Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Special Day!

Today we got to worship with the church we are serving… We always go to church on our trips, but it’s usually the whole big group in a city church. I’ve always wanted to go to church in a rural area and really see how church is done.

Let me tell you, the Swazis know how to worship… I’m Presbyterian (PCA) and we’re often jokingly referred to as the ‘frozen chosen’… Well, that’s not exactly true at my church in the US, but it is for me. I’ve just never been very demonstrative in worship, so I decided that today was going to be different. I was going cave diving out of my comfort zone and if they danced before the LORD, then I was going to dance with them… And dance I did! Even Nick got in on the action… I admit, I was pretty shocked when he scooted into the line behind me (Pastor M will have Zack dancing by the end of the week I’m sure, as long as he survives his schooling in soccer by the Swazi boys that Pastor M is setting him up for!!)!

I loved watching the kids watching us… I’m sure they thought we were hilarious, but they were so sweet, I can’t wait to play with them and spend some time with them over the next few days…

After church was over, Pastor had our team form a line and we did the Swazi handshake with every person and child that was there… My sweetest moment of the day came in that line… Last year there was a gogo (grandmother) that I just fell in love with… Elina… I was afraid she wouldn’t remember me, but when she got to where I was in line, she completely skipped the traditional handshake and pulled me into the greatest GIANT bear hug… That’s what God’s love can do… What else could connect two completely different people on the opposite side of the world who have only seen each other for 3 days out of a life time… I wish I could somehow find the words to describe that connection… But they would never do that moment justice!

When we left today, I said to Pastor M… “Last year I was so shy, I wouldn’t dance, but you’ve gone and broken me out of my shell… Could we dance and worship just once more before we leave?” He made my day… He said, “I tell you what… we’ll start every day, before you work, with a time of praise and worship!” Now that’s worth coming around the world for!!

Here’s what I learned today… if you’re going to be somewhere… then be ALL there! I’m sure someone has said that before… but it’s just so rewarding… it’s so free! I’m so tired of letting my inhibitions steal amazing moments of joy, like I experienced today! I want to drink in every moment… to squeeze every drop of life out of every experience… that’s what the abundant life is all about!

Tomorrow is our first planting day… but first we will worship (and dance!)… now that’s my kind of day!


Naomi said...

Oh Sharla, I just love your honesty. I too can feel that way when it comes to worshiping the Lord. Being the reserved English girl that I am!!! I can just imagine you dancing before the Lord just like King David!

Please can we see some pictures and maybe a video when you get back to the US? I would love to see them all dancing before the Lord at church! (And you too ;) )

sierrasmom said...

Wow Sharla...I can feel yuor love and enthusiasm through your heartfelt words!!! I will lvoe reading your posts!!

Scott said...

Oh Lord, what have you done? Now that you have Sharlanand Nick dancing Zack and I don't have a chance. Let the Lord lead you, Zack and "be all there" while you can!
Scott / Dad

Michelle Johnson said...

Oh how I miss African worship!! Wow, do they know how to praise the Lord to the extreme. There are times when I am standing in church here and I can't help but wonder, "where is the clapping, the dancing and the shouting? Where is the pure joy they express?"

I love how Swazis remember everybody. When I went to EMK last year, a bunch of the kids ran up saying, "Michelle. Michelle Johnson". I couldn't believe they remembered me. But the reality is they feel so loved by the fact that people travel 1/2 way around the world just to see them. They are such special, special people. Thank you for faithfully going to them and loving them. Blessings to you my beautiful friend!