Sunday, July 11, 2010

“River Baptism”

On Sunday morning, the Maasai began gathering for church. The year before, when the first HEART team had traveled to Mosiro, the new pastor there started a confirmation class. That Sunday was to be their confirmation followed by baptism in the river.
A wizened ancient Maasai woman (certainly not more than sixty years old) seemed to be the leader in song. We couldn’t understand a word they said, but they sang easily for an hour, standing together under the tree where we had held health education seminars the day before. Finally they let Dave Bell speak. When he was finished, their pastor preached for an hour.

It was a wonderful experience, something everyone in America should sit through, after they have been watching their watch during their own pastor’s sermon on Sunday morning. If there is anything I wish I had been able to take home with me it would have to be the incredible patience of the Maasai. Except that I don’t know if it is really patience; it is more the total feeling of being at ease with the way in which they live their lives.

After a ceremony during which the confirmands recited their statements of belief, everyone tromped down to the river for the baptism. All the new church members got to take a dunk in the muddy river. It was actually pretty moving and for a change, the Maasai moved right along and all 40 men, women, children and babies were baptized in what felt like only a few minutes.

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