already been started. It’s amazing how busy you can be when you’re unemployed….. (by the way, finding a job is on the to-do list for those of you who were beginning to worry).

Well, that is all I have to report on this fine Sunday. Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I will be “seeing” you tomorrow! Olisserie!

Grace and I after church today

2 thoughts on “Last Sunday and First Goodbye

  1. Great picture of you and Grace! She and the other people at the clinic all sound like great people! Now you have your African family too. Hope your final week is great!

    Liked by 1 person

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