This last Sunday, the church service here in Mpanda was well over four hours – though I’m not proud of it! Usually I like to make sure that we don’t dawdle, but this week there were extenuating circumstances. I had guided us efficiently through the first hour, but then it started to rain.
This was a real tropical downpour, with a strong gusting wind. Unfortunately the windows have not yet been put into our church building and so the congregation had to move back further and further to avoid a soaking. The storm caused a power cut, which meant we couldn’t use microphones, and so we were unable to make ourselves heard above the drumming of the rain on the roof and water cascading down to the ground. We were stuck like that for over an hour.
Halfway through the delay, above the roar of the pounding rain, I began to hear a murmur. Someone had spontaneously started singing a hymn. This gradually caught on and, for the next half hour, there was calm but joyous singing.
To me this was a microcosm of the life of the Christians I know in the Diocese of Lake Rukwa. They face the storms of life with little protection, but they endure and overcome joyfully as they stay in the shelter of the one who gave his life for them and sing his praise.
You can find out more about Paul Hunter and his ministry in Tanzania here.