We attended Watoto North church. The Watoto church is a large church that split years ago because it was growing so fast. There are now at least 5 Watoto church sites. Our hostess, Linda, attends the North site and offered to bring us with her. After nine years they still meet under a large tent, although they have done an amazing job of setting it up so that it looks permanent, complete with concrete barriers all around for structure and support. They are in the process of finishing off a permanent structure and have a building program to pay this off as they go.
The service opened with 30 minutes of praise and worship music led by an amazing worship team of 10 men and women, complete with drums, keyboards and electric guitars. They were "backed up" by a 30 voice choir all dressed smartly in very vibrant coordinated outfits. You could not help but feel the presence of the Holy Spirit move among these people and it was amazing to be a part of.
After the singing there was 20 minutes of open, congregational prayer. The prayer leader addressed the congregation with a very moving call to pray for their nation (what a concept!) and the upcoming elections, that Godly men and women would heed the call to run for political office and that Uganda would be known as a country that glorifies God. She would then ask the congregation to pray for these things and all at once everyone began to pray openly and out loud (imagine that...praying OUT LOUD!) for the things that she had mentioned. She would close out that prayer and then she would lead them in another cooperate prayer, this time about focusing on asking God to forgive us of our sins and to repent of anything that was holding us back from truly serving Him and allowing Him to be used in our lives.
This was followed by 20 minutes of announcements about births in the church, illnesses and operations, cell group opportunities and a baby dedication.
The pastor then preached a 45 minute sermon on Revelation 2:1-7; John's message to the Church at Ephesus. It was a very moving message and he applied it to the church today and how the message is the same for us today: we must run this race of life with endurance and turn back to our first love or there will be a consequence...He will take away our ability to be a light for Him.
Now, if you were paying attention and added correctly you will see that this was nearly a 2 hour church service! As we were leaving, the next service was pouring in and the praise and worship team was starting up their worship yet again for the 2nd of 3 services each Sunday! Linda says that the 2nd and 3rd services are so full that they overflow outside the tent!
Needless to say, I am very glad that we got up for church this morning. It was a tremendous blessing and a great reminder that the God who loves me enough to send His son to die for me, is not going to leave me nor forsake me now (or ever!) I desperately needed that reminder as we go into this week of so many uncertainties. We may not know the details and how they will all play out but the God of the universe already knows and He is in control of it all. Amen!