June 15, 2009

We're In A Movie Set

When Jovana came to our home last year, we asked her about some of the things she'd like to do while in the United States. One of the things she told us she'd like to do is visit one of those churches where black people sing gospel music. Tymon looked up churches in Seattle but couldn't find one. (If you know of one, please let us know.) We had no idea that we'd be able to accommodate her wish until last week. Jovana and I are in Birmingham, Alabama this week for the US National competition for Speech and Debate. Jovana is performing her dramatic interpretation of "Voices of Chernobyl."

We flew out on Saturday morning and nearly everything that could go wrong with the high school team's travel did go wrong. Our flight was cancelled. We weren't re-booked for almost 3 hours and then it took another hour to fly out. We couldn't get a flight into our desired city (Atlanta) because of severe weather and so we went to Nashville. Not all of our luggage got put on the same flight.Our rental cars were double and then triple the original price quote. Tymon (at home) tried to help us book a car, but you have to do that at least an hour in advance online. Um, yeah, so the coach finally got it worked out with the company after the rental car guy saw me going to talk to another company to see what they could do for us. It was after midnight when we began our 3 hour drive to Birmingham. Hellish, really. The girls in my car kept me awake to drive. I really wanted to sleep, though. Bottom line, we got to sleep Sunday morning at 4 am.

Devout as we are, Jovana and I got up at 8am and were out of the motel by 8:30 and on our way to the Birmingham ward's 9am service. We then planned to go to the 16th Street Baptist Church, which was bombed in 1963 and 4 girls died. We were hoping that since this church was used for meetings in the Civil Rights era that maybe it's be full of gospel singing black people. A great lady at our church confirmed that yes, there are great choirs at the Baptist church and that there was another one called the Hopewell Church that was good, too.
Imagine our delight when we entered here and found a pre-meeting sing along in progress! As we got closer and closer to starting time and the sanctuary began to fill, the atmosphere came more and more animated. We were singing our hearts out and clapping our hands. Jovana commented to me, "It's like we're in a movie set!" They have truly amazing vocals and great song leaders. It really is such a big difference from our church meetings. What I really liked was how responsive the audience was. They were loving it and participating. You could just tell that they were paying attention.

We were pleasantly surprised to see on the program that there would be a guest Reverend give the sermon...it just happened to be Rev. Timothy Woods, Sr from the Hopewell church. How perfect. We were told about two churches and we were going to get a taste of both of them. The sermon was about Joseph and the coat of many colors. It had some great messages and points that I'd never thought of before. The Reverend related them to each of our lives and really pulled us in. I found a YouTube sermon of his on Daniel if you'd like to get a taste for his style.
All in all, we had a great time, even though we were really tired. And though, I won't be changing my congregation, it certainly was nice to visit another church and participate in their style of worship. We can certainly learn from each other.

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