Many Tongues & Many Nations Worship Together

One of the most touching parts of my trip thus far has been the worship services I've had the opportunity to be a part of. Both last Sunday and this morning I was able to attend Azorean Baptist Church, which is were Mr. Art Nilsen is pastor. ABC is an English speaking church here on the island that ministers mainly to US Air Force personnel stationed at Lajes Air Force Base. The congregation is small, and there is a lot of turnover with people being reassigned every few months. The longest most Americans stay here is about 18-24 months. Regardless of the size of the congregation, both services that I have attended were so uplifting and encouraging to me. The numbers were small, but it was obvious that those who were in attendance were there because they honestly and genuinely want to worship the Lord. There was such a spirit of humility in the presence of God as we sang, prayed, and studied the Bible together. One of the songs we sang last Sunday especially spoke to my heart, and I have been thinking about it all week long. Here are some of the lyrics:

Sit enthroned upon my heart with everything you are.
Come live your life in me.
Reign supremely.
I'm not just giving you my sin, but everything within.
Come take control and make me holy.
You are my King, enthroned to be my everything. 

I know the song wasn't chosen because I was attending, but it was one of those moments when it seems like it wouldn't matter if anyone else was there or not because it was exactly what I needed in that moment. As I sang along I made these lyrics my prayer. This is what I want. I want God to be the most important thing in my life. Yes, I need forgiveness and am wholly reliant upon His forgiveness of my sin, but that's not all. I want to give everything I have to Him. It's not easy and it doesn't come naturally, but I am finding more and more each day that the more I give to Him the clearer His will is in my life.

On Wednesday night we were invited to "Louvorfest" which translated to English is PraiseFest. It was a musical event held at the Praia Baptist Church. All 4 of the evangelical churches on the island came together to share songs and worship the Lord together. Only 2 of the songs were sung in English, but they put the English translation of the Portuguese songs on the screen so we could understand what they were saying. Many of the songs were originals written by members of the local churches. It was so encouraging to worship alongside people who don't speak my language but  to know that no matter what language, we were all praising the one true God! The last group to sing was a group of ladies who call themselves the "Butterflies." They sing a capella, and it is very beautiful. I wanted to put a video of them on here, bu it isn't working. Maybe I'll have better luck later.

Tonight I had another unique worship service experience. Mr. & Mrs. Nilsen and I attended Angra Baptist Church, where the entire service was is Portuguese (with no translator). Art called it a "cultural immersion experience" and that is definitely what it was. I was a little skeptical that I would understand anything at all during the service, but the Lord made sure I got the point. The entire service was themed around Jesus being able to satisfy us completely, no matter our circumstances. I didn't understand every word, but I recognized some of the song lyrics that said  "only Jesus satisfies" and "I want to live for Jesus." As the pastor spoke, I was able to figure out that he was telling us that even though we would have troubles, Jesus is enough, and that choosing Jesus doesn't mean we won't have struggles, but it does mean that we can have peace and joy in Christ. It's amazing to me that even with a strong language barrier, God used this worship service to speak to me and remind me of the things I needed to hear. After the service i was greeted by many, many kisses on the cheeks and several people even told me that they were praying for me. Apparently word has gotten around here that I'm planning to come and stay for a while! The Portuguese pastor of Angra even told me as we were leaving, "I need you not me, the Lord needs you here. We are praying for you!" It was such an encouragement and affirmation to hear this from someone whom I'd never met, yet we serve the same God and have both been called to serve here. 

All in all, I can say with certainty that the Lord appointed these worship services to show me a glimpse of what it might be like when all the believers, people of every tongue and every nation, will be worshiping together in heaven. I'm definitely looking forward to that! For now, I'll be happy to join in on the multicultural worship services any time I get the chance. 

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1 Response to "Many Tongues & Many Nations Worship Together"

  1. Anonymous Says:
    April 30, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Wow... This is cool stuff! I can't wait to hear more about it! Praying for the rest of your stay to be just as affirming and special as you've described so far.


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