Monday, November 24, 2014

When you don't know what to sing...

I have been in the position of "worship leader" for a few weeks shy of one year now. As I write that, I cringe a tiny bit. You see, I hoped one year of doing this would lead to great strides in my leading capabilities...or at least the ability to play an "F" chord properly. Yet, a year into this new calling and I have so much to learn - about playing guitar and singing, yes, but more so about how to truly "lead" a congregation of worshipperes.

My first Sunday leading/playing last December (2013).
I had to sit down because I wasn't sure I could play/sing/stand all at the same time! :)
Our last church had a Minister of Music who created the flow of the service, rehersed with musicians, wrote Calls to Worship, etc, but he did not sing or play an instrument in front of church. In fact, no one sang into a mic at church unless it was 'special music' during the offering- the musicians played and the congregation sang. It was liturgical. It worked. It allowed the congregations voice to be heard. There are elements of that I truly love and appreciate.

Now, I am upfront with a guitar and a mic, with other band members with me (thankfully!) and I'm also working behind the scenes planning out the musical aspect of the worship service. This is not an easy task.

Some weeks, the service comes together easily - there are songs that fit the theme of the message, we have a full worship team, everyone is healthy, at rehersal and on Sunday the sound equipment all works, we don't lose power and the songs work together beautifully.

Other weeks it's Thursday afternoon (rehersal that night) and I still don't have a single song chosen, I'm sick, I don't know who (if anyone?) is coming to worship rehersal, I don't know the theme for the sermon and the power is out. Again.

This week was looking to be a train smash (thanks to South Africa for that fun phrase). I haven't felt 100% in about 8 weeks, I knew of one person coming to rehersal but wasn't sure if the other 2 could come, I hadn't picked any songs yet, I didn't know the theme of the message and I was temped to just throw some songs together & hope for the best.

Instead, I asked the Lord for his guidance. And He was faithful to help me.

The songs came together and rehersal went well, despite the keyboard adaptor blowing up mid-prayer! I can't really say how it happened. I just started browsing my song folder again and slowly I picked ones that all fit the theme of God's love. I didn't realize how strong the theme was until Sunday morning was all said and done.

Without knowing our first song, one of our Pastors got up to read Psalm 118 to call us into worship:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.
Let Israel say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say:
    “His love endures forever.”

Our first song was "Forever"

"Give thanks to the Lord, our god and King, His Love endures forever"

The theme of God's love continued throughout our worship. It seemed as if God was weaving a beautiful tapestry together for the service, His love washing over us in incredible ways as we heard his word and sang songs of his great, unfailing, protecting, enduring love for us.

Our first Sunday at Mlimani Theater - October 12, 2014

I had many people who came up to me to tell me they appreciated and were ministered to through the music this morning. One of the youth group leaders told me that the the lesson for their group that morning tied in strongly with a few of the songs we sang. Another missionary who lives in the bush, but is in Dar for a few weeks said that she was so blessed to sing in her heart language, English, to songs that were so meaningful to her. A few others mentioned being ministered to through the service.

Most weeks I do not get any feedback about worship. Maybe a person here or there will encourage me or say they liked a new song. It's not common, and that's really okay. I'm not looking for the attention that could come with this very public role. I do appreciate it, as well as loving criticisms/corrections, but it's not something that I base how well I did my 'job' on.

The beauty of this morning is that not everything was perfect. I'm still struggling with a sore throat, coughing, stuffed up nose & blocked ears. Our team wasn't all there until about 10 mintues before the service started so we didn't get to run through our songs. The speakers were in & out during most of the service and the slides for a few of the songs were out of order.


God was present and pouring out his abundant love on us. His message was clear and loud and penetrating.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Christmas Cards

Friends -

We LOVE getting mail. It's a rare, rare occasion around here, so it becomes a big deal.

I just wanted to give you all our address, in case you don't know where to find it or never had it to begin with, in case, you know, you are thinking about maybe, possibly, sending us Christmas cards. :)

I've found that because our kids are so young, they are forgetting what friends back home look like. And as we pray for our friends, family, supporters back home, it's so great to have pictures to go along with names. We would love to cover our walls with pictures of you all!

Please send us your family Christmas card/letter!!!

C/O Driesenga
P.O. Box 70027
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

It takes a bit longer to get mail here, but know that even if we get your card in March, we'll still be so excited and grateful!