What do you carry with you when you go to church? Perhaps you carry your Bible and Sabbath School quarterly. In some parts of the world you would also bring your hymnal. But here in Papua New Guinea, that is just the start. Many of our members also bring umbrellas, water bottles and chairs. David and I further add a sound system and microphone in a backpack. We carry all of these items down a steep hill to our church and back up every Sabbath.
Our previous church was blown down by a storm, so we now meet in the partially finished new church whose roof isn’t complete.
At a recent Friday-afternoon vespers, we hadn’t been in church very long before a cold wind began to blow. We appreciated the refreshing coolness, but as we looked up through the open space above our heads, we noticed that the sky was turning black with storm clouds. We were singing a hymn when big drops of rain began to fall. Nearly everyone moved to the sides where the roof was partially in place. Someone had opening prayer, but we couldn’t hear a word they said over the clatter of rain. The wind and rain increased in intensity, drowning out the voices of the vespers leaders as they vainly tried to proceed. In the meantime, everyone was getting soaked to the skin, and our Bibles were getting saturated. I looked around and saw one lady moving her hands through her hair as if she was shampooing it. I have never seen someone washing their hair in church, I thought to myself.
David had a two-minute lesson about praying for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit. Then we prayed and sang for the showers of blessings to come to each member’s heart, ended vespers early and went home. Our hearts echoed Psalm 122:1: “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord.”