Rebecca: On Sunday, LIA took all the TOTs to Makueni for church. They split us up into groups of about five or six so that different churches could be visited. LIA works with eight churches in Makueni.
Jim and I were paired together, along with Keziah, Pastor Philemon, and Owen. We got to the church late due to bus problems but we thank God that we made it and were able to worship with them. I think my favorite part of service was listening to the children sing – that kind of stuff always touches my heart in a special way. And the pastor was very accommodating because he had a guy come up to translate his sermon into English for us non-Swahili speakers. Overall it was a great experience. I got to talk to some of the girls after the service and they were very sweet. Their names were super hard to pronounce but hopefully I'll see them again when we go back next week. And the church members didn't let us leave empty handed. They gave us gifts of produce which was really nice. Everyone at the church was very welcoming and hoped we'd come back.
Jim: I'd have to agree with Rebecca – my favorite part of the service was definitely when the children sang in English: “I love Jesus, He is my savior!” After the children sang, the choir sang & danced, and the pastor gave his sermon on Matthew 14, we were greeted personally by everyone in the church. The men were promptly kicked out of the building as the women had an exclusive meeting inside, and I found myself stuck amongst a crowd of silent, staring children. I tried conversing with a few of the older guys, but they didn't really respond at first. I sat down on a bench nearby and they followed, still staring and occasionally laughing to themselves (though I still can't figure out what was so hilarious); eventually, the young man who translated the sermon came and talked to me, which was an excellent relief from the staring eyes. I playfully tossed a broken stick at one of the kids and finally got a response, but just as they began opening up and laughing, our bus arrived and it was time for us to leave. It's definitely going to take some adjustment being a mzungu (white person) in this culture.