Yesterday was a game changer. For the first time, I felt deep inside me, the desire to adopt a child. As I walked up to church with our group, Jess was holding the hand of one of the girls. As we exited out the entry gate she grabbed my hand as well. We continued to walk up the road towards the church, everyone relaxed and ready for the experience of visiting a church rooted in another culture. We began to swing our arms together and we did that very typical move of picking up the child while swinging. The girl enjoyed it and proceeded to swing with us and at one point looked up at me and was there that a seed was planted in my heart. Now I’ve been to orphanages before, but they were for children with severe to moderate dissabilities. But with that type of orphanage you just do your best to give the kids a good time and make their passing through this world as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Plus, I was a teenager, too young to think about the serious decision of supporting a child. It is different here. There is still something more that can be done, by providing them a forever family. Now don’t worry, I’m not bringing a child home with me. But I do feel the Lord’s prompting in adopting a child in our future. Jess and I have always talked about it, but this is the first time that we have been so close to the idea, so close to the reality of it. It just feels so right to say that Jess and I will one day adopt a child. I already know that leaving Friday morning will rank as one of the most emotional times in my life.
As we arrived at the church, just a couple minutes walk from Rehoboth, we were greeted by some of the people that we had met over the last few days and the pastor, who also happens to be our electrician on the project. We lingered for a while in the entryway, taking in the building. Decent size, lawn chairs set up in the forward half of the space, a simple stage with a podium, guitar, drums, some mics, an overhead and two speakers. We were told prior to the service that there might be some songs in English for us to sing, but the sermon would most likely be done in Tagalog. We went in and sat down, letting the girl with us decide where to sit. A few minutes before the service started, the leadership team for the church prayed over the service at the back. Marjorie, their worship leader, went up on stage with their guitar player and another vocalist and the music began. The guitar cut in and out, the road was regularly filled with the roar of trucks, trikes and other noises, but the open air sanctuary was filled with a peace beyond understanding. As she lead us into worship, all of which was in English, we were all touched by the Holy Spirit, a feeling unexplainable and awesome. As the worship time closed, we were all left in ruin of what had happened. I glanced around the room and saw what I had felt. We had traveled around the world and felt and experienced true worship in an incredibly real way.
My face had just been slapped, not physically, but spiritually. As most of you know, I lead worship on a semi-regular basis at New Hope and God decided to use this opportunity to teach me something. It felt like God was saying “Brent, see what worship is, I am here, I love you, I have given you so much blessing in your life.” I felt so vain, thinking back on my worship leading experiences, thinking about my in-ear monitor level, the misspellings on the projection slides. I was then brought back to the moment when the pastor stepped up. I know that he was timid about his English speaking ability, but he prepared his sermon in both Tagalog and English. Though his English was a little rough at times, his message shone through. You can read Jess’s post if you want a synopsis of the message. The morning of worship and got us prepared for the rest of an amazing day, and I will post more on that later!