Auntie Joyce got up early and baked bread. We had homemade bread for breakfast along with tea. It was delicious. On Sunday we went to church. Lammar and Mahendra came up to me and said "It's time for church Uncle Ethan" and led me to church. Their church service isn't much longer than an average American service. An average American church service is about 2 hours long. The service we attended was about 3 hours long. First we worshiped God through song. We sang some of the same songs we sing at our church in America. We felt at home. Pastor Lucius introduced Mom and me and told the congregation that we were visiting from their sister church in the United States. After worship, Pastor Lucius preached. His sermon was similar to what our pastor back in America was preaching. It's so neat to see the theme God is sharing with His people no matter where we are physically located. The theme was that of serving God through our actions, giving of time and resources and trusting God to meet our needs. I was struck by the whole service. These people who are seemingly less fortunate than those of us in America resonate joy and happiness in their faces. They were so welcoming to us. That humbled me. After the sermon, we had communion and sat back at our seats. One funny thing was that the communion was being passed while Pastor Lucius was praying over the communion. As a force of habit, while Pastor Lucius prayed, I closed my eyes. Someone had to nudge me to open my eyes and take the bread and to pass it on. After church, Lammar and Mahendra came up to me and said, "Uncle Ethan, church over" and led me out of church. In the back of the church, they were selling some snack of chick peas. Mom gave some of the kids money to purchase some snacks. They were so excited to suck on that baggie of chick peas and spices.
After church, we all came home and got changed. Afterward, I played with the children and Mom went to see how she could help in the kitchen. We had curry for dinner. I felt right at home. In the afternoon the kids watched Barbie DVDs. Everyone watched Barbie DVDs, both boys and girls. It was so funny, all of them knew the words to the movies.
Later in the day, Andrew, one of the older boys invited me to go to church with him that night. Pastor Lucius' church has an outreach church in a town called Canje. It took us about 20 minutes to go from the orphanage to the Canje church. We were driven to the church service by Curtis, the keyboard player from Pastor Lucius' church. Mom, Auntie Joyce, Ms. Shirley, Andrew, Davika and Yohan went to church. We arrived a little late for service. Auntie Joyce told us not to worry. Since this was a country church, people are not tied so strictly to time. The service was scheduled to begin at 7 pm and conclude at 10 pm. We began service with worship in song. An offering was taken. Almost everyone worshiped God in giving. The offering box was shaped like a little house. It was very cool. After we sang, Auntie Joyce was asked to come up and preach. Before she began, she introduced Mom and me and said that we were visiting from the United States. Everyone made us feel so welcome. Auntie Joyce asked Mom if she wanted to share a few words. Mom told the congregation, particularly the young people that they are precious and valuable to God. They should always remember that they are valuable to God. Auntie Joyce said how much of a help Mom has been to her. Neither Mom nor I knew Auntie Joyce was a preacher. She's a great preacher. She is so real. She spoke about modesty for both boys and girls. She told the boys that they need stop wearing their pants low on their backsides. She also said that we are supposed to discipline kids when they are young so that they have a good foundation for their future. By discipline, she meant being firm with children and setting boundaries and not taking the easy way by giving in to whatever your kids want. She said it's hard to be a parent but that we need to teach our children right from wrong and show them right from wrong. She told us a story of herself when she was a child. She had stolen candy. Her Grandmother disciplined her for stealing. Now she is thankful to God for having a Grandmother who loved her enough to teach her right from wrong. She said that her Grandmother disciplining her was hard for her; however, because of it, Auntie Joyce is the Godly person she is now. Had her Grandmother taken the easy way out, Auntie Joyce could have continued down her path of theft and could have ended up in jail. A simple act of stealing candy form a jar could escalate to something much worse.
After church Curtis took us to a little store in town to pick up some Sprite for Mom and me. Auntie Joyce purchased some mangos for the children. In addition, we got a snack. We got ice cream for everyone. On the ride to and from Canje church, Curtis played some Casting Crowns music. It was a CD that had a variety of christian artists on it. It had music just like we listen to here in America. It was a lot of fun going to Canje church and spending time with Andrew, Curtis and the rest of the gang. No matter where you are, as long as you are with other believers, you feel like you are home. Mom and I were so glad that we could go to both services. It has been so much fun spending time getting to know everyone.