Preaching to the Congolese Church in Charlotte

I have a cross-cultural heart.

Ever since I was a small boy I loved to be around people of other ethnicities. I grew up with twenty-eight tribes of American Indians so my earliest playmates were Anadarkos, Pawnees, Cheyenne and Black Foot. By the time I was fourteen, and I still have the letter in a drawer, I had volunteered as a missionary to Africa. 

I was asked to fill the Pulpit for the pastor who had a stroke in the spring of this year. So on Sunday morning off we went to Charlotte and north of the city center where we arrived at this rather small church on a side street. Like most African churches anywhere in the world, meeting doesn’t really start by the hands on the clock but when the people get there. I remember that most people in the world have time while we in North America have wrist watches.

      In the end there were about fifty or more in the building and a small room filled with the cutest kids I’ve ever seen. We had a terrific time worshipping with and Konga Line dancing. I danced while Jeanne did elbow bumps and high-fives with the Pastor’s wife. We arrived precisely on time at 10:30 but didn’t stumble out of the door until 1:20.

Luke and Dawn Mann come for a visit

Photo credit goes to Jacob Haley, grandson

Saturday afternoon long-awaited guests arrived at the Haley’s. John and Amy had just moved into their new home in Rock Hill and welcomed the Mann’s from Vermont, Connecticut, Thailand, Italy and Minnesota. I say it in this way because they have had no real resting place for nearly twenty years or more and have pretty much lived wherever and however they can for the sake of the gospel. Luke and Dawn finally gave up on getting official visas to Italy and came home until they can figure out a new strategy. During this period Luke developed some rather serious health issues and they have spent the year trying to figure it all out and find a cure. Turns out it is more like Lyme Disease than anything else but they have no clear diagnosis or remedy. At any rate, Luke says he is feeling better for the time being and they are attempting to figure out their next step for ministry in Italy. You can read more about them with lots of pictures by going here  and then scrolling back on the blog entries to Citta di Castello. Anyhow it was all rather good to see them again and we celebrated by making some risotto, salmon, Caesar salad and apple crisp. They are off now to the northeast to visit old friends, supporters and church family.