Last night, as I was getting into the shower my phone rings.
It is Richard calling, as he usually does on a Saturday evening, to find out whether I am “back safe from the sea” (See Day#12 ).
And to ask whether I would like to go, with him and his wife, to church in the morning.
Now, there are two things about me and church you need to know:
1. I grew up in a pastor’s house. I have spent thousands of hours in church. (More than four thousand five hundred and thirty-five hours to be exact.) Which has lead to an allergic reaction.
2. I suffer from religiophonophobia. I break out in a rash when a church has an amplifier, or anything resembling an amplifier.
(There was a wonderful gentleman, called Oom Tom, in my Dad’s church who was also allergic to amplifiers. He used to say that his God “liked peace and quiet”. I’m with Oom Tom on this one.)
So, when Richard asks me whether I would go to church with him and his wife in the morning, this is what goes through my head.
Plus, the fact that, judging from what I have heard of Ghanaian church services so far (See Day#3), they are not short.
But I only hesitate for a second. “Yes, I would love to. Thank you, Richard.”
You see. I have decided that this is going to be 186 days of “yes”.
I am going to try and put as many of my preconceived ideas and fears aside. And just say “yes”.
Yes to the amplifier.
When Richard picks me up, his little daughter, Eli, is in the car with him. Eli and I immediately hit it off.
I feel like I have known Richard for a really long time (See Day#12 ) and today I get to meet his lovely family.
We go past Richard’s house to collect his wife and son.
The oldest brother and sister will attend the later service. (I suspect this is because I took up their space in the car!)
When we get to Richard’s church, I get out of the car and Eli takes my hand. More for my comfort than hers, I am sure!
Maybe this was because she knew there was an amplifier.
We take our seats, the service is already underway. (I suspect this is because it took time to collect me first!)
It takes me a while to realise that I am I not completely following the pastor.
Turns out this morning’s sermon is in Twi (the language of the Akan people, and one of Ghana’s more than 70 languages).
All I can say in Twi is “Ekom di mi” (I am hungry).
And that was not part of the sermon.
But the preacher’s voice is very soothing, and I meditate on the bits I do understand. Which is basically the name Daniel.
This led me to believe the sermon was either about slaying a giant, or about being trapped with a lion.
It is only when I notice her voice has been quiet for quite a while that I realise people are looking at me in an expectant way.
Richard leans over and whispers “You have to stand.”
From my four thousand five hundred and thirty-five hour experience, this may not be a good idea.
I need details first.
I was about to explain this to Richard when he whispers “Now”.
So I stand up.