Monday, 7 November 2016

Church...the missionary dilemma.

I  believe there are many things to love about church in Africa.
Vibrant and authentic worship.
A new cultural perspective on Biblical stories and teaching.
The chance to understand another culture and build deep friendships, are just a few.

There are also challenges, particularly  when you have a young family.
I have wandered along open porches, dancing with my toddler during worship that lasts over an hour.
I have tried hard to entertain children with books and colouring through long sermons.
I have invested hours in training Sunday school teachers in order to improve the quality of what was being taught to the children.

We found a wonderful church in Uganda that became 'home'. We enjoyed fellowship with our Ugandan friends, benefited from great teaching and the children had some wonderful role models to learn from.  Yes, services could be long but it was worth it.

As we moved to Liberia we prayed that we would find the right church here for our family.
Mark and I were immediately drawn to a large evangelical church in town. The  Liberian Pastor taught the Word and was not afraid to speak the Truth.  However, the Sunday school was very large (50 children in the 1-3yr age group) and our children were not comfortable there. They also struggled with the very loud music.

We also visited a small community outreach run a by a Liberian/Canadian couple.  The services were only an hour long and another missionary family with children the same age attended.  This is where our children wanted to be!
Right now, we want them to be excited about worshiping the Lord and attending church, not to go just because we make them go.  Mark & I can find more in depth teaching in other areas (Bible study, pod casts etc). So, New Gate Community Church is where we worship each Sunday.  It is a fabulous little church with a congregation that is 75% children, We sing action songs, learn to pray together, and have a fairly short sermon.  After church the children all receive a snack or meal and get to play,  and we get to show them the love of Jesus in small ways (many of them come from neglected or abusive homes).

I often used to begin Sunday school teachers training by looking at Jesus as The Good Shepherd, focussing on the primary role of a shepherd to care for, protect, nurture, and feed his sheep.
We have been entrusted with our own little flock and therefore right now, this is how we feel we need to care for and feed our sheep.

Worship time at church

Pot luck Sunday once a month - That means Rice with a variety of 'soups'

The children also come during the week for library time and some vocational courses

Football - These boys take their football very seriously!

Those too young for football enjoy the play ground