Last Sunday at the Nyakembene church, Vivian talked me into
singing a duet with her. She wanted to share some music with the people—one
that she and I could sing together. The song of course was in English, and
there is no good way to translate the song as we sang it, so she asked Pastor
Vincent if he could translate the words into the local language of Ekegusii
before we began.
“You do not need to translate every word,” she told him, “Just so that the people know what the song is about.”
But Vincent does not do things in halves. He, along with his assistant pastor Moses, began by translating the title, followed by saying who the composer was and who wrote the lyrics. They then proceeded to translate every single word or every verse, as well as the chorus—the chorus not just once, but every time it is repeated between the stanzas.
By the time he reached the final chorus, instead of translating it, the two men simply began singing the chorus in English: “Bless the Lord O my soul, O—o my soul. Worship His holy name…”
The song was “10,000 Reasons,” and it turns out it was not a new song for the people at all. Since the two men knew the song, we asked them to sing with us, and by the time we reached the final chorus, half of the congregation was also singing with us.
This coming Sunday at the Matagaro church Vivian wants us to sing another song. I’m not sure what song she is choosing, but the other day when we were at the orphanage, we heard song leader Isaac playing the keyboard in the church building, so we walked over to see him. Vivian thought that it might be a good idea to go through a song with him so that perhaps he could play for us while we sang.
She sat down to the keyboard and began playing something, and soon about a half a dozen other boys came into the church, gathered around, and instantly a jam session began.
“Do you know how to play a praise song,” Isaac asked Vivian.
Well, we thought that they were all praise songs, but here they apparently make a distinction between praise songs and worshipsongs. Worship songs are the slower and meditative songs, and the praise songs…the praise songs are those songs that make you want to dance!
The boy Justus sat down to the key board, began playing a praise song, and immediately the half dozen boys began to keep time by moving their hands, their arms, and then their entire bodies.
“We praise you Lord,” Isaac sang out.
(Sorry that I cannot upload the videos)
“When we dance we praise you Lord!”
The boys then stooped down low and sang, “We go lowa (lower), lowa, we go lowa, lowa, lowa.”
Then as they began to stand, they sang, “We go higha (higher), higha, higha, higha, higha!”
The standing then becomes dancing as they step in rhythm, following the directions that
Isaac sings in the song.
At one point they begin jumping. “We jump and praise you Lord!”
One young man by the name of Hesborn jumps incredibly high. “I can jump this high,” he told me while holding his hand about head-height.
I have tried to explain before how joyful the worship services are here, but there is no way to explain it without having experienced it.
This Sunday we look forward to another at the Matagaro Church. It will be on our last day here in Kisii.
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