Friday's excursion was a two-hour voyage to Bigombo parish for the induction of new members of the Mothers' Union. Half the drive was along paved road, and the second half was on a very narrow and bumpy dirt road which wound its way along the edge of hills, past villages and across a valley.
|Some of the welcome party|
When we arrive were astonished! Our way was blocked about 200 m from our destination by an enormous greeting party. They sprinkled flower petals on the car and sang and danced and blew whistles and horns. Eventually the group parted just enough to let us through to the church.
As at Kirundo, we were immediately swarmed and greeted as we stepped out of the car, and escorted to the pastor's house to change into our vestments. Again the singing continued while we got ready. Finally we made our way in procession to the church.
|Time to Worship!|
At least six different choirs sang and danced through the service, including one made up of Mothers' Union members, and a children's choir.
|Mothers' Union Choir|
The highlight of the service was the official presentation and induction of some 57 new members of the Mothers' Union. This group of women across the diocese does some amazing mission work, supporting the life and work of the church, and reaching out into the community with a variety of development projects.
|Induction of new Mothers' Union member|
After communion, the Mothers' Union members showed us some of the fruits of their labour. Literally! (We were told the bunches of bananas weighed about 40 or 50 kg. This is the normal way of transporting bananas.)
The service over, we processed back to the pastor's house where we enjoyed a delicious meal of chicken, goat, rice, peas, bananas and cabbage.
After the meal, a few brief speeches were offered, expressing joy and hope for our diocesan partnership. The Archdeacon told us that we were just the second foreigners ever to visit his parish. He also asked us to tell the people of the Diocese of Edmonton that the people of Bigombo are praying for us.
Finally we made our farewells and got back in the car for the journey home, tired but inspired.