Over the summer our friend, Pastor A, asked us if we would visit his church and have Nathan preach. In September, Nathan had a free weekend, so he prepared a sermon in English and began translating it into Tok Pisin. The local tribal languages can be complex, but as a trade language, Tok Pisin is a fairly simple language that uses a lot of description rather than specific words. For example, a toe is pinga bilong lek (finger belong leg). With all the descriptions needed in translating, Nathan realized that even though his sermon was a reasonably length in English, it was going to be incredibly long in Pisin. He shortened it down in time for Sunday morning and we hopped in the Land Cruiser to drive the 15 minutes to pick up Pastor A along the side of the road. He directed us up a dirt road just off the main road and we tried to make it up the hill. It had rained some the night before and we didn’t make it up the muddy road the first time, so we rolled back down, put the vehicle in four wheel drive and made it up the second time without a problem.
Most off the congregation was waiting at the church when we arrived and greeted us as we climbed out of the Land Cruiser. Pastor A’s wife was there with their four children. We had met his wife and oldest son before when they came for lunch, but were able to meet their other son as well as the their two little girls they adopted.
About a year ago they built the foundation, frame and roof of the church building and for now the open walls let in a nice breeze during the service. Everyone entered and took off their shoes and our family was ushered to the front of the church. Pastor A introduced our family and then led the singing and three people accompanied with guitars. After knowing his story of once being a rascal who was always looking for trouble, I loved sitting there watching him lead singing and seeing his passion as he encouraged his congregation. His life has seen an amazing transformation through his relationship with Christ and it is evident in all he does.
At one point during the singing I noticed more eyes on us than usual and turned to look behind me. Our youngest son was perched on the concrete foundation with his eyes closed and head swaying and he sang along with the congregation. The lack of walls proved to be a little distracting to my bug catchers as they saw crickets and beetles crawling through the grass. They were itching to jump to the other side to catch the little critters. They stayed through most of the service, but hopped out to join the other kids towards the end.
After the service we chatted with many of the people and then they presented us with fruits and vegetables to take home. We are so humbled by the generosity of the people when we visit a bush church. And it is a blessing to be able to worship along side fellow believers.