I’d preached in the Family of Christ Celebration Centre in Mutalia, Kenya in 2014. When I returned in 2015, the congregation welcomed me again with amazing kindness, friendship, and enthusiastic excitement. It was very much like a homecoming!
The congregation was filled with children who had walked for miles from their orphanage (which has now been closed due to a lack of funding). Young mothers sang joyfully while holding their nursing babies. Old women clapped their hands and shuffled to the lively music while a toothless old man watched over the group.
Preaching through an interpreter isn’t easy. Thoughts must be carefully broken up into easily repeated phrases, ideas spoken simply, and attention given to unfamiliar figures of speech. It’s also important to have a translator you trust to give the actual meaning of what you are saying.
Through my translator, I thanked the congregation for its very warm welcome. They applauded and smiled as all Kenyans do. I expressed my love for them and continued prayers. They smiled, nodded, and said “Amen.” I spoke of my hope to return in 2016, but how I would welcome each of them to visit me in America in the meantime. The congregation erupted in cheers before my translator had a chance to say anything!
As Christians, we’re reminded in the Scriptures that we are looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). We anticipate the thrill of seeing the One who gave His life as a ransom for us. We long to be free from this world of sin and joyfully yearn to know just as we also are known (1 Corinthians 13:13). What of the anticipation, thrill, and desire Jesus will have to welcome us Home with Him?
I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:2, 3).
Most of the dear saints in Mutalia will never venture much outside their village, but I would so glad to welcome each to my home. What joy Christ must also have at the thought of welcoming us to Heaven!