Every Sunday is different for us. In Lubumbashi, there are 11 Nazarene churches. As we’ve visited each church over the last several months, we have found they are different…in size, in type of building (from brick and cement, to sticks and tarps to under trees), and in ratio of adults, children and youth. But one thing remains the same. Every person that is in attendance is there to worship God. We attend church to learn and hear what God has brought to the preacher’s heart to share. And, as a collective body of believers we come to encourage one another, hold each other accountable and be a part of each other’s lives.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:10-12
When we arrive at church each week, we are always warmly greeted with “Bonjour Baba” and “Jambo Mama”. Men and Women sit on opposite sides of the church and children usually sit in the back. However, our family is usually always seated together at the front of the church. Church begins with Sunday school, where every person in the congregation engages with the teacher to learn about a particular passage of scripture. Prayers are lifted, in unison, for members of the congregation, the community, the city and the International Church of the Nazarene. For me, Jill, this has become one of my most treasured aspects of church. Together, as the Body the Christ, in French, Swahili and English, we lift our voices in praise and requests to God. With loud voices, claps of praise and beats of the drums we sing together in Swahili “Hakuna Rafiki Kama Jesu” (There’s no friend like Jesus), “Hakuna Mungu Kama Wewe” (There is no God like You) to begin the next portion of our service. Each church has different choirs made of children, youth, and adults who sing and dance in each service. Through these times, our hearts are filled with joy and love for our Savior and our brothers and sisters here in the Congo. After another person shares a message from the Lord, the service concludes. The congregation leaves one at a time shaking each person’s hand who left before them as they leave. It ends as a circle of church member’s being blessed by the Pastor to leave.
Praise the Lord for the Church in the DRC! We are blessed to be a part of it.