Although I’m very close to the family I live with, and we have devotions at home every day, we don’t normally worship in the same place on Sundays. I take Blaine with me to my church in town, while Bonifácio and the rest of the family walk ten minutes through the countryside to the church he pastors. But since February of this year, my church has returned to holding virtual services, consisting of audio recordings sent out via WhatsApp, due to COVID-19 concerns. This has allowed Blaine and me to join the family at the neighborhood church for their 8:00 service, then return home to listen to our church’s virtual service around 10:00. I often participate online in EPC’s worship later in the day (African time), making a grand total of three worship services for me each Sunday. What a blessing!
I feel delightfully satisfied to be in corporate worship together with the family I live with. We have taken advantage of the opportunity for the seven of us to present choral music to the congregation, which comes quite naturally since we habitually sing in four-part harmony during our daily devotions at home. Bonifácio has used our example as a springboard to encourage other families to sing hymns together at home and at church. Last Sunday was the first time a different family, pictured here, sang during the service; it was the family of Bonifácio’s niece Hope and her husband Evaristo.
Two Sundays previously, we were in this same family’s home for a surprise party that Hope threw for Evaristo’s thirty-fifth birthday. He was actually at our house all afternoon, and we drove him back to his residence to be welcomed with a bang to the evening’s festivities. I was touched to see the love which Hope had poured into making the event special for her husband. I was also moved to hear Evaristo take advantage of the unexpected gathering to proclaim the dramatic transformation which God had wrought in his life in recent years, turning him from debauchery to Christ, which testimony was affirmed by the believing guests who knew him well. He urged the unbelieving guests not to delay in trusting in Christ for their own salvation.
Praise be to God for how He is moving here in Africa!