Sunday, February 11, 2007
The 31st good thing about Lagos: Another Sunday of worship.
I don't expect to do a Sunday church report each week, but I keep thinking of things that may interest you about church here. The keyboard was up and ready for me when we got to church today. But when I went to my seat after the sacrament, I turned it off to save energy and when I returned for the closing song, I turned it on, but it wouldn't go to the right setting or play, so the chorister went ahead and started the hymn without me. The ward music chairman came up and, by switching it on and off several times, was able to get it set right and he wanted me to charge right in and start playing, but I thought that would be a bit disconcerting when the congregation was singing in another key, so I just sat that one out. Next week, I won't turn it off!
After our meetings last week there was a baptismal service. We didn't stay for it, but it turns out that 8 converts were baptized, so we had 8 confirmations today -- that took a good share of the meeting! I can't remember ever being in a meeting where 8 people were confirmed. Nigerian names are so long and confusing. Many of them have kind of an English name they go by, but their last names generally have lots of syllables. I don't know how I'll ever get them straight.
Something else that is different here -- when people speak in church, they greet the congregation with a "good morning, brothers and sisters" and then the congregation always responds aloud with a "good morning" in return. It's kind of nice.
I was brazen and took a couple of pictures right after Relief Society. I think when I blogged about going to church here last summer, I mentioned the blue tablecloth with the RS motto and the blue vase of flowers. It's still there every week. The Relief Society Presidency sits behind it during the meeting, and I really wanted to take the picture when they were there because they looked so beautiful with their African dress and all holding their babies with heads full of bright barrettes. These African women are so beautiful! Some wear Western dress but I think a majority of the women wear African dress. This part of the room pictured is not all the seating. There's a row to the side (where I'm seated) along the windows. I like to sit there because there's more of a breeze and also more leg room. Just about every chair was filled today.
After church I gave my first piano lesson to two young men. The ward had previously paid for them to take piano lessons, but the money for that ran out. They were pleased when I mentioned that I would enjoy giving lessons to whoever would like to learn. The boys already have a good start and are eager to learn. They are polite and respectful. The only difficulty will be that the only access to a keyboard for them will be at the church, so their practice time will be limited. One of the adult women also came up, saying she would like to learn. She's a beginner, so I'll probably teach her separately. I'll take a picture of my students for you another day.
More good things: it wasn't as oppressively hot at church today; I made it through church without having to make use of the rest room facilities (something I've been told to avoid at all costs!); next week is Stake Conference -- that was such a neat experience last summer, so I'm really looking forward to having that experience again.