Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Dog, a Bag, and an Acrobatic Gecko


Besides the video I posted two nights ago, it has been quite awhile since I last posted on this blog.  This is not for lack of desire, but a result of technical difficulties and the ubiquitous busyness that seems to daily consume me.  Sigh!  But, moving onto much more interesting things, I want to tell you about the second church service that Eric and I attended that first Sunday on Yap. 
 
This Yapese service was held in the beautiful open-sided church that sits on the hill overlooking the lagoon in Colonia, Yap.  I found it interesting that many of the men stood on the outside of the half walls surrounding the church.  Perhaps they were not regular church attendees but had heard there was a guest preacher that day.  Or, sadly, like many in Micronesia, perhaps they felt ashamed and not worthy to fully enter the church.  Regardless of the reasoning, the church was primarily filled with women. 

Eric was the guest preacher and was to deliver the message in English (not that he had any other option!) and Pren, a church elder, would translate into Yapese. Eric’s message was preceded by a cappella singing complete with the rich harmonies I so love in Micronesian singing.  Shoes off, it was soon time for Eric to deliver his message.  After a rough

start developing a rhythm between messenger and translator, a pattern eventually evolved and the Word of God was being effectively shared. If you’ve ever sat through a talk being simultaneously translated, you know the translation part is a little tedious if you speak the language of the primary speaker.  Thus, during the translation part of the message, my eyes began to wander around the room.  Intrigued, I watched a drama unfold on the wall behind Eric’s head.  Scurrying out from behind the large cross attached to the wall, a baby gecko attempted to catch an insect, when suddenly, a much larger green lizard, bolted out from behind the church flowers and hungrily grabbed 

the gecko by the tail.  The unfortunate gecko valiantly attempted escape, but was securely held in the death grip of the lizard’s jaws. The gecko became utterly still, and the lizard chomped further up on its tail.  Still, the gecko did not budge.  Once again, the lizard opened its jaws to engulf more gecko tail when suddenly the gecko pushed off from the wall, doing an amazing and beautiful back flip in the air, and landed squarely in the center of the altar.  I had to stifle the giggles as this Animal Planet drama unfolded behind Eric and Pren who were completely oblivious.
 
At the conclusion of the sermon, Eric returned to his seat, where a dog meandered up and snuggled at his shoeless feet; a clear indication of his approval of the sermon.  

As we shifted to make room for the dog, the elders fumbled about looking for the offering plates.  Oops!  Somehow the offering plates were inaccessible, so quickly a plastic bag was found as a substitute.  Seriously, this was an ugly plastic bag—the type of bag that would contain a loaf of bread!  No one minded.  No one was concerned.  Could you imagine the uproar this would create in a typical American church?!  The Yapese parishioners simply broke out in beautiful harmony as the bread bag made its way around the sanctuary.  I had to smile and thank God for the no frills, refreshing simplicity of worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Yap Outer Islander Worship Service

I have had nothing but trouble trying to upload this video of the outer island church service (described in my previous post) directly onto this blog.  I have finally resorted to putting it on YouTube.  You will find the URL below: 

http://youtu.be/WVvoVew6cOE

In the video, you can hear the parishioners singing in their native tongue and you can see the beautiful handmade lavalavas (woven skirts) worn by the women.  Additionally, you will notice the backs of some of the women who continue in the native tradition of going topless.  This is seen far more often once you leave Colonia, the capital of the state of Yap, where this was filmed.