Barry and Stacy Rosie
June 7, 1986
Fraley's Chapel Church of Christ
c/o Jim Brown
Rt. # 8 Box 320
Corinth, Mississippi 38834
Dear fellow workers in Christ,
Rejoice with us! Three were baptized this month in the Macalder area. This marks the beginning of the Godkwach Church of Christ. With your continued prayers, this new babe in Christ will grow and mature. Barry and I return there tomorrow for our first Sunday worship together. We are very thankful for these new Christians, and very uplifted and encouraged by their attitudes.
Speaking of Sundays, we thought you would be interested to learn how we spend our Sundays with the Christians in South Nyanza. We usually leave the house between 7:30-8:00 a.m. each Sunday and are on our way, over the bumpy roads to any one of the 31 congregations in South Nyanza. Depending on where we go, the trip could take only 45 minutes to 1 hour, or it could take 3- hours. Each Sunday we carry a jug of boiled water and a gift of tea, sugar and bread for the family who feeds us. Often times, they only get bread when we bring it or for special occasions.
When we arrive, we go directly to the house in which the Christians meet, or we go to their church building, if they are fortunate enough to have built one. Church buildings here are made of mud and thatch just as our mud house in Winyo was. Men sit on one side of the building, women on the other. The men usually sit on chairs with backs. The women on backless benches or on reed mats. Children sit with the women. Before we sit down, we must shake everyone's hand.
Services begin when everyone gets there. Sometimes we wait only a few minutes, but more often we wait for an hour or two. Usually, I am already tired when service begins. There is singing and prayer much like worship in the States only in Luo, of course, and then preaching begins. These men love to preach! Usually there are as many as four preachers, and on one occasion we heard six. And ..., they are not your basic 3 point, 20-minute sermons. Some preach for over an hour'. I am constantly amazed at how these people love to hear the Word. After preaching we take the Lords Supper and have collection, and then it is time for general greetings. Greetings are a very important part of Luo culture. Visitors are introduced and given an opportunity to say a few words, and generally, the people just show each other how happy they are to be together. Another round of handshakes, and this time, usually more vigorously. Now, it is anywhere from 3-4 p.m. and my back is killing me.
Hospitality time.' If greetings are the most important part of Luo culture, hospitality is second. We are taken to the home (mud and thatch) of one of the Christians and are seated until they prepare a meal for us. Another wait of an hour or so, but often times productive with individual study. The meal consists of chicken and kuon (a very stiff cornmeal mush). I still brace myself when the chicken comes because Luos serve the whole chicken, head and feet included. There is no silverware. We eat with our fingers. Luos
do not eat chicken everyday. They usually only have enough to serve to visitors. They are very hospitable people. Chicken and kuon is followed by a course of tea and bread or rabuon (sweet potato), broiled and served whole. Women serve the meal and eat separately from the men, but they are always careful to seat me beside Barry,
(I haven't figured out why, yet.) After the meal, all gather together for a song, and then we are released with a prayer. By now
it is beginning to get dark and we usually have a long ride home.
We are both very very tired physically, but almost always spiritually uplifted.
This last Sunday, we were visiting a congregation that was new to us and had no directions. We only knew the general area. As we traveled down a 25-mile stretch of dirt road, having no idea just exactly where the church was located, we got a flat tire. As we were changing the tire a man came by to ask us if we needed help. We told him who we were looking for, and he said, "Oh.' He lives right over there." Our tire went flat just a few hundred yards from the church. Is that Providence?
We are fine and looking forward to the Barr’s return. Hope you are all well too. We pray daily for your work in the States.
In Christian Love,
Barry and Stacy