I have a love/hate relationship with going to church here. I have since the first time I went 5 years ago. I love going to church because I love worshiping Jesus. I also love worshiping Jesus with other people who love Jesus and who love worshiping Him. Also, I love that they worship Jesus differently here, so that's fun to get to be apart of.
There are a few reasons that I get a little sick to my stomach before I go to church each week.
#1. I am tall. I have come to realize that the Salonean people are slightly shorter in stature and therefore when I am standing in a big group (like at church), I stick out a bit. Not a ton, but enough to give me a good view no matter where I'm standing. I've always been a little insecure about my "tallness" so....strike one.
#2. I am white. I am the only white person who goes to my church. That, by definition makes me stand out anywhere I go here. Mothers hide your children, Tall, White Girl is here! (And actually, no need to hide them because any child under the age of about 4 starts screaming when I make eye contact). They hide themselves.
#3. When God made me and was deciding what to give me, he left the bottle of "rhythm and ability to dance" on the counter. I just don't have it. (My Aunt Randi has the video to prove this and likes to torture me by showing it over, and over! Yes. Called you out Aunt Randi!). Well, these Saloneans LOVE to dance at church!! My strategy is usually to find a kid to pick up so I can just kind of sway....but no kids at this church will come to me!! Awkward.
#4. I speak English, not Krio. Now don't get me wrong, I really think my Krio is improving. However, this church loves their loudspeaker so the words are BLARING. Also, it's being translated from Krio to Limba (another language in the area) and a lot of the time the Limba guy starts translating before the Krio guy finishes his sentence. And this is done at very high decibels through the microphone. It's a little harder to follow that way. So I end up nodding and smiling and pretending like I have a clue what's going on around me.
So those are the primary reasons why, while I really do love going to church here, I get a little bit nauseated right before I go in. Well this past week at church was a special occasion. The whole service was led by the kiddos! It was so fun! They led all the singing, performed as skit (I understood about 1/5 of it) and one of the guys gave the message. They were also trying to raise money so they had a little fundraiser thing where 4 different kids did a little speech about why a certain thing was important. Ex. one kid talked about the importance of water, one health, one education, etc. At the end of each speech, there would be a little bucket and people would dance their money up to the bucket.
At the end of the speeches, the pastor got up and was talking. All of the sudden I heard blah blah blah Emily will dress the winner blah blah blah. Wait what??? My head flew around to find someone to tell me if I really did just hear my name up there and what the heck am I supposed to do???
Yup, that was my name alright. Apparently, after they counted the money, the one who raised the most would be declared the winner and I was supposed to go up and "dress them." They told me they'd help me do it. Oh crap. Can I say that here?? This was not helping me to blend in!
So I sat there waiting for them to tell me to go up. When they told me to, I went up to the front. I just stood there. Not a clue. Some music started playing and the winner started dancing. Dang it. Dancing. Other people came up and started dancing around her. Great. Dancing....and I'm in front of the whole church! I've had nightmares that were very similar to this scenario.
Anyway, I did my best to sway a little to the music, put the little ribbon around the winner's neck, smiled awkwardly for a few photos and fled back to my seat. I'm pretty sure they regretted calling me up there.
The next day I met someone new and he said, "Yes, I saw you at church. You were not sure what to do. You were looking around a lot." I have GOT to learn how to dance!!!