Looking forward to our first full day in Kigali, we questioned — perhaps even dreaded — one item on our schedule. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to go to church on Sunday. We just wondered if we would be in any shape to survive the projected 4-hour service with somewhat serious jet-lag. Hallelujah! God had other plans.
As we were escorted to the front pews — actually plastic lawn chairs — on the front rows of the Itorero Methodist Church, we became fairly positive that nothing about this service was going to make us sleepy. (That thought proved optimistic by the time we got to the visiting preacher’s sermon, however.)
Full of energy, we were treated to a kids’ choir, a young peoples’ choir, and the main, serious-dressed choir. And the kids and our new friends blessed us with praise and volume. We even had a guest appearance by a famous Rwandan Gospel singer, whose name escapes me at this time. A number of personal translators came to our sides. We heard announcements, were greeted warmly as visitors, saw 2 new members embraced into the fellowship of this church, heard more and more songs.
And we learned about “Hallelujah!”
“Hallelujah!” a speaker would call out and the audience would answer with “Hallelujah!” and “Amen!” It became our rally cry as well.
Invigorated from our time inside the cavernous church building — with open screens to permit ventilation and open windows below — we made our way outside to be greeted by the congregants and, of course, the children.
And all we can say is, “Hallelujah!”