Written on May 13, 2016
Tonight, I went to the best worship service of my life.
I will back it up a bit. For those of you who do not know, I am currently in Tanzania on the eastern side of Africa. I flew in Tuesday and have been loving every single minute of it. I am staying at a compound belonging to the STEMM ministry based out of Sioux City, Iowa. There are eleven watoto (kids) that live in the orphanage here. Myself and the other two Dordt students with me have had the privilege of spending time with them every day this past week, and it has been a hoot!
This evening, we got the privilege of having supper with the kids. The Mama’s, the caregivers of the children, cooked us a great meal and we all sat down and ate together. Afterwards, we played around with them for a long time (actually, we basically had an indoor water fight. The Mama’s were very gracious towards our silliness). After a bedtime story, they sang two songs and said a good night prayer.
These few minutes of listening to the kids sing and pray in Swahili was the best worship service of my life.
After the first song, the girl sitting on my lap (named Merriam) whispered in my ear, “Close your eyes and put your hands up.” So I did. And she and another girl, Rita, led us in a prayer song. I only recognized two words: Yesu and Jehovah. Tears formed in my eyes as I listened to the children singing out to their Savior, and I began to sing out to my Savior as well. I did not know what they were saying, and I didn’t bother to ask afterwards. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in that room filled with eleven beautiful children who are not from the same country as me and don’t prefer to speak the same language as me. After all, do I really think that the God who created language would be constrained by its barriers?
After the song, two older boys lead us in a spoken prayer. All the while I heard the girl in my lap firing off her own prayer as fast as she could. I pleaded to God, asking him to grant her the desires of her heart.
In my devotions this week, I have been reading in the book of 1 Kings about the life of King Solomon. King Solomon was given the enormous undertaking and privilege of building the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem. After Solomon’s dedication of the temple, the Lord responds with this promise:
“I have heard the prayer and the plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple…by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart with always be there” (1 Kings 9:3).
Sometimes the consecrated places are the places you least expect. A street corner in the city where a man gets to know the homeless and teaches them about Christ. An underground ally were two families meet in secret to worship. A home filled with children praising their Lord Yesu.
How comforting to know that God takes these places that contain the people who cry out his name and consecrates them, promising that His eyes and His heart will be there forever. He hears the prayers of Merriam and all of the children and even of all people, promising to keep his Name with them forever.
After we said goodnight to the kids, we walked out to a sky full of bright stars created by the God who promises to watch over us and keep His heart with us.
God is so good. Always.