Bird on a Bare Branch

Attempting to fling a frail song in my little corner of the world

Church Part 3 May 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 8:49 pm

The dreaded day has arrived. I have been asked to preach.

Last week I was talking to my colleague, Jorge, about the two churches he’s involved in, one in the town where he’s from and one here in Beira. I expressed interest in the one here in town when he mentioned the services are only an hour and a half! Also it’s pastored by a Brazilian missionary who’s a friend of other missionary friends of mine. So Jorge invited me to go with him this weekend. I happily accepted the invitation.

A few days ago he asked me if I’d like to preach this Sunday. I declined. He persisted. I explained that I would like to just visit for my first time and could perhaps preach another time, and besides wasn’t the pastor preaching? (I was quite looking forward to hearing the pastor preach.) He said the pastor was away. I asked who would preach then. He said since I wouldn’t, then he would. I said, “Good. I would prefer to listen to you preach than me preach.”

The service was indeed an hour and a half long. It was a small group since they’re a new church, and they currently meet in a nursery school which was actually a much more pleasant setting than many churches I’ve been in. It was also the first church I’ve been in where I felt entirely comfortable. I wasn’t concerned about following “the rules”. And it wasn’t so loud. Plus, I knew all the songs!

But then at the end of the service the pastor’s wife, who was leading, said, “And next week our sister will preach?” Um, sure? How was I supposed to respond? Afterwards she told me that they thought I was preaching this week but then Jorge had explained that I would just visit the first time and preach the next time. Gee, thanks Jorge.

I do want to comment here on two things unrelated to preaching that struck me once again about church in Beira. The first was that while we were worshipping, we could clearly hear music coming from a church nearby. No matter what church I’m in, I always hear worship from a church nearby. For example, my regular church is directly across the street from my Mozambican family’s church. Like I mentioned in a previous post, churches here are not that big. Most of these churches have less than 30 people in them. So why are there so many in each neighborhood? If we want to minister to a certain neighborhood, shouldn’t we join forces?

The other thing that struck me was how much prayer and visitation is a part of ministry here. (This is a positive point!) After the service, many of us climbed into the back of a truck and drove to a more slum neighborhood to visit a sick woman. We all filed into her small house and stood in the doorway to her room to sing a song and pray for her. Churches in Mozambique certainly aren’t perfect, but I see prayer and visitation as one area of strength.

And now back to preaching. My biggest dilemma is not what to preach on – I already have an idea – but in what language to preach! Portuguese will be a struggle, but finding a translator to go with me will also be tricky. Stay tuned to an update next week.

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3 Responses to “Church Part 3”

  1. Rachel Says:

    OK, so impressed that Portuguese is even an option for you on this one. (Do I sound dumb?) If you are debating the language, I think you’ll be awesome…just my humble and uninformed opinion, of course.

    That’s also great that it’s the first church you’ve felt comfortable in. I think that’s huge.

  2. Ellen Says:

    So interesting that there is not even a consideration that you are a woman… think of all the churches stateside that would object! How are the attitudes toward women leaders in the church in Moz? Just curious… but you know I would love to sit and hear you (or any other woman of faith preach…)

  3. jhubers Says:

    I wondered if anyone would pick up on that. Isn’t that interesting? It just doesn’t seem to be an issue here, at least not with the churches I’ve come in contact with. (I know it’s an issue with some others.) I know Mozambican women pastors, and missionary women are often asked to preach. I find it very interesting in this culture where there is such inequality between men and women and where women are still pretty much second-class citizens that the issue of women in leadership is not nearly as much of an issue as in the States where we supposedly do have equality between men and women.


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