Sunday was a day to learn.
The day started off as only a day in Africa can start. I was to be at a church at 8:00 am to preach two services. First thing, my driver was late getting up, all the guys stayed up late watching soccer. We needed to leave by 7:15 and at 7:25 he is finally getting ready. At 7:30 we find out the vehicle won’t start, battery problem. At 7:40 we call a taxi, taxi finally shows up at 8, I get to this church at around 8:25.
This is Bishop Steve’s church in Kampala (our guide that didn’t know how to get to where we was going Thursday night) which is an Anglican church so I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as the number of people and type of building. I was thinking that being an Anglican church and a bishop’s church it might be nice, maybe a little fancy, with a lot of people and several clergy that I would need to kind of coordinate with. It turns out the church is in a poor section of Kampala and it’s sure not fancy! It’s a iron sheet (tin) building. The framework for the iron sheets is made with small tree trunks. Ones no more 6 inches in diameter are the main supports and small 2-3 inch trunks for rafters and cross bracing to nail the iron sheets to. This a fairly large building, about 50×80, built on the side of a hill with the floor having a 6-8 degree sloop down to the stage. If you fall asleep in this church you could fall out of your plastic chair and roll down front, one way to keep people awake. The building looks like a strong breeze might blow it down.
It’s 8:30 as we are make our way into the church and there’s only 8 people in a circle praying. I didn’t know that few people could make that much noise! Of course everything is louder when you are in what amounts to a large tin box. There are no clergy present so I take a seat and start wondering what I’ve gotten myself into. In Africa there is way to many possibilities of things I could have gotten into.
The prayers stop and everyone greets me as they take the stage and begin worship, and much to my dismay they of course have a sound system and really big speakers. There is only one volume, as loud as possible, and we are in a tin box with a concrete floor so it’s way past loud. Not only can you not hear your self think, you can’t even think. It feels like your brain is being turned to mush. I’m thinking that the sermon that I’ve prepared is just not going to work with this group so I, bring the spiritual giant that I am, start getting an attitude about not having enough sleep, wanting to be back home in bed getting some much needed sleep, my body is on Alabama time which is 2 in the morning. Oh yea this day is off to a great start. I utter a desperate prayer, “Lord.” That’s it. “Lord.” One word. It was the only word that I had in me that was not a word with an attitude. So here I sit, music pounding away in a tin box that could fall over if the wind blows, knowing that if the wind doesn’t blow soon my brain will begin to fry as the sun begins to bake us inside this tin box. Oh yea, I can hardly wait for the temperature to get to, God only knows, around 120-130.
Remember the prayer, “Lord.”? Well, I didn’t really expect the answer that I got. As I looked up, instead of seeing a bunch of young men and women just making a terrible racket, I saw young men and women singing and dancing and praying their hearts out. My eyes were opened, I began to weep, I bowed my head in shame, and I began to repent of such foolishness. I asked the Lord what I was to do. How could a sinner such as me minister to saints like these? He said to look at my notes but not follow my notes. To begin with Colossians, Christ in you the hope of glory, and He would do the rest.
When I finally looked up, more people than had come in while I was repenting. People continued to come in until by the end of worship there were 35-45 saints gathered from the slums around us to hear a word from God. The second service was the same, just new people, except now I didn’t have to repent before preaching. Oh yeah, one of the of the best times of my life!!!!! Really.
Not sure what the temperature got to, it just didn’t seem that hot until we got in the even hotter car. TIA.