Hundreds Came Into the Faith Today!
One of the countless blessings that we've received as foreign missionaries is seeing the Gospel come alive. Miracles of healing, deliverance, conversion, and multiplication have occurred right before our eyes. We experience real protection from seemingly tangible forces of evil and feel privileged to be able to bring the Good News to the poor.
Despite the many incredible things that we've seen, before last week we could only imagine what it would be like for hundreds or thousands of people to come into the faith all at once, like Luke describes in the Acts of the Apostles.
On Sunday, September 15th, the Holy Spirit descended upon the village of Mikinduri, Kenya in a powerful way as Bishop Salesius Mugambi confirmed hundreds at St. Massimo Catholic Church.
|Do you see Anna on the far right? |
She's the tall white girl with the awesome weave!
After the beautiful procession, the bishop began Holy Mass.
In an attempt to meet everyone's needs, the bishop alternated between the local dialect of Kimeru, Swahili for those visiting from other tribes, and English for us foreigners. As you can imagine, this added a significant amount of time to the already long service.
When the time arrived for the kids to be confirmed the bishop seemed unphased by the blazing hot sun or the 600+ kids waiting their turns. He talked with each person as if s/he was the only one being confirmed that day. He prayerfully laid his hands upon them as he prayed, anointed them with holy chrism, gently slapped their faces to symbolize the potential persecution that they may face as Christians, and then congratulated them on the completion of their sacramental initiation.
As one group of 50 kids were presented to the bishop, another group of 50 quietly gathered in the staging area.
It was beautiful to see the joy that people felt on this extra special day.
As they watched the bishop slowly move from one person to the next, the people sang along with the choir, clapped their hands, tapped their feet, and danced if the Spirit inspired them to do so.
I couldn't stop crying. Looking around I knew that there were thousands of people in attendance and was amazed at how present the Holy Spirit was in that place. (I later learned there were over 3,500 people there - WOW!)
Reflecting on the events described in the Acts of the Apostles I know that what we witnessed was just a glimpse of what Jesus' disciples experienced in the early days of the Church when thousands "were added to their numbers" on any given day; however, I am so grateful for that glimpse!!
As I was dancing and clapping along I glanced over and saw Michael asleep on the arm of the chair. Apparently, he wasn't experiencing the same type of euphoria as I was!
After 5 hours the formal ceremony ended, but the festivities did not.
The family members of the confirmandees lined up to present the bishop with their gifts: goats, chickens, bags of rice and beans, etc..
During this same time all of the attendees were invited to enjoy a simple meal of rice, beans and ugali. As they ate, they visited with one another and seemed to just be soaking up the love in the air.
He assured us that there is no rush and encouraged us to take our time getting acclimated. It was such a blessed encounter!!
We thank God for the excitement that we feel to be here in Kenya and for the tremendous support of Team Carmody, which made this new mission possible. We humbly ask for continued prayers as we head back to Nairobi to complete our language instruction.
God bless you!
Thank you and God Bless!