While Mark and I were back visiting his parents in Bloemfontein, we visited a big church there called CRC (Christian Revival Church). The place was packing out as we arrived for the mid-morning service, and we slotted in sort of to the left of centre in this big building with a huge stage and big TV screens and lights and effects and cameramen. The worship started off similar to what weâ€™re used to in non-denominational churches in most parts of the world â€“ the charismatic, joyful, powerful voices and drums and keys and guitars so on, and then there was a transition, for just a single song, where we were singing in a language which was â€¦ I think Ndebele or Tsonga. I obviously had absolutely no clue what the heck we were singing about, other than I was fairly sure we were singing about the Lord.
The Words were on the screen and I just followed along and did my best with:
WA NYAMALALA NGANA
UMTHWALO WAWA SIZE
Or something of that sort. But then the joy broke loose! The rest of the congregation began getting into it, doing dance movements associated with the lyrics, singing with such joy and passion (and an occasionally what I would call a Latino tongue trill, which I had to join in on).Â I was overjoyed to join in wholeheartedly, although I still had absolutely no clue what we were singing about. Mark and I did our best at our white-folk-canâ€™t-dance version of the dance movements, I was adding in a Latino trill or two, and we were just singing and smiling and joyful to worship God with a couple thousand complete strangers in a language we didnâ€™t understand.
Afterwards I asked Mark if it was perhaps Zulu we were singing in, but his best guess was that it was Sesotho. (Googling the lyrics I remembered didnâ€™t bring about much success. Shame! But we think weâ€™ve concluded it was probably Ndebele or Tsonga.) The guest speaker for the morning was, funny enough, from Seattle, Washington, and we were encouraged by his message. I occasionally felt like I might be one of the only ones there who got the jokes, but everybody laughed. It was altogether such a special and delightful experience, and I hope the next time weâ€™re in Bloemfontein, we can enjoy the fellowship at CRC again.Â It is a blessing to know that if you are in Christ, wherever you are, if there are believers there, you can feel right at home.
Sing it with me nowâ€¦
WA NYAMALALA NGANA
UMTHWALO WAWA SIZE!