My body is tired because our day was full...but my heart is full, as well, so a blog post must be written.
This morning we had the privilege of worshipping under the mango trees with the believers at Nampologoma OPCU...one of the newer churches to join the Orthodox Presbyterian Church of Uganda, Mbale Presbytery. They had a building, but it was destroyed in a wind storm, so they are worshipping here while they collect funds to rebuild. The other churches (and some individuals) in the Presbytery showed much love to these believers and pledged money to help them. In all, they have about $80 right now and will wait upon the Lord to provide the rest...and worship here in the mean time.
The girls had matching dresses made recently...they turned out super cute, so I had to post a picture. :)
After church we went to another pastor's house to witness marriage vows between one of Eric's students and his wife. To understand the beauty of today, though, I must fill you in on the cultural difficulties of engagement, dowry, church weddings and moving in together.
Typically, when a man wants to be married, he sends a letter to the brides parents with a significant monetary gift, asking permission to have an introduction. At the introduction, the cost of dowry is settled and the couple is engaged. The man then must pay off the dowry and then a church wedding can be had. The problem is, introductions are costly and it takes years to pay off a dowry. So it is very common for a man and a woman to just begin living together, calling themselves "man and wife" at any point during the above mentioned process, with no public ceremony.
So a couple weeks ago, Eric asked his students..."When did you start living together with your wife?" And "when do you think God gives his blessing for people to live together?" He had nine students in the class, and there were many opinions. It was an engaging discussion.
Everyone agreed that some sort of ceremony was proper - in which the church gave their blessing on the man and woman beginning to live together as husband and wife, even if the dowry was not yet paid. So this is what happened today!
The elders of his church and a few close friends gathered to witness this couple commit to one another in marriage. After Eric gave a 10 minute exhortation, and they said their vows, the elders stood up and gave their blessing on their calling themselves man and wife and beginning to live together. Eric's student has already sent his letter to her parents, and they have given their permission for her to begin living with him as his wife. Then one day, after dowry is paid, they may wish to celebrate with a full church wedding, but for today we say congratulations and may God bless them with a strong marriage that builds his kingdom and shows forth his glory.
|The Elders giving their blessing|
And what can I say...
they are are super.cute.couple... :D