Before the Reverend makes the long flight from Africa to the US, I have to share a story that he called to tell me the other day… (Because if I wait until he gets home, he might be embarrassed, and might not be too happy!) :–P
While the Athens Christian Church team has been in Africa, they have been doing short, one-two day Vacation Bible School sessions in remote villages throughout Sierra Leone. For each tribe they visit, they bring a gift for the tribe leader. This is a customary practice where they are, and the team came prepared. Actually, one of the leaders asked them to bring a laptop from the US, so they did! If that gift meant the group could impact children for Christ, they were willing to comply.
On their final stop in a village for the VBS program, one tribe decided that they wanted to return the blessing and give the ACC team some gifts.
Now, I never did hear what the women on the team received, but Chance had to call home to tell me what was presented to him.
The entire group participating in the VBS program was gathered around, and some of the tribe leaders called Chance to the front of the group.
This presentation held some pomp and circumstance as he made his way in front of the group. He had no idea what would be presented to him, but he’d been in Africa for over a week by this point, he didn’t think he could be surprised by anything.
A LIVE CHICKEN.
The leaders of the tribe appeared with a chicken – fully alive, bawking and squawking and all.
They extended their arms and gave the chicken to a very apprehensive man…
This man, my husband, was very frightened that the chicken might decide that this would be an opportune time to use the restroom, so he held the chicken as far away from his body as possible.
Another team member whispered to him that he looked unappreciative when he held the chicken so far from his body. A chicken is one of the nicest gifts that is exchanged in the village.
So, the Reverend quickly pulled the chicken close to his body and gave it a little pet.
And that’s where the bonding began…
Soon the “ceremony” was over and the tribe leaders sent Chance back to his seat. Unfortunately, no one addressed that he was still holding his new feathered friend. So, Chance just took the chicken back to his seat with him. He kept the chicken on his lap (petting it once in a while for comfort…)
Eventually someone came to the Reverend with a bucket – apparently returning the chicken from whence it came.
The chicken then came with the group as they went to some orphanages and drove on some bumpy roads from village to village. He stayed in the back of the truck, once being hit with a suitcase of supplies, bawking all the way.
After the team arrived to the place where they had been staying, they brought the chicken out of the bucket. One of the ministers there, Pastor Moses, carried the chicken to the location where it would be butchered.
Chance recalled that it felt as though the chicken knew it was his death march. As Pastor Moses carried the chicken away, it turned its head, made eye contact with the Reverend, and let out one final BAWWWWK!
Needless to say, the rest of the group enjoyed a chicken dinner, but Chance refrained from eating that night…
When Chance called to tell me this story, I asked if he had named the chicken. Ironically, he said, “No! Then I might have gotten attached!”
Can’t wait for the team to come home tomorrow afternoon! I’m thrilled to hear their stories and to learn what God has been doing in their hearts.