Sunday, April 3, 2011

Africa - Post 5

April 3

It has been an incredibly full two days. And tonight was all about celebration. The women came to dinner in their national dress and it was amazing to see them all decked out. Matilda, from Kenya, put a scarf on my head and wrapped it all around like they do. Then, when I tried to give it back to her she said it was mine to keep. Such a sweet gift, and it is seriously beautiful.

At the end of club tonight, Shelley and I taught the women the song we always end with at our Women’s Young Life retreat in Colorado. I don’t know what possessed me to think I could sing that song in that particular room full of women and not cry my eyes out. But, what a holy moment. The song, if you don’t know it, talks about how God changes our names. That we are no longer called Wounded, Outcast, Lonely or Afraid. And to look out and see these women, so many, if not all, who HAVE been wounded and cast out, and certainly are lonely and often afraid. Well…it was just a powerful moment.

Then, after we had the “say so” (don’t forget we are basically at a Young Life camp), where the women shared how God had spoken to them this weekend, they prayed for us, the American team. They put us in the middle of the room and all prayed at the same time in all their languages and it was BEAUTIFUL! Then, they started singing in Swahili, “May you be blessed.” And they sang it over and over and over. I forced myself to open my eyes and look into the eyes on each of these women as they sang, even though I knew it would make me cry again. And it did. :) I will never, ever forget it.

And then, like any good Young Life camp, we ended with a dance party. Glow sticks, rockin music, and some of the best moves I’ve seen in a long time.

So much has happened in the last two days. Good conversations, new friendships, and encouraging one another in ministry. Tonight, so many of the women said to each other, “I thought I was alone. I thought the problems we had in ministry were only my problems. Now I know that I am not alone. That we can work together to solve our problems.” That is huge, and really the purpose for this whole weekend. That these women would connect and build these kinds of friendships that will encourage them in ministry. Thank you so much for your prayers!

The stories I have to tell are incredible. These women are crying out to God on behalf of Africa. They are in the trenches and reaching out, across cultural lines, across races, across traditions for the sake of Christ. They are heroes. No doubt about it.

Tomorrow, we head to Zanzibar and Arusha to do some touristy things. I can’t wait to sleep in a bit and just be with my buddies as we process a little of what we have seen and felt this weekend. We’re not taking our computers, so this is probably my last update til we get home.

Ahhhh….home. I can’t wait for that either.

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