Sunday, September 13, 2015
My Church Family
They come from different tribes and various villages.
They speak lots of languages, many of them speak more than two.
Some of them come, and we wonder if they are catching anything at all, because they can't speak the same tongue as anyone else in our congregation.
Some are well educated, having earned masters degrees.
Many of them cannot read any of the one, two, or three languages they can speak.
Some of them live with grandparents, or aunts, or uncles, or family friends.
Many of them have never lived with both a mom and dad in the same house.
Some of them have grown up with one father and many mothers.
It takes lots of time for some of the little ones to get comfortable in Sunday School.
Months will go by with them simply staring as the songs are sung and the stories are told.
They invite neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, all so they can hear the truth of the gospel they won't hear too many other places.
They ask Pastor to help them visit those who've never heard the truth of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection.
They call when they are sick, someone is in the hospital, or a new baby has been born.
They call when they are struggling with temptation and need answers or counsel.
Some days the little ones are naughty.
Some days it's all I can do to get them to sit still for twenty minutes.
They get excited when something new happens in Sunday school ~ coloring Goliath with colored pencils is a rare treat.
There aren't special take-home papers every week or snacks, but that's okay, because these little ones are getting to hear all the stories of the Bible for the first time.
We crowd together, elbows and knees and smart remarks flying, and we try to work together.
We play review games, and some days, many of the children don't remember the answers......but then one day, someone who has never answered a question before gets one right.
We work hard to get people in church, but many days what we have to offer ~ the truth ~ nobody wants.
It's always hard when those you've worked with and labored for suddenly disappear.
It's hard to live in a place where people don't have permanent homes except in their home villages.
The people we work with have always been a transient people.
But some of our people we've known for a long time.
We've seen their children born, and growing, and now they are part of Sunday school.
We see as they try to raise their children in a Christian home ~ something they've never experienced themselves.
They don't always do it right.....but they try.
They desire to see God work in their families.
We are thankful for our university students, who though they are from other cities, have chosen to join us while they are here for schooling.
It's always fun to try to tune your ear to a new dialect.
Some of these people we will pour our hearts into, and then suddenly, they'll be gone.
Some will be sick a few days and then gone into eternity.
Others will have to move, and the new place/new relative they're staying with/new circumstances won't allow them to be in church.
It's hard when such a one is whisked away.
Most of them have had a close family member die.
Others live oceans apart from those dear to them.
They are all different, with more backgrounds and heartwrenching stories than one could possibly imagine, but they share one thing in common: they love Jesus, and they love their church family.
They are faithful and hardworking.
They serve without complaint.
They give of what they have to see God's work go forward.
They aren't perfect, but I'm so glad I'm blessed to call them my church family here in Ghana.