Monday, September 03, 2007

Congolese Rumba Worship | Life in a War Zone

I loved worship yesterday! I've been tired of lugging my backpack around with all my photo and audio accessories, and could've kicked myself for leaving the digital audio recorder at the guesthouse. Worship was AMAZING!

The Congolese have a unique rhythm which they call Rumba. There was a drummer (hand drum) and a guitar player who picked the most fascinating rhythms. And all through church there were hand percussion instruments. Sometimes, the guitar would be playing and all through the congregation, young and old would sit and play along on their own shaker, made of a USA AID oil drum. I took some pictures, but really, it doesn't do it justice. And when they sang, everyone harmonized.

No electric keyboards.

No hymns.

No English songs.

Just Swahili songs with Congolese rhythms.

After the service, people came forward for prayer. We were sitting in the front row, so as a child was waiting to be prayed for, I reached out and prayed for him. And when I opened my eyes, possibly all 20 or so kids who were in church waited for me to pray for them. As I lay my hands on their course hair, I could but smile and thank God for the privilege of praying for these little ones. Witchcraft is still prominent around here. As is the threat of war. North of here, in North Kivu (we're in South Kivu), war has once again been declared, and we're told that thousands of troops have been moved to the area. No-one here seems bothered. It's just a way of life.

They've gotten used to soldiers in their streets and UN helicopters overhead. In fact, during a meeting at school this morning, things were momentarily interrupted as a UN helicopter took off nearby. No-one seemed to notice except for the fact that they had to sing louder for a moment.

But as I was once again interviewing some of the children, the scars of war were more prominent. More stories surfaced of parents and families being killed by soldiers, of young ones staying with people who are using them as household slaves. "I have to work for my food," one girl explained to me today. "My parents are dead. I live with my uncle. I get up at 4:30 to start my chores..."

When I asked her about her favorite game or passtime, she answered without hesitation, "To worship God. To study His Word."

An escape from reality? Perhaps it's more of an escape to reality, into the presence of the God who cares about her, about her suffering.

How does one comfort a young girl like that? By laying your hands on her shoulders and praying that in the midst of life, she'll see Jesus, that He'll get her through this, that she'll hold on to Him as He holds on to her. And by giving her a safe hug, praying that she'll sense God's touch through my caring.

I wish I could do more, though.

1 comment:

  1. Adele,
    Thank you for this post-it gives those of us stuck in bottleneck circumstances stateside an awesome view of full-participation worship! I loved the look into alternate worship and music styles. The Body of Christ is so rich and diverse! I would love our local churches to be open to this diversity. . .

    And the story of the little girl enslaved to her uncle's household really touched my heart. It happens in every country--our children carry the sins of adults on tiny shoulders...thank you for sharing this one with us!