It’s been almost two weeks since I went rode in a car. I miss my car. Well, I don’t really miss my 98 Toyota Avalon. But I miss singing to music with my brothers or by myself in my Avalon. I miss weaving in and out of cars while driving at illegal speeds down I-95. I miss cool summers night drives to nowhere on the back roads of Bucks County. I miss the half-haphazard Afro achieved by having my windows down.
So when I was picking a church to go to this morning it had to fulfill two conditions:
1. The service had to be less than 2 hours.
2. It had to be far enough that it required a car ride.
I know, I am so spiritual.
The pillar of Fire church met both requirements and it had a great name. I decided to go.
Today was rainy. And the roads in Liberia are all made of dirt. That makes for interesting driving conditions.
Let's just say the ride wasn’t smooth. And by not smooth I mean my already upset stomach almost became completely bedside itself due too the 45 minutes of continuous jousling, shaking, and general feeling of being tossed around. There were doubts as to whether we’d make the return journey.
We walked up the stairs of a run-down building to a surprisingly beautiful room. Not a nice room. But beautiful. There were several plastic chairs and some rickety benches. Three of the four walls were open spaces, perhaps windows where windows were meant to reside, and they allowed the beauty of the jungle terrain to be consumed from three sides. Lovely.
The floor was half tiled. The ceiling just had just a few speck of panels left. All the painting was chipped. There was a large wooden pulpit with a lace table-runner decorating it’s front. A banner with the church’s name hung on the back wall.
A humble décor. But décor is way overrated.
About nine Liberian people came to church this morning. It’s rainy season. People are scared to leave there homes when it’s raining, They have to walk to church. People with small children face the dilemma of bringing them along journey of leaving them at home. Neither is a very viable option.
I am adding “getting to church” to the list of things I take for granted.
The pastor arrived a bit late. All but a small patch of fabric by his right pocket was completely saturated with rain water. He had just walked for an hour in the rain to church.
You would never know by his sermon that he was preaching to a congregation of fifteen. His pulpit covered the eyes of his short stature when he stood behind it, so he stood next to it instead. He spoke with great passion and conviction. He spoke of the need for Liberians to have pure hearts before God. He spoke with such hope. He prayed for the needs of the people in the congregation. That they would have food and work. That their children would be able to go to school.
Food, work, school. I’ll add those to the list as well.
When the service ended I met a beautiful sixteen year old girl. She told me she went to school. I asked what she was studying. She listed several subjects. I stopped her when she mentioned literature. I love to read so I naturally inquired what her favorite books were.
“I don’t have any books to read.”
Barnes and Noble is one of my favorite places. It’s where I gravitate whenever I have un-owned time. Isles of book that can satisfy a curiosity, teach a new skill, or encourage an ravished imagination. I was so sad for her. No books to read. A true tragedy.
Add books to the list.
The church has property to build I new church. It needs to be built because apparently some unhappy things occurred in the current building during the war. A sad reminder of how fresh the sadness is here. And how deep the wounds must go.