Mike McCfracken continues to report from the Central African Republic as part of a team of 7 there from Grace Church:
This morning started with a thunderstorm, which is very unusual during the dry season. We started our day worshiping as a team before heading out to Cattin for their church service. The rain had stopped by the time we reached the church. By the time church started there were over 300 people inside the mud brick building. This was a unique opportunity for our team to experience worship in another culture; no electricity or instruments (except the drums that were used for part of one song). The singing was beautiful, loud, and harmonious. Doug just walked by and said, with toothbrush in mouth, “It was like heaven”.
Pastor Laida has a heart to disciple the church family and reach out to orphans. He and his wife currently care for eight orphans in their home. The most emotional time for me on this trip so far was when our orphan children walked and sang through the main entrance of the church to the front of the building. They were singing in Sango, “I will never forget all that God has done for me, I will never forget all that He has done. After they were organized up front, they sang in English “Father I Adore You”. This was really special.
When Pastor Laida asked Barb Wooler to introduce our team to the congregation, he shared that our team traveling all the way to Bangui to visit them really shows him how much the church in Lititz cares.
John Kegarise did a great job bringing the message to the Cattin church (with Barb translating). He preached from Luke 15, the parable of the lost coin, and really connected. He stayed focused even through the distraction of a choir member adjusting her top to begin breast feeding. TIA (This Is Africa).
After the service our team greeted many in the church with a greeting and hand shake. The church honored our team with a delicious lunch which included a mixed vegetable salad, rice, fish, beef, and gozo leaf in peanut sauce. The pastor and his wife, Elizabeth the teacher and some of her helpers joined us in a small room in his house. After lunch our team was able to ask questions about the school. We learned that Elizabeth previously taught at a public school. Her response to our question “How do the children at the Cattin school compare to the children in public school” was “The Cattin students are at a higher level of learning”. This was very encouraging to us. We will visit the Cattin Hand-in-Hand partnership school on Wednesday.
The rest of the day was spent preparing for our trip up country to Bossangoa tomorrow (Monday). Tim Hock took John, Marlin, Matt, Joan and I for a brief dugout canoe ride on the Bangui River. We were on our own for dinner tonight, so Doug, Joan, and Miriam Pachico made the team pancakes and bacon. Thankfully they have a gas stove so when the power went out in the middle of cooking, Joan could finish while Doug held a flashlight. On a side note, don’t know if I mentioned this before, the power goes off at least once or twice a day which leaves us in the dark until Tim turns on the generator.
After dinner we had a team time / debrief session with the Hocks, Barb, and Miriam. These times have been beneficial as we share, ask questions, interact with the missionaries, and pray. Our team spirit and unity has been very high and the missionaries have made several positive comments about our team.
Thanks again for praying. I will be in touch when we return from Bossangoa. We will be up there Monday and Tuesday.
Blessed in Bangui, for the team,