Hi everyone! I am back in Maun after the weekend in Etsa 6, which is the location of one of our branch churches. This was an incredible weekend; I would have to say that if you took skydiving out of the equation, this beats the Namibia trip. This village is much more in line with what I think most people expected Botswana to be like; it is a small, traditional village.
When we arrived Friday night, it was already dark. We had been planning on taking the church tent down and setting it back up, since it was originally put up inside out, but due to the lack of light, we had to skip that part of our trip. We arrived at the house of one of the church member's; this family has some property that they set aside for visitors to the church. The guys slept in one room (on the cement floor in sleeping bags), while Dietra and I were fortunate enough to sleep in the girls' room on a bed. If you had seen the the bugs that out this weekend, you would understand why this was such a huge blessing for us :)
Around 9:30p, we set off for the church to take part in all night prayer. When you think of all night prayer services in the states, you picture about 5-10 people showing up. We were shocked to pull up and see about 50 people (of all ages- from 4 years old to 80 years old) already singing and dancing in the tent. This was one of the most amazing nights of my life. It was more of a "praise and prayer" night than just a prayer night- and thank goodness, too, because, let me tell you...there is nothing more powerful that singing accapella praise and worship in the middle of a small African village all night long. Now, I have to tell you this. I was completely blown away by the children here. There were kids between the ages of 5-10 that were with us all night, and they were worshipping God with such a passion that I have never in my life seen in a child before. I was in awe, and had to stop myself from staring. I finally learned some dance moves, too, that I can whip out in church now :). The women in this church have absolutely beautiful voices; I want to go back to the village and record them someday. There are two songs that have been running through my head all day and I just want to get up and dance. I wish that you could hear them! That night we made it until 4:30am, and then I hit my wall. I was told that I looked like I was sleeping with my eyes open; lovely. We went back to the house and immediately crashed.
Now, the original plan was to go out and do evangelism from 8am-12pm. However, because the night of prayer (and praise) went until close to 7am for the church members, we didn't have a translator available until 3pm. So, we got to sleep in and take the morning off, instead of following the Siesta schedule. From 3:30-6pm we went throughout a section of the village that is close to the church and invited them to come and watch the Jesus Film that night; we also spent time sharing the gospel and praying with the villagers. Now, evangelism is not my gifting, nor my calling, but I sure do appreciate and value the time that we spend doing it. That afternoon we were chatting with 2 young women who were quite shy and didn't have much to say. After the rest of the group left, I stayed to talk with them a little bit longer. I asked them if they have any children, and one of the girls said "Yes, two. Wait one. I lost one last year." It turns out that her one year old daughter died. Of course that kicked the compassionate side of me into high gear, and I was able to talk and pray with her for a while. If you think of it, pray for this girl named Unti.
Saturday night we showed the Jesus Film. Now this was a highlight for me; I have wanted to be a part of showing the Jesus Film for as long as I can remember. Everything for this event went so smoothly; there are dozens of things that can go wrong when you're dealing with this film, and absolutely nothing went wrong. There were about 500 people that showed up for the movie; considering the fact that we didn't even start announcing that the movie would be showing that night until 4pm, and we only told 15 households about it, this was a great turnout. There were 4 reels for the film, so while we were switching those out, the interns took turns sharing their testimonies. I am finally getting used to working with a translator. We had a fantastic woman from the church, Elizabeth, working with us all weekend. What a might woman! After the movie, we did and alter call and prayer for the sick, then took the equipment down and went home. We were home and in bed by around 11pm.
Today we had church from 8-10am. This was quite possibly my favorite church service off all time. When we arrived, they had already started the praise and worship portion of the service- again, accapella. There were about 12 people up at the front of the tent leading the praise; as soon as one song would end, someone would just break into another song. It definitely isn't planned out prior to the service, either. It's just that whatever is in their hearts gets sung. After that was over, they opened it up for testimony and sharing time, and several congregants went up to share with us. Then Kevin preached the sermon, then we sang one or two more songs, and then the service ended. Afterwards, we led discipleship training for about 25 church members.
I loved the people from this church. They are so kind, so joyful, so friendly. Between all night prayer, the Jesus Film, and church this morning, we spend quite a bit of time there! I truly cannot wait to go back there sometime. This weekend is something I wish that you could experience for yourself. This has the potential to be a life-changing experience.
I also just want to share that we were incredibly blessed by the weather this weekend. It was storming Friday night, but we were covered in the tent, and the cool air from the rain probably heloped to keep us awake. It rained all of Saturday morning, when we were resting, then the rain stopped and it was a cool, cloudy day for evangelism. The sky was completely clear, with a full moon, Saturday night. Today is was cool and cloudy for church and when we were packing up, then the sun came out for our drive home.
Now we are home and resting. It was a wonderful weekend, but pretty tiring! We get take to tomorrow off to recuperate, so I will probably spend it laying by or in the pool :)
Ok, finally, what I know you are all waiting for. The bonus Suhail quote from Friday. I was sitting with him and another one of my faves (Kent) while they were doing their worksheets, and these boys were acting so hyper and giggly. Since I am a kid at heart and a complete pushover, I let them goof for a while- all of a sudden I hear Suhail ask Kent, "Are you kissing Miss? Are you kissing my girlfriend?!"
When I have some more time tomorrow, I will post more pictures from the trip, as well as more from my placement with the kids at school. Love to all!