Thank Jesus in Swahili
"And all the peoples of the earth shall praise Him"
S and the women in the diocese, came to our abode early to welcome us officially to the conference and inquire if we were ready to begin the day. We walked up the hill, and saw the women were waiting and gathered outside of the church. One by one as the white women arrived the African women waiting began singing. "Asanti Yesu". The harmony of their voices echoed through the hillside, the beauty of the language, the joy on their faces, brought tears to our eyes. S translated the song "We are here to welcome you in the name of Jesus."
I had to walk inside the church to gather my composure, for soon I would be "on" to begin the day and to welcome THEM from us. S kept saying over and over, "We thank you for coming, we are happy you are here."
I introduced our six: the four who had returned to Africa and the two who had dreamed of Africa. As the team stood and remembered the Swahili saying S had taught us the night before "MOO - WED - DAY", the women laughed and responded "TOO - WED - DAY" ( how are you - I am fine)
S translated the instructions for our creative time "Polaroids and Name Tags". The women spread out as the team passed out the stickers, markers, and frames. As expected, it was chaotic, but as the women gradually began to feel freedom to write, to draw, their laughter became infectious among each other. And as the women came forward to have their picture taken, they expressed the same shyness any American woman would. They turned to one another "My hair..., my clothes..., my smile..., No I can't..." They had to be encouraged to step forward. As the pictures developed the women started laughing AND started making comments just like American women would" "Look at my hair, look at my face... I look old..."
Later in the evening as our team shared, it was with a sense of connection as well as amazement. We are more alike than we are different.
Each of the presenters (D2 on being uniquely created; M - studying the Bible; JA on intimacy with God; and D1 on prayer) did the work of the Holy Spirit, sharing, testifying and giving the gifts God had given to each of them for this time and place. Each session ended with a time of questions and testimony. Towards the end of the day, more and more women stood and shared their hearts. This ordained time will truly be life-changing for us all.
The conference day ended in time for the women to begin the long walk home. They rose with gratefulness, and left with a song, "Asanti Yesu, Asanti, Yesu.."
Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus.
"All together now - applause for God! Sing songs to the tune of His glory, set glory rhythms to His praise.." Psalm 66:1 The Message