We had the opportunity this Sunday to travel by foot into the hills to a small village church. My new Kenyan friend, Summary, invited us to join her at the church she is helping to build in her community.
We were off by nine walking about an hour, passing only huts and small tea plantations on our way. We reached Kapsebet, and Pastor Rono met us at the road and led us to the door of a small wooden room.
Church was supposed to start at ten (but in Kenyan time that meant about 10:30). Slowly the church filled up as people walked from the hills above and all around to worship. We began with singing beautiful traditional hymns. No one had a songbook except Summary, but the room filled with music. The songs were sung in Kipsigis, but we easily could follow along in English to the familiar tunes. Everything was accapella and echoed up the hill along the backside of the building. There was one hand drum played that kept a beautiful rhythmic beat. They treated us as honored guests and had lovely throws on the pews designating our special front row seats. It was a wonderful morning, and we so enjoyed being a part of their service. They translated much of the service into English and made us feel so welcome.
My favorite part of the service was when the offerings and tithes were received. Many people walked up to place their schillings in the basket, but what amazed me was that many people brought up fruits, vegetables and sugar cane. Then at the end of the service, the items were auctioned off to the congregation and the profit added to the tithe. This was such a tender time for us to see people who perhaps did not have any money to spare, but still wanted to give God their best, their first fruits and crops. Someone bought the sugar cane for the children to enjoy after church; this was Jackson’s favorite part!
Pastor Rono asked Paul to close the service. Then we walked up the hill where they, with the help of others, were able to purchase a piece of land and hope to build a building of their own someday. Again, Paul was asked to pray over the construction and finances for this precious congregation.
After the service, we walked another thirty minutes to a home where we were invited for lunch. We had a traditional Kenyan meal of beans, rice, sakumawiki, chapatis (like a tortilla) and ugali. She used what she had and served us her best. We’ll never forget her generous hospitality. It was a highlight for me to be in the village and be a part in a day of Summary’s family and life. I especially enjoyed Summary’s children and fell in love with her three-year-old girl, little Flora.
We were “released” to go about 4:30. In the Kenyan culture, the host literally tells you when you are free to go, and it is considered rude to leave before you have been given permission. We then traveled down the dirt road until we came to the Rickety Bridge. By the way, the bridge is completely torn down, and the metal frame is up and ready for the work team in March to come and finish. It was very exciting to see the progress and know that Summary and hundreds more travel this way everyday to come to work in this area at the compound or school. This meant, however, we had to travel over a makeshift bridge below the new one put together with logs and boards inches over the water….another adventure for my tired little family. I am sure you have read in a previous blog that not everyone in my family was feeling well by this time.:o)
Needless to say, we were early to bed that night after such a full day, some of us doing better than others. It was such a wonderful way to spend our last Sunday in Kenya.
We could not speak the same language, we looked very different in the small sea of beautiful dark skin and much of the culture was new for us. But none of that mattered because we were there for the same reason, to worship and honor our Lord and Savior.
It was a glimpse of heaven.