Title 'Christmas in Rhodesia'
“Listen folk, this year Christmas falls at the weekend, giving us all at least four days free from our workplace to celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ, How about a church family camp?”
The Amen’s echoed all around the congregation, from young and old. Theirs was a Pentecostal congregation who understood that Amen meant ‘So let it be.’
“For Christmas day we will have a ‘braai’. After all, we won’t have a white Christmas no matter who tries to dream it up.”
The pastor was a well built Irishman who had come to Rhodesia as a missionary and his congregation was made up from people from all over the world. Many of the members had experienced the Welsh revival. This lively congregation was like a great big family because they had left their homelands to come to Rhodesia.
After the service you could hear Iris calling, “Over by here, ladies, we need to plan the Christmas baking for our camp. It won’t be Christmas without the fare.”
So the ladies gathered while the men chatted over cups of tea and scones.
“I can make Christmas cake enough for all,” that was little Patty from Liverpool, “My mum always made enough to feed the five thousand and I’ve got her recipes.”
“We won’t have that many.” Iris responded.
“I just love making tarts. Lemon curd and berry, both go well at Christmas. I think I’ll need help if we are going to have everyone come,” (Agnes was an Afrikaner)
“I’ll tell you what, let’s get together on Thursday nights between now and the camp to report on how things are going. We’ve got two months.”
“Won’t that be difficult for you Anna?” (Anna was a missionary with the Elim missions and attended the church for her own spiritual growth.)
“Sometimes, but I can contact Iris by phone. Two months is not very long.”
With such enthusiasm and willingness the baking would soon be under control.
The elders and deacons met that same night to plan the details and logistics of the camp.
“Let’s make the Christmas eve fellowship a time of ‘Carols around the camp fire’ with more than one song leader so that no one tires.” Young Billy was a youth leader in the making and the young ones loved singing.
“Sure, but Idris should train a choir to do some specials for us.” Howard interjected.
Idris was from Wales and always prepared the congregation for carol singing at Christmas. His favourite stories were. “Did you know that Jonah was a Welshman? To be sure, for Welshmen sing and pray in Whales,” and “Did you know why Yul Brunner was jealous of Moses? Because he had hair on (Aaron)” (Everyone loved Idris.)
“On Christmas Day we should start the day with prayer and praise before breakfast for about a half hour.” The pastor suggested.
“Yes, and after breakfast we can have a time of testimonies of what God has done for us during the year, over tea and cookies.”
“You young ones are always thinking of you stomachs, testimonies first, tea and cakes later.”
“What about the main Christmas message?”
“I think we should invite Jason Mataringa to address us.” (Jason was the local African minister. He had once been the church cleaner, his enthusiastic witness to both black and white visitors to the church had led the congregation to send him to Bible College, and he now had a congregation of his own in the local African township.)
“Yes his congregation should be invited to join us, their singing and harmony always blesses us.”
All was agreed and when Christmas arrived. The two congregations joined in the camp giving due regard to the segregation laws of Rhodesia.
The ‘braai’ was the men’s responsibility, the mutton chops, steaks and sausages were grilled on the barbeque with onions.
The African women prepared the sadza (A thick porridge made from maize meal.)
The ladies made salads and Christmas lunch under the bright branches of the Flamboyant trees with the Poinsettia decorations on the trestle tables was enjoyed by all.
As the Pastors gave thanks for God’s bountiful provision, not only of food but also His only true Son, a great weekend of Christian fellowship was enjoyed by all.
No. Of Words 710
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