The Resurrection Sunday service here in Chavuma was a beautiful surprise at which we encountered a number of beautiful surprises. This past weekend believers all over the world celebrated Christ’s resurrection! It was our joy and privilege to also participate in a very different Resurrection Sunday with brothers and sisters here in Chavuma. What a wonderful reminder that the body of Christ is vast. We are part of the Family of God and it spreads far and wide across the world.
Head Covering Surprise
On the way to the service where Michael preached, we stopped to pick up Pastor Davey at his home. We were almost at the venue when Pastor Davey asked if I had a head-covering for the service. What?! This was quite a culture shock for me. Firstly, I had never worn a head-covering for a church service and secondly, I didn’t know I needed one. Fortunately, Pastor Davey had something that I could use and I quickly attempted a very amateur head scarf wrap. Of course there was no place for fashion or vanity as I had to just make do with what was offered to me. Lesson learned! In future, I will always be packing in a headscarf. However, I definitely need to watch some tutorials on tying head scarves because I don’t know what I’m doing.
Beautiful Surprise Baptism
We finally arrived at the church where they welcomed us warmly, but another surprise was waiting for us. Needless to say, we have started expecting surprises. Once inside the small grass-roof church, we sat back to enjoy the beautiful singing voices of the Luvale congregation and choir. Just as it seemed the service was about to start, Pastor Davey announced that we are first going to go for the baptism service. Baptism service? We knew nothing of a baptism service. Despite our surprise, we were thrilled to be a part of this baptism service.
The crowd led us out with singing as we walked out onto the road en masse. There we were, about 200 believers, walking in the middle of the road while singing praises to God. Our destination was a small stream flowing through under the tar road. The congregation gathered around the stream and sang all the while as Pastor Davey baptised the new believers. There were probably about 15 youth baptised that morning. What a wonderful way to celebrate that Christ is risen!
Suffocating Heat – no Surprise here!
When we returned to the venue after the baptism, I struggled to step back into the church building. The heat was suffocating and it felt like a heavy blanket trapping me down. I felt ill and faint and had to step out into the fresh air to catch my breath. Fortunately, others also experienced this and they started making a different plan.
The new plan was to continue the service outside under the shade of a very small guava tree. The congregation marched out carrying their benches and chairs and arranged themselves orderly around the guava tree. Fortunately for us and our very pale skin, we were given seats of honour under the shade of the small guava tree. I did feel sorry for the congregation though as they were out in the direct sun. They made do with the little bit of shade produced by their colourful Shitenge cloth which they pulled over their heads.
The African Preacher
With the congregation finally settled, the time had come for the main service. When Michael stood up to preach, my heart was overwhelmed with love and appreciation for this gifted husband of mine. Not only does he have the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the message that he carries, but he has a gift to adapt his preaching style to every circumstance. I saw the true African preacher come out as he brought the Word of God to these Luvale people. His interpreter, Pastor Davey, had to work hard to keep up with him but he also did well throughout.
After the passionate message had been delivered, it came time for Holy Communion. We wondered how this would work in light of COVID and the limited resources shared amongst such a large congregation. They distributed tiny little coin-shaped biscuits to all participants and filled two large cups with a sweet pink juice that smelt like raspberries. Once everyone had a biscuit the cup was passed around and each participant dipped their biscuit into the cup. In this way, no one actually drank out of the cup and we could all partake of the sacraments simultaneously. It was a special moment for us as it was our first time partaking in Holy Communion with our Luvale brothers and sisters whom we have come to serve.