October 08, 2015

On Moving, Arachnids, Culture Shock and Accents {part 3}

{this is part 3 of my three part blog on #takingSAagain, for part 2 click here, and part 1 here}
I had a lot of anticipation about Sunday morning. When we were here as a family back in July we got the {rare} opportunity to attend an Acts service on a Friday night, and it was absolutely incredible. So I knew Sunday was going to be nothing short of amazing.

What I didn't expect, was to feel God's presence the way it fell during worship.
I love to worship corporately with song, I think it's one of the most beautiful and intimate things. And this was no exception. The worship leaders were great- really in tune with the Holy Spirit and letting that lead the praise. The presence was thick. And then as we came to the next song, the thick, wool-blanket-like presence of God literally wrapped me up inside of it. The song had a very African feel to it, and during the bridge they even did a little African dance and made noises like traditional African worship has. It was indescribable. Here I was, surrounded by a team of Americans, worshiping in an auditorium full of South Africans, praising God in a very western atmosphere, but with African dancing that reminded me of home. It was everything I know and love wrapped up in one. and it. was. glorious.
I couldn't help but begin to weep, big sloppy tears running down my face uncontrollably as I felt the immense love of the Father wrap me up in his thick, presence-filled blanket.

And if that wasn't enough, we also got to pray for a lot of people to receive the power of the Holy Spirit, to receive the call God has placed on their lives and begin walking in their purpose. It was so amazing to lay hands on people and feel the fire of God get put into their hearts, to see them begin to weep as He overcame them, and see the hope that filled their eyes as they left the altar.  God was seriously moving in that place.

And then we got to do it all over again for the second service. 

After that I was spent.  Literally could have just taken a nap right then and there on the floor of the auditorium.  But alas, we were headed to lunch with the Pastor, his family and his parents.  It was a great time of chatting and relaxing, before heading to the lodge for a quick time of rest before our Sunday night service.

When we pulled up next to Divine Worship Center, I had a feeling it would be different.  It was set in the middle of a township, a big white tent, with music blaring from every seam.  As soon as we stepped foot inside, I felt it: home. 

The decor, the worship, the volume (you know what I mean, Tanzanian friends!), every inch of that space screamed home.  I had to strain my ears and double check that they weren't singing in Swahili - that's how much it felt like home.  I went up to give my testimony after worship and it took a lot of willpower to not greet everyone in Swahili.  I spoke slowly and intentionally - not for their benefit, but for mine because I was so prone to slip in a Swahili word or phrase.  After I shared about the power and purpose found in obedience, Dawn shared her story, also about purpose. Then Brian shared a great word about finding purpose in God and living out what he has for you. 
After the service every single person got prayed over and it was a beautiful thing.
Perhaps one of my favorite moments though?  When one of the men in the service came over to me at the end, shook my hand and said to me, "Hey Tanzania! Thanks so much for coming!" with a big smile on his face.  
And that was when I knew.  After all that,  I knew.  God was moving in me, showing me, there's a place for us here. Not right now, but someday.  There is a little flame in my heart for South Africa.  

After getting that revelation it was hard for me to come to terms with the fact that I was leaving the next morning.  I spent the night chatting with Dawn, Brian, Chuck & Alison.  Waving our arms frantically every three minutes to trip the motion sensors when the lights turned off.  Eating way too much candy. And soaking up every last moment we had to spend together. They prayed over me before we parted ways to head to bed.  

Monday morning, I woke with a heavy heart.  After the revelation I'd had Sunday it was so incredibly hard for me to come to terms with leaving.  I felt like I wanted to stay a bit longer... to linger in that blanket wrapped around me and learn more about what God had in store for our family in Joburg.  Not to mention I was just finally starting to feel like I fit in with the team, and now it was time to go.  
I packed my bags (and God miraculously turned 60lbs of goodies/supplies the team brought into 50lbs so we wouldn't have to pay extra to check it!).  We loaded up on the bus and headed to the church to make hot dog lunches the team was going to hand out later in the day.  We all rode the bus to the orphanage after, and on the way a couple of us were a little misty-eyed.  "God knew we needed this," it wasn't the first time I'd said it on the trip.  And we both knew just how true it was.  
When we reached the orphanage we said our good-byes before Cindy took me to the airport.  It wasn't easy.  I didn't want to let go when we hugged good-bye.  I didn't like knowing it would be so long until I got to see them again. 

The conversation on the way to the airport was good.  It didn't feel like too much of a good-bye with Cindy.  It kind of did, and I miss her tremendously.  But something tells me we'll be back to see her soon enough.  

So that was it.  The end.  I rushed through all my airports and connections and made it back to Moshi by the skin of my teeth.  I was greeted by an amazing welcoming committee- my hubby and son (who wouldn't let go of me!) and even my shosti and his fiancee.  

What I wasn't expecting though, was the re-entry after only 4 days away....  But that's a whole 'nother story.