Saturdays for the Christ Kiswahili Lutheran Mission are typically spent with outreach efforts for refugees such as ESL classes and after-school tutoring for the children, women’s programs such as sewing and health education, and soccer practice for young adult males.
When we (24 members of Messiah Lutheran Church) arrived at Christ Lutheran Church in Nashville on Saturday, March 25th, where Christ Kiswahili worships, the soccer players were already gathering. We had been invited to a breakfast meeting with the Saturday program leaders who appeared shortly after our arrival. As we ate fruit, cakes, and mandazi (Swahili donuts), we planned the day’s activities.
Generous church members brought a U-haul full of household items. Most of the men loaded up to make deliveries before the expected rain. Severe storms were in the forecast, but Pr Esther Ngomuo, Pastor of the Christ Kiswahili Lutheran Mission, reminded us that God is bigger than storms. The rain held off until our drive home. Beds, dressers, tools, tables, and personal care kits found their new homes
Two vanloads of children arrived about 10 am. Brittany led us all in a game of introductions called “Boom Chicka Boom.” The children were asked to declare in English their names, origin, and favorite food. They were so shy, but did a great job. Many of them are from Congo and love bananas.
After the game, we divided into three groups. Together we enjoyed each other’s company through music with colored handbells, fingerpainting, and a Jesus Loves Me craft. The facility echoed with a joyful noise and time seemed to fly by. Elaine Shriver found a quiet corner to hold a knitting class using knitting kits she had preassembled. The women and several older girls were “hooked.”
Once the men returned, everyone gathered for pizza. Two slices each, three for the soccer players!
When the children left for home, Pr Esther called us together around the table to talk about our friendship. She educated us about the struggles many families are facing. With refugee relief centers closing, they are especially thankful for our friendship and support. More time together, especially the youth, is being explored.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bonus Video – Sue Hofer leads children in a line dance.