10 April 2014

Bamboo, Plumbing, and the Blood!

I'm not sure if missionaries ever have a boring week. I know I don't. This afternoon, as I prepared for our first practice with worship flags and streamers, I knew a blog post was in the making. I'm sure there must be a spiritual tie-in here somewhere. I'll let you know if I find it amongst the fraying pieces of fabric I can't throw out just yet.

Before I share this enlightening experience with you, please note that I am not a 'crafty' sort of person, nor am I particularly graceful in the dance, or with flags. I am, however, thankful for the prophetic word I received many years ago that the Lord would give me "creative and witty ideas" (Insert hysterical laughter here).

Wait. This requires another cup of coffee.

Okay. So, before I left the states my good friend Cricket, gave me all the proper items for making several worship flags. She has made some for me and I have them to use as a guide. The only things I lack are the wooden dowel rods and the material, which she has even written out for me what kind to get. 

I cannot fail.

Below you will discover ~
Worship flag (steamer, hoop and finger ring) making ~ Mozambique style: 

Your first endeavor is to find material, ribbon and craft glue (don't roll your eyes at me like that). While you are in the shop, lacerate your finger trying to salvage skinny bamboo from under the shelving (you are hoping to use this in place of dowel rods that cannot be found in the country). Next, plead, Missouri style, with the store owner to let you have the bamboo you have saved with your blood. Express great gratitude when he finally says you can have it.

Once home, recover. 

Then, cut material and pin seams in place, hug Zetu for locating a sewer who can sew a straighter line than most. Never mind that you forgot to tell him to have the sewer use thread the same color as the flag material. (It makes a nice trim, right?)

Discover the bamboo will not replace the dowel rods as it is not straight enough. Use your best knife to saw the bamboo into shorter sticks for use with streamers ~ JACKPOT! You realize if you cut the bamboo just right, you have a solid spot to place your little screw with the circle top, that you found at the grocery store, in the "Casa de banho" (bathroom) aisle. Attach a safety pin to a piece of ribbon and the ring on the screw (because no one here, or in Beira - a fishing port town, knows what a swivel hook is).

Victory number one has been obtained! 

Your friend brings you a wire circle, resembling what was once a wire coat hanger. (She's into this ~ making flags and getting not one, but two groups together to do a presentation for Easter (three weeks before) ~ it was her idea ~ and this piece of wire is her contribution.)

Wrap the wire in left over material because you didn't research how to make the hoop before you bought the ribbon. Make three tries at the ribbons on the hoop before discovering how to make it look nice. Again, not enough research and while it's a cute hoop, it's a bit anemic. 

Breathe deep, you have just accomplished task number two. No grades please. 

Finger hoops are awesome. But I had to use my own personal rings. (Makes me nervous, one of them I really don't want to lose!) Victory number three. Now for the flags. 

Deep sigh. 

The material has been cut and hemmed almost straight. Each pair of flags you were careful  to cut the same size, are close to the same size (sort of). You have been looking for weeks and have discovered: there is no such thing as a straight stick in Mozambique - of any size, let alone 1cm in diameter. But God is good and He has a sense of humor. 

Plumbing it is! 

Attach flag to a 22 mm piece of plastic pipe with, yes, the craft glue! Straight pin in place, because you have a group of people meeting in a couple of hours who have never used flags. Insert a smaller piece of pipe into the larger one and apply hair bands (thank you Debra Griffin) to either end to prevent loss of the outer pipe (and flag). 

Voila! You now how a Mozambican set of worship tools, minus a billowing cloth or two. (Think I'll wait a while to introduce those.)


 Phase II

Our two groups ended up being only one. (I know God likes me, I don't care what anyone says!) Seven men, one young mother and two little girls tried out the items one by one, and two by two. I had to tell one of the guys he couldn't use the finger rings. (I just couldn't jump that hurdle.)

The streamers were a hit! The flags, of course, need some work. But, I knew that before we started. I just wanted them to get the idea and the feel of them. 

The young mom was awesome with my angel wing flag. The little girls danced with the finger rings and the hoop. The guys...

They need a little more practice. Okay, they need a lot more practice. But they have heart! They were getting it! But, boys will be boys. How do you explain that a streamer is not a whip to a person who doesn't know what a whip is? And how do you tell a young man that there's a better place to hold his free hand? All these questions and my interpreter is lost in the glory, okay, he was lost in streamer amazement, but that's not very spiritual.

I had this great picture in my mind of teaching on "The Lamb Who was Slain" because the song we are using is "Worthy is the Lamb" and they haven't been taught about old testament sacrifice and the pure spotless lamb. 

What actually happened was better, of course. Holy Ghost always know what He is doing!

After a little time of 'playing' with the flags and such, I had everyone sit down and we chatted a bit. Then, I asked them if they knew what was meant by the phrase "worthy is the Lamb". After about six tries, the interpreter and I were on the same wave, and no, they didn't know. Holy Spirit had their undivided attention as I shared in the simplest of terms about the Old Covenant shedding of animal blood to cover sin and how the sacrifice had to be spotless and pure.

Then, about Jesus coming. Him being the last sacrifice for sin, once, for all. It was awesome to share the blessing of Christ's Crucifixion and the joy of His resurrection. After the teaching we listened, in silence, to the song. The presence of the Lord was tangible. Afterwards I asked them to share their thoughts. One said, "Spirit de Deus (Spirit of God) is in this", referring to the worship in it's totality. We had talked about this 'performance' being a new thing in the church and knowing lots of people would be watching them ~ and how important it is to 'Perform' for an audience of One. This little group of eight gets it. 


Everything is in the works. Kinda of like our lives, eh? Working out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

The flags need a lot of repair and the dance hasn't been choreographed. Many hearts and lives too, need repaired. It's nice to know we don't have to have our dance with our Bridegroom choreographed.

In America, it seems so much of what we do is planned with precision and skill. On the field, in a 3rd world nation, there is joy in the impromptu and the freedom to do your best and let God do the rest.

Easter weekend we will host an unknown number of people from districts all around. The community will come. We will celebrate the resurrected Christ. We will watch the Jesus film and witness the Lord as He manifests salvation, healing and deliverance. 
When morning comes, at first light, we will all join in unison to sing and dance our way to the river where many will be baptized. The festivities will continue for a large part of the day as we return to the base to hear the Word of the Lord and Worship His Holy Name.

I pray your Easter preparation is focused on Jesus and His resurrection. May the message of the Cross be renewed in your own heart, in such a way, that you find the simplest of ways to share it with the lost and lonely. 

So get creative and Celebrate Jesus!

With His Heart,

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise...

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