Monday, August 17, 2015

Nigeria Journal Part 6: Sunday Service at the Rescue Mission Church

Sunday, November 3
   Up at 7:00 with Penny’s cheerful phone alarm and then having difficulty getting ourselves out of bed.  Dressed in our form fitting dresses we ate breakfast downstairs.  We each ordered scrambled eggs with tomato, peppers and spices with fried plantains.  Only instant coffee available.  They don’t call it coffee.  They call it Nescafe.  Better than nothing!  Tea is not tea, it’s Lip TON.  If you ask for tea or coffee they will bring you cocoa mix.  They just don’t know what you mean!  There was some confusion about whether we were supposed to eat then or not because Deacon Andrew and U C came for us before our meals were served.  We ate quickly but were still a little late for the church service at Ignatius’ church, the Rescue Mission Church.  
I wish I could describe to you the level of poverty we witnessed as we drove along the streets of Lagos.  It’s appalling, exciting, colorful, life affirming, all at the same time!  Every street seems lined with little one room shacks that serve as little shops.  Some people seem more prosperous and sell local fruits and vegetables or sundries.  Others look like they are selling whatever they can scrounge up or steal.  some are dressed in rags, others seem better dressed.  It they have electricity there may be a bare lightbulb.  More often there is none.  I don’t know where they get their water.  All streets are lined on both sides with open sewers.  Most little shops have a wooden board gang plank to get from the street, across the open sewer and to the shack.  Everyone dumps all their refuse into the sewer but honestly, I did not notice any foul smell.

Lagos motorcycle taxis

All of the streets in the part of Lagos we were staying in were dirt roads.

Almost every little building was some kind of shop selling something.

   The only things I mostly smelled were gas fumes (no unleaded gas here.), dust, mud, BO and cooking smells.  Of course, our car windows were closed almost all the  time, but when we did step out of the the vans I found no “sewer odors”.

The women danced traditional dances for us

The worship team singers

 When we stepped out of the van that morning the Rescue Mission Church was already booming!  Before we could even straighten our dresses eager faces were smiling and saying, “You are welcome here!”   Eager arms reached out to embrace us.  Such a wonderful welcome!  As we made our way down the isles of the church arms constantly reached out to shake our hands or enfold us in hugs.  We went into Ignatius’ office first to get a rundown on the game plan.  Then we were taken to seats perpendicular to the congregation.

 The group of ladies and one man who served as the worship team, accompanied by keyboard, guitar and  bass were led by a lovely lady who stood on the stage.  I learned later that her name was Silvia and she is U C’s sister.  They were LOUD!  And they were GOOD!  And they were JOYFUL!

Getting settled for the Sunday morning service.
Lozie is lovely in her Sunday dress and hat.

Here we are receiving our gifts.

My wonderful painting on my kitchen wall!

  Ignatius welcomed us and called each of us up on the stage individually and gave us all amazing gifts!  The men received incredible cow hide fans (the sign of a chief) and necklaces and bracelets of large red beads. (signifying power in the community)  The women got white oxtail fly switches (signifying the bride of a chief) and the red beads as well as earrings.  Each of us was also given a painting of a village scene done by a local artist.  I love them all!

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

What a precious, precious time, dear Judy! I know I've said this before, but seeing your pictures reminds me of the time I was in Benin. Oh, how I love the African people :) Thank you for sharing with Roses of Inspiration. Hugs to you!