How precious reuniting is. A year’s worth of days, hours, minutes, suddenly fade into memory as this moment, the only truly existing moment, grasps all of my senses and pulls them into reality. Standing inside Pentecostal Churches Community, the first Sunday of our 2015 trip spent at Dzaleka Refugee Camp, I tune my ears to the youth choir bellowing harmonies I’ve only dreamt of since being here last year. I take note of familiarities – faces of children who’ve grown inches taller, new mamas and expecting ones, windows being shut during prayer and opened anew as worship begins, sunlight flooding upon the cement floors that were provided not too long ago.
Pastors Tim and Joel share stories, both personal and biblical, to an encouraged congregation. Following the service we gather outside for greetings and remembering one another. A few young boys approach me and ask if I can extend Tuesday’s art lesson into the afternoon to accommodate their school day. We plan on learning the elements of art, observing our surroundings through drawing, and studying typography, specifically “bubble” letters. On Friday we’ll paint educational murals on their second preschool room, just as we did last year. We praise God together as we reflect on His many provisions.
A few of PCC’s deacons prepare a generous meal of rice, savory beef, sautéd greens, peas and fried potatoes. The hospitality shown by our brothers and sisters is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Afterward, while Joel and Tim participate in a men’s group seminar, I am honored the opportunity to experience the youth choir practice. We introduce ourselves, the boys and girls adding “singer”, “drummer”, or “guitar player” to their names, followed by a modest smile or laugh. In my eyes, they’ve no need to be modest in addressing themselves as such – this choir is comprised of unbelievably talented human beings. I sit for hours in a swirl of rich tones, powerful vibrations, sweet harmonies. We dance, we sing, we praise our Creator to the rhythm of a child’s heart as she beats on a leather drum to keep us all in sync.
In the midst of a situation that only seems to deepen in complexity, a place where comfort must be cultivated in the mind when it’s difficult to find in reality, where community and faith are both necessary and interdependent, these children find strength in their hearts to make joyous sounds. They thank their Lord for this day, for a life, for an opportunity to sing. May we all seek to find that source of hope in our own hearts, the will to live boldly and gratefully, selflessly and graciously, in this moment and the next.