The African church experience & my day with Masai women

Guest Post from Laurra McGregor

The first church we visited yesterday was Lucy’s home church in the town of Narok, where we are staying. We arrived just a bit late, walking into the worship part of service.

At my church in Seattle worship begins about half an hour before the message is delivered. We sing songs that show on the screen (nice for those like me who don’t know any words by heart) and stay in our personal space (although many raise their hands). Worship at Lucy’s church has the same basic “skeleton” of our service with a lot more meat on the bones.

Worship was over an hour and a half long with no words on the screen–which was fine since 90% of the songs were in Swahili. After worship songs came a half hour of celebration songs where I felt like I was a kid at camp with movements that went along with the words–we were turning in circles & walking back & forth–all of us smiling & laughing, being joyful unto The Lord.

Richard, my best friend’s dad who we are here with, preached an excellent sermon about finding God’s favor & the importance of discipline to resounding Amens. I was really moved & told him he should preach that back at home—he told me he had already. I guess things just sound better in Africa.

The moment service was over we took off to Masai country to the people who had been waiting hours for our arrival.

Once we were driving on the red earth “road” it was clear why the rains would’ve kept us away. The potholes kept us from just driving straight down the road at 30-40 mph. Instead Harun (our driver) had to maneuver around & slowly through each deep hole. It was like driving through ski moguls only they were inside out. Thankfully it was a bright sunny day.

When we reached the church grounds many children ran up to the van to greet us. But since almost none of them had ever seen a white person before, they were frightened & shied away when we opened the door.

These people, the Masai, had been waiting for us for over three hours. I was humbled to be so welcomed there. The church building was made of metal siding attached to a wooden frame with a dirt floor. There were two places to enter, but no windows or doors.

When we walked in a young woman in Masai clothing was preaching. Lucy was visibly moved–as we learned later this was Florence, a girl Lucy had rescued & hidden for five years.

Almost all the women in the room were in traditional Masai clothing, which is how they dress every day. There were a lot more women than men present, with a good number of curious, yet frightened children in the mix.

Right away the worship music began & the women sang beautiful songs in the Masai language.

To note, before we left for the day, Val had told me I may end up dancing at church. To which I explained that was just not going to happen. I’m not a very good dancer & God & I are just fine with the way we communicate—which does not involve dancing.

Of course, when the Masai women began dancing in a line through the church & grabbed me, I was honored to participate.

After the singing & dancing Deb & I were asked to introduce ourselves before Richard’s message. I found myself standing in front of that group of beautiful African people, some who had never seen a white person before…these were people who had waited hours without food or water to welcome us into their church home & I thought, who am I to deserve this great honor? I was humbled at being there.

Richard preached another great sermon, and then there was a little more singing, and suddenly the service was over.

We asked the men & children to clear out & we invited the women to stay & receive a special gift.

We brought 25 kits with us to hand out after the service, not knowing how many women would be there. We had gone back & forth on how many to bring, praying we’d have enough. God bless it, EXACTLY 25 women stayed to get the kits!! Unbelievable!!

Lucy translated for me as I explained how the kits worked. There was a lot of giggling & face covering. But slowly they became more comfortable & even asked a few questions. I think it was my favorite part of the day, watching their faces show how these kits would change their lives.

At the end, when we were all getting ready to leave, a woman named Lois came up to me to thank me for the kit. She was tall & thin, a baby wrapped to her side. “Thank you. Thank you for this.” She held up her bag. “You are my friend.” I could tell by her eyes & voice that she was incredibly grateful. Suddenly, she took one of her intricate handmade beaded necklaces off of her neck & put around mine. “It’s too much!” I protested. She shook her head. “You are my friend.” And then the entire situation hit me & I cried.

I have so much more to write, but I’ve almost lost my thumb to numbness & I think this email’s very long already. I’m going to take a break & write about the family we visited & dinner at Lucy’s in my next segment. Thank you for reading & being part of this journey! Thank you for your continued prayers!!