HomeMissionTanzania 2011PostsEaster Sunday @ Mukirehe

Easter Sunday @ Mukirehe

Friday and Saturday were not pleasant for me(Rob) at all. I felt like I had the contents of warragamba dam in my intestinal tract with some goblin lowering the damn dam wall randomly and without warning. Put it this way, I'm starting to get proficient at hand washing pants.

Unfortunately, I missed out on helping with the worship at the Ukwata Easter Conference. Ukwata is the secondary school christian youth movement (Sorry Vithalis, but you wouldn't have wanted me there!). There are are about 300 youth camping out here in Murgwanza at the nursing school complex for 5 days over Easter.

Easter Sunday came and God made me strong enough to pack the family (and Theo and Tuombe) into the trusty Maroon Hilux. We bounced slowly along the old dirt road towards Mugoma - we were looking for a small church in a village called Mukirehe. Pastor Samuel had warmly invited us to come along a couple of weeks ago. On the way, we passed Pastor Samuel on his wobbly old bike. He indicated that he would like to squeeze in the car but I figured that already having 5 along the back seat, we were full(we had a guitar, drum and other gear in the back). Maybe he thought we were mean - we have seen cars like this with about 20 people in them - but I didn't feel like muddy footprints on the car ceiling.

We went ahead as Tuombe indicated he knew where to go but alas, he didn't. After asking for a couple of sets of directions, we finally met up with Pastor again - a bit like the hare and tortoise. We followed Pastor down this beaten track as his oldish legs pumped his extremely heavy steel bicycle over the ruts. No wonder all the bike wheels are buckled here.

The church at Mukirehe has been established since the 1930's. The current structure is the second one and is made with logs, sticks and mud. Surprisingly, these structures last a long while.

After huddling with the clergy outside for a quick prayer by Saskia, we made our way down the aisle(we weren't getting married) to sit at the front with the Pastor. I am sick of writing now so will hand it over to my sensational wife.

(Saskia) Whenever you come as wazungu to a village church for the first time you are expected to preach or at least share a song and a few words. So we came armed with Robs guitar and our trusty African drum. The boys came armed with their books and got settled for what is usually at least a 2 hour service. As well as us singing, there was also the Mothers Union choir and the Youth Choir. The Mothers Union sing unaccompanied but the Youth Choir sing to the trusty electic keyboard which is powered by a car battery (as their is no power at the mud church). There is not a lot of actuall keybaord playing going on as it is mostly using the demo function. After a few songs from each, I introduced myself and the family (in Swahili) then we sang two songs. We sang 'Lord I lift Your Name on High' (see words below). Rob had these words translated by Pater Samuel into swahili. There was much nodding and smiling from the congregation. Then we sang Niwa Baraka which was filmed by Mitchell (sorry fr the crazy filming).

The congregation joined in and we even were asked to sing it again just prior to Samuel preaching (which was about 2 1/2 hours into the service!) In between there was also a baptism and an offering for a new church building. After the sermon which was also kindly translated along the way, there was another offering (the usual collection), communion and then the auction to sell off the offerings of maize and eggs and other harvest goods. Different members of the congregation bid and bought for us karanga, njera and mayai. It is always awkward as the visitor when people spend their money on us. We often then give the things away to other more needy people but we have learnt now form the Kleins that the trick is to outbid the person bidding for us and instead buy it ourselves to give to the evangelists or the Pastor. Everyday we are learning new things!! Finally after about 3 3/4 hours (not that we were watching the clock - but the kids were), we were finished and left in the return procession for one more song and blessing outside after shaking everyones hands on the way out. While we waited for Pastor to finish up, Rob and I tried to entertain the kids outside with a rendition of 'Father Abraham' and 'My God is So Big' - it didn't really catch on - but they did think I looked funny waving my arms all about. I had also brought some balloons for the kids and the usual scramble of hands was seen.

As is tradition we were then invited for lunch after the service with the Pastor and Evangelist and wives and families. We followed Pastor back on his bicycle, watching him pump the pedals with his "oldish legs" to a home nearby where a meal of bananas and beans and rice and goat had been prepared. This was all washed down of course with trusty soda. They were so grateful to have us as guests in their home and Rob had a great long chat with the eldest son of the family who is currently studying at UDOM (University of Dodoma). This is a massive university in Dodoma which Rob visited last time he was in Tanzanania. We understand that it has had financial backing from large corporate orgainisations such as Microsoft and IBM. It currently has around 15,000 students and plans to expand to a capacity of 40,000. This fellow is studying arts to be a Secondary School teacher hopefully back in the Kagera Region. I asked why he wasn't studying sciences as there is such a shortage of maths and science teachers and he agreed it is a problem but it is a vicious cycle. As there is no science and maths teachers in secondary schools, the students don't do well enough in these subjects to then go to university to study further, hence they are unable to train as science and maths teachers and the shortage continues. His sister is one of the nursing students at the nursing school. His father is the assistant Pastor at the Cathedral.

We finally finished lunch and all the official introductions at 4:30pm then had to rush back to the Kleins for an Easter egg hunt. Then home at 6pm after a very big day. Next week we will probably go to the cathedral again then the week after we have another village gig at Pastor Johns church ( he is Jonathons father).

 

Lord, I lift your name on high
Lord I love to sing your praises
I'm so glad You're in my life
I'm so glad You came to save us
You came from heaven to earth to show the way
From the earth to the cross my debt to pay
From the cross to the grave
From the grave to the sky
Lord I lift your name on high

 

Time Difference

You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.~

Henry Drummond
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