In case you've ever wondered what our office here is like, I am typing up what our service was like today. We really enjoy this office, and even though not more than maybe 2% of it is in English, it's a great time to get involved with other cousins, try to catch a bit of language learning here and there, and send money for these cousins and their office.
11:00 - The time it's supposed to start.
11:07 - We were sitting with the shepherd and another leader in his adjoining room/house, discussing someone to help our summer students get around easier through the villages.
11:10 - the service began with only about 5 of us sitting. Everyone quietly sent money.
11:15 - We sang our first song. The songbooks are not only in the national language but in the script as well, so husband and I stumble through them. Sometimes while having to think quick, I'll mix up N with G, or some other letters. S is always the most fun mistake because it's so easily heard. Also, there are no directions or notes. Sometimes they start with the chorus, or sometimes they repeat only half the chorus, sometimes a high note comes out of nowhere, etc. You just never know.
11:20 - a girl gets up and reads a certain passage from the ot. We sing another song. The man who usually sits in front of us will point us to the song even when the leader says the song number in English.
11:25 - the same girl gets up and reads a certain passage now from the nt.
11:26 - during a very familiar song to us, we began with the chorus. After the chorus, I then started on the first verse wayyy before anyone else did. Yep, I was singing, quite offkey, all by my lonesome. Not even the tambourine guy or the drum guy was there to play yet.
11:27 - husband and I are still laughing, and trying to hide our giggles. This makes us giggle even more, and before you know it, tears are streaming down our faces. I have the songbook in front of my face in a feeble attempt to cover up.
11:28 - Yep, still laughing.
11:29 - By now, about half of the people have arrived, and are probably wondering why the white people are crying.
11:31 - More money time. At this time it's always the same guy who stands up and does the money outloud. Bless his heart, this man is more wordier than my blogs. Last week, we timed him, and he actually kept going for 13 minutes.
11:47 - "Amen." Whew, 16 minutes. If he keeps adding on 3 minutes every week, we're in for a doozy by New Year's.
11:48 - Shepherd begins his speech. By now, everyone has shown up.
12:05 - my head covering has been blown off by the fans for about the millionth time.
12:25 - Speech is over and we are having more money time.
12:28 - Collection time.
12:30 - We send money over the collection.
12:32 - sing one last song. This one is usually a bit slower so it's much easier for us to keep up.
12:37 - two weeks in a row, a non-cousin has had a special request that we all send money for, out loud, at the same time. I'm not exactly sure what her request was, but I know the boss knows.
12:40 - the service is over.
12:41 - We sit in the shepherd's adjoining room with his family and about half of the people. We all chat and have chai together for about 20 minutes and then leave.
Now before you go wondering if I sat there and took notes, I must say I did not. These are approximate times. Except of course our longwinded friend, who we did shamefully time. I haven't had quite the crazy experiences I had while I was attending West African offices in Paris, but you never know. Maybe here, too, we'll unexpectedly be forced to stand up and sing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." We still have a lot of Sundays left to be utterly humiliated.