We were to begin the service at 10:30. We arrived about 9:45. There were already members present, we spoke with those with whom we could communicate. Myriam especially enjoyed talking with Marjolaine and motherhood and its challenges.
The van from the west didn’t arrive until 10:45, so we began the service about 11:00. We had hymns and a prayer, and they passed the basked for the offering. Then I gave a news update before introducing the blessing of the little children. Since I’m only able to come a few times a year, we have this ceremony whenever there are new baby’s born, which is pretty regularly. There were four to be blessed this time, so I alternated with Mr. Mundeli for the blessing. There was special music and another hymn.
I gave the sermon which was interpreted phrase by phrase into Kinyarwanda. Very few of the members in this country understand enough French to follow a sermon, perhaps 10 out of 80 people, so we must interpret.
Following the service, we had a Q&A Bible Study for about 45 minutes. Some of the questions included:
· Are there any alcoholic beverages that cannot be consumed during the days of Unleavened Bread? Answer: No. There is a kind of fermentation but not the kind that makes dough rise. It’s not the Feast of Unleavened drinks.
· Can a person with Alzheimer’s disease take the Passover? Answer: A baptized member who knows enough to with to take the Passover can and should do so.
· Will the Church accept offerings if the money might come from a dubious source? Answer: The Church generally doesn’t do investigations into sources of donations. If God shows us something was illegal or immoral, the Church would intervene in such a case, but we don’t approach offerings suspiciously.
· But what if the money came from prostitution? Answer: I have never heard of a prostitute wanting to be in the Church or give an offering to the Church (laughter).
· What about young people who want to marry, but don’t find a fiancé in the Church? Can they marry outside. Answer: The Bible says we should marry “in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39), which we believe means in the Church, and that it what we teach. But if someone marries outside the Church they are not excluded from our fellowship. It is a personal responsibility A better way to go thought is to pray that God will call someone into the Church. I shared the example of my wife and I. We both prayed in our single years that God would choose a mate for us, and we sought His will. We believe He answered those prayers.
But I have pleasant memories here too, I often will take visitors here for a meal even if we stay elsewhere. It was a lovely way to end our short stay in Rwanda.