So after a long search around Lusaka, which was quite informative about church life around here, we've decided on a church: Rivers of Joy. It is located in Nyumba Yanga (my house) compound across town from us. It is kinda far from where we live but we've decided it is worth the drive each week. We attended Sunday morning and I felt confirmed again that we are making the right choice. Perhaps when we move out to Ciyanjano we will find ourselves re-thinking it but so far so good. The preaching is solid Biblical teaching and the pastor obviously is gifted by God for this purpose. His wife is actively involved in the ministry.
Other reasons we chose this church... well. Around here it seems like you are either a Baptist or a Pentecostal. Sure there are other denominations but it seems like the Christian population here is either all about the Word OR all about the Spirit and there seems to be not a lot of middle ground. Well, in my humble opinion (this is Tricia by the way) a sincere Christian that is following the Lord should be all about the WORD of truth from the Bible AND all about the Holy Spirit. Walking with Jesus means relationship with God through him as the living Word, through the written revelation of the Bible, and through relationship with the Holy Spirit who lives in us and counsels us. I don't claim to have a deep understanding of all of this, but Rivers of Joy fellowship is one church we attended that we felt reflected this more comprehensive approach to worship.
Also the church runs a ministry to street boys which is located out by Ciyanjano. It is such an awesome ministry and we want to belong to a church that is actively serving the Lord in the community.
Another positive for us is that this is a Zambian church. We don't want to go to a church made up of just Americans and other expats. We love attending a church that is run by Zambians for Zambians. However, there are a couple American families that attend there which is nice for us because the congregation is already used to m'zungus and so, we are nothing special which is good.
Also, the praise and worship time is very Zambian. Praise the Lord! I didn't move to Africa with the intention of singing only high-pitched hymns. I want to shake my booty for the Lord. I love the spirit of worship here and Rivers of Joy, as the name suggests, has lively and heart-felt worship in Zambian style. I know there are quiet ways to worship Jesus but I love a church that can hoot, holler and dance for the Lord. Um, yesterday the youth and the street kids performed two raps they prepared for the congregation. I'm not kidding, it was amazing. I actually started crying seeing those little boys off the street very aptly rapping about Jesus. Yes I really am that way. But I gotta tell you, it is very moving to see these kids praising God in a way that means something to them.
I could go on but that is just to give you a bit of perspective of where we are at with church. We are ready to get settled into a church and eventually begin serving. There are a lot of opportunities to serve the children and youth in this church. And there are a lot of gorgeous Zambian brothers and sisters that we'd like to get to know. Thank you so much to those of you who have been praying for us about a church home. Please continue to pray as we become part of Rivers of Joy!!!