Travel with Me to Kenya!
Rev. Crystal Schmalz
In the past year, I have been invited to speak at a local Kenyan church in my community three times. Each time it has been a blessing and an honor to speak to God’s people!
When I was a teenager, I always wanted to be a missionary. I thought the Lord would send me to a faraway country, and I would become a missionary in a country outside of the United States. Well, guess what? God has sent me to be a missionary right here in my community. With globalization, several countries, nations, people, and cultures are mixing together. It is wonderful. The diversity is refreshing.
This past Sunday I spoke at the Kenyan church. It was a fascinating experience. Kenyan culture and U.S. culture can be very different and similar. The service began a little late, and people arrived on their time. The service began with prayer and singing. The people were invited into the presence of God, and the people were challenged to worship with their whole hearts. The songs were sung in Swahili, and another language other than English. Members of the congregation clapped their hands, sang, and worshiped God. There were three women who led the song service and one man on the drums. There was no piano music or soundtrack music. The importance of the musical portion of the worship service was not placed on perfection of sound or arrangement. The importance was placed on the community coming together and singing, regardless of pitch, key, and tone. I believe music is important, but music which excludes people from participating is not serving its purpose.
The songs continued on, and different prayers were spoken. The female leader prayed with fervency and anointing, and encouraged the congregation to respond in like manner. More songs were song, and different groups of singers came to the front. The children were invited to sing a song in front, and then were prayed for by the congregation. The youth were invited to sing a song in the front. Different small groups were invited to sing a song. A financial report for the year was given by a member of the congregation. The pastor of the church said a few words about the previous year, and about some of the joys and challenges which the church had encountered. Then the pastor invited me to come and bring the message to the people.
I went to the pulpit, and asked my husband to say a few words of testimony to the congregation. I began my message, and thanked the congregation and pastor for allowing me to speak to them. I spoke to the congregation from my sermon book. I outlined my sermon, but I added remarks here and there when I felt the Spirit move upon me to do so. I could see the Word of God in the eyes of the people. I could feel the connection between myself as the preacher and servant of the Word, and the people who were receiving the Word. I could feel the encouragement, the love of God, and the peace. The response for the word in this service was not an altar call, but the response was for the people to meditate on the Word and be changed, transformed, and challenged throughout the week.
It was a wonderful experience. I feel honored to be a missionary in my local community. I feel honored to serve the church by preach the Word of God. I loved to see the children and how they were being valued in the service. I loved to see the spirit of Unity. I loved to see the diversity. It was refreshing to hear songs in another language. I imagine this is what heaven will be like. I cannot imagine a heavenly service in only one language, one style, or one fashion of a service. Diversity is good; the church of today should embrace it. If we do not embrace diversity, we become exclusive rather than inclusive. The church should strive for inclusivity and diversity.
You do not have to travel to a land outside of the country to be a missionary. You can be a missionary in your local community. There are opportunities for you to minister and serve right where you are planted.
We ended the service by going downstairs and having some tea and bread. It is a tradition which comes from Kenya to have tea mixed with milk, and a biscuit to go with it. I enjoyed this experience. I always prayed for God to send me, and for God to use me. This is an example of God sending someone on mission’s work right in their local community.
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