This morning we went to visit Amos at his church. It was quite a different experience than Temba Baptist. Amos said church started at 9:30. We arrived around 9:45 expecting to sneak into the back. Instead, we stood outside for the next hour with all the other late arrivals. Thankfully Amos was also late, so we were able to stand with him and hear more about the church. He had his two sons, Elias and Joseph, with him, but his wife and daughter were not there. They go to a traditional African church, which involves ancestor worship. Amos also used to go there, but he used to be very sick and he came to the Full Gospel Church. He prayed, became a Christian, was healed and has gone there ever since. The church is very big on praying and fasting. Amos told us that in January and September the whole church fasts for a whole week and they also fast every Wednesday. There are even rooms at the church for people to sleep in while they fast for long periods of time.
Getting back to this morning, the people inside were praying and singing and one lady told me the ushers must have decided to keep the doors shut so those praying wouldn't be disturbed. Even the pastor's wife was standing around with us. Normally, this wouldn't have been so bad, but this morning it was around 65 degrees and windy. Jori and I both had pants on and ended up being the only females wearing pants. Once we were inside, I also noticed that I was the only woman without a head covering on. All the other women had scarves tied on their heads or were wearing a hat.
Finally, it was time to go inside. The doors opened and we entered along with over half the congregation. Darin and Tyson sat with the men in one section. Jori and I ended up sitting with girls in their teens and twenties, which was the closest section to the men, instead of with the others moms and kids. A woman named Rebecca did come and sit by me to translate as the pastor switched back and forth between English and Sotho. We stood up for a few songs with lots of hand raising and clapping and then the Sunday School kids sang a song followed by the young adults. Then Rebecca said we had to go stand in front of church to be introduced. So up we went along with some other visitors.
I missed out on a lot of the service because Jori was running back and forth between me and Darin. Rebecca gave her a pen at one point, and Jori then wrote all over my arms. Very nice. Tyson came over to tell me he had to go to the bathroom at which point Darin gave the head nod that it was time to go. So out we went. We had told Amos and several others that we would come back another time at 11 and stay for the preaching, which had not even started when we left, and also take part in the lunch they serve each Sunday. We were hoping to just get in our car and drive away, but that was not to be.
Instead, we were ushered into a room with a large table, set with glasses and utensils. One of the ushers that Darin had talked with earlier said that he knew we weren't planning on staying, but they had already prepared things for us, so would we please stay. So we sat down along with Amos and this usher and were all served heaping plates of food. Chicken, mashed potatoes, carrots, beets and rice with sauce. The servings were huge and they had brought a plate out for Tyson, which thrilled him to no end. Jori wanted her own too, but we said no. They did bring out a piece of chicken “just fo' me!”, so she was good to go.
We are learning that our kids are not so fun to have in these types of situations. They are loud and always have ants in their pants. We try to interact with the adults and eat the mounds of food in front of us, but then Tyson spits out a mouthful of beets or Jori almost falls of the chair. So we'll have to practice sitting still and using good manners before we go out again. We are very thankful that they are so easy going and friendly to all the new people we meet. Focus on the positives.
We finally got home close to one. The kids each had a sandwich and then it was nap time. They slept over 2 hours. Darin and I decided to start a puzzle we found a couple weeks ago. We put together the whole outside in an hour. Go team Fey. We'll let you know how it turns out.