An American, a South African, 2 Swedes and 2 Danes walk into a church.

YMCA PMB has had a 400% increase in the number of interns it is hosting. Last week 2 Swedish girls and 2 Danish guys arrived. I’m happy to report they’re all sane, nice people. 

The change in the dynamic here has been substantial. In our short time together we have become a little global village. We have eaten together every night. It is a constant source of interest as we explore each other. 

Our first experience as a group was going to a student oriented church. It was an experience. We weren’t given any idea of what to expect before hand. But I’m hindsight we should have asked more questions.

The church was a 15 min. uphill walk from YMCA. We weren’t in our Sunday best but would have been accepted as business casual. As soon as we walked through the door of the church we realized we hadn’t prepared properly. As we walked into the dark sanctuary the music, which is probably best described as Jesus rave, and the multi colored strobes assaulted us. In contrast, the 5 people that just entered and completely changed the racial reason of the church received a very warm welcome. After finding out seats 4 rows from the back we sat in awed silence and we watched people dance at the front as if it was still Saturday night. 

Then Charlie the elder got up to start the service. He prayed and then regaled us with the tale of Stephen. In an emotional appeal he made it seem as though the Christan faith was under attack and nearing extinction. He asked us all if we would be stoned like Stephen for our faith. Sufficed to say it was intense. 

Then there were some praise songs and communion, consisting of grape soda and a communal matza cracker. We took communion and then retreated to our row. The praise music continued and started to become ravey again. The dancing began again and for a second we forgot we were in church and pretend to be at the club and ran to the front for some dancing. After, roughly 90 seconds we returned to our seats now sweaty. 

After, we returned to our original state of stunned silence as a young charasmatic youth leader began his sermon. We covered 4 different new testament verses espousing the virtues in denying the wants of the flesh. One fleshy indulgence is apparently the hit USA drama “suit’s”. He continued for 45 minutes. After 30 they began to try and play him off like Bette. He plowed on at sometimes breaking into “tongues”.

The music began again and they closed the service with an offer to lay hands on those interested while they prayed in tongues. We were mercifully realeased after a 1 hr 45 min service. 

As we began our 15 min down hill walk home, tired, sweaty, more or less disturbed we chose not to dwell on what we had just experienced only making vague comments like “that was interesting”. 

It was an experience. We probably won’t be likely to try and repeat it. 

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