What a joy to walk to church this morning. It was a great time to reflect on the devotion I read before I left as well as gave me ample time to pray for the services. This was my first stepping outside the school campus completely on my own. Once again as I’ve written before, I had such a sense of peace and Gods direction. I wasn’t afraid I would get lost or harmed in any way.

It was a little unusual, no not a little unusual, it was a lot unusual that I was met at the entrance of the property where the church holds its services by a guard with a gun. I don’t think they have small guns in Africa, it seems they are always so big or the guards that carry them are so small! If I remember correctly this was the first armed guard I have seen since I arrived here in Tanzania. In Uganda there are armed guards all along the road and other places, but it hasn’t been that way here. I can’t tell you why the property needed the armed guard because I decided I didn’t want to know! God brought me there safely and I didn’t want to be distracted by the what ifs!

I arrived a few minutes early and was blessed a couple of minutes after I arrived to meet a young lady named Sarah. Her English was very good and she shared that Mama Lois, my teacher who invited me to come had been in her life since she was 5. It was very obvious that Mama Lois and her husband who is the Pastor there are loved very much. When she learned I was one of Mama Lois’ students she insisted I practice my Kiswahili with her. She told me once church started because I was a visitor I would be asked to speak to the congregation and tell them about myself in Kiswahili!

Okay, just so you know I didn’t run away, although the thought crossed my mind! I decided that just as God had delivered me safely there, He would help me communicate. I did okay on the first couple of sentences, then I got tickled at myself and laughed and the whole congregation joined me! How wonderful that brothers and sisters in Christ can show their love for God and for one another no matter the language barrier. I think they will remember my laughing more than they will remember what I was trying to say. It was a wonderful first time experience making my first Kiswahili speech.

There were lizards inside and other critters, but it was a precious little church room. They didn’t have any pews or a choir loft or any musical instruments there. As the congregation began to sing, the tears began to flow as the songs they were singing were the precious old hymns  I knew from home, only with Kiswahili words.

From the church chair (which was a plastic chair) I sat in, I could see the great Mount Meru out the door. It had a cloud circled around the top of it. It reminded me of my devotion yesterday when I read in Exodus about Moses going up into the cloud on top of the mountain to meet the Lord. I know that the cloud on Mount Meru was not the same thing, but it made me think; maybe the Lord was up on top of Mount Meru this morning listening to His children sing as our voices drifted upwards.

Eventually I closed my eyes and listened to the beautiful voices around me. I thought about how little they have here materially as a physical church, but how rich their lives are as a family of believers in their relationship with our Heavenly Father. This little congregation impacted my life today, I will never forget them.

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary – East Africa