It took an effort to get out of bed this morning. But we were ready to leave at 07:30 because it was agreed we would start the Sabbath service at 08:00 to avoid the worst of the heat. But things ran late because it had rained hard during the night and all the potholes, small and great, were full of water. This slows things to a crawl because unless one knows the street well, one can’t know how deep the hole is. Many times, I’ve seen cars stuck in holes where the water was deep enough to drown the engine, and sometimes flood the floorboards.
When Justin arrived, we made our way slowly to the church compound in a little yellow Toyota taxi, a model not sold in the US, with the steering wheel on the right. We started the service as soon as we arrived. It was after 9:00 am, and already quite warm. We had three hymns, a prayer, then Justin gave a sermonette in a mix of French and Lingala on the topic of 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, which talks about how the gospel is veiled to most people because of the activity of the “god of this world.” He explained it well.
After another hymn, I gave a news update about our trip and the work of the Church, another hymn and then I gave the sermon. By the time I finished about 11:30, my shirt was completely soaked; there was not a dry place on it. We took group photos outside, then I moved inside to have a counseling session with people who want to be baptized.
While this was going on, Justin opened the suitcase of eyeglasses. Some folks became so excited, that the situation became a bit frenzied. I hadn’t thought to ask him to wait so we could organize things well. By then it was too late.
The people starting the path to baptism were new to the process, so I explained how we would work together in the process. I gave an initial explanation of what purpose baptism serves and what the Biblical preconditions are. I took questions. At the end I gave them each a piece of paper and invited them to copy the scriptures and literature I asked them to read and study as they got started. We will meet again during my next trip.
We hadn’t arrived early enough to arrange a meal for everyone, as I try to do when I come. That will have to wait until next time.
We were dripping with sweat by the time our various group activities ended. Justin asked me for some money to pay bus fares home, some people only had enough to get to the hall. Some didn’t even have that much and weren’t able to come.
We sat in the shade and conversed until the little yellow Toyota taxi arrived back on site. Then we said goodbye to those who were still present and bumped and bounced our way back to the hotel. We had a late lunch, and I got caught up on my journal/blog.
I’ve suggested to Marjolaine that she rest tomorrow in preparation for what will be a very long day Monday. I plan to conduct some leadership training back at the church hall until the heat becomes too oppressive.