One of the families of the Light Mission Pentecostal Church, the group that shares our building, dedicated a new baby last Saturday afternoon, September 11, 2010. These are Kirundi speaking immigrants, whose homeland was Burundi. (Kirundi is a Bantu language with about 4.5 million speakers.)
They had invited me to the event to help pray for the baby, Johnson Willey Vincent.
Well, the first thing was the feast. We enjoyed several foods in the African style. There were bread balls, cooked beef, fried chicken, rice, a lightly cooked cabbage that was served over rice with beans. It was all quite good, and I am sure
to learn more about these foods as time goes on.
There were also a series of “formal” presentations. I mean that not as stiff events, but rather a sequence that has a form taken from the culture.
At one point I asked, “where is the baby.” Well, apparently that is the first question of the day. The root of the event is to “show the baby” to the community, and it had been kept out of sight. The baby was soon brought out and the festivities began.
Another element in the sequence is for the father to make a speech, followed by the grandfather. The fellow in the yellow shirt holding the baby is the grandfather. He thanked and blessed God for this child’s birth, and prayed for the baby as well.
Then the grandmother – the woman in the bronze colored outfit, along with other mature ladies from the community invited the mother forward to help show and teach her how to care for the baby. She is instructed on how to carry the infant on her back.
You can see in the pictures I snapped that there are a number of other photographers as well, recording this “teaching moment” for posterity and for those far away. There was a lot of laughter and great good humor in these presentations.
When the young mom returned to her seat at the head table everyone there sang a little song, so it must be very well known. The woman who was translating for me said that it meant something like “see how much love the mother has as she cares for her baby, this is the kind of love God has for us.”
One of the very last moments was when I was asked to pray for the baby. I asked the translator, “do I hold the baby?” She said, “no, just reach out your hands and touch the baby as the parents hold him.” That was fine.
What a great day. I was honored and happy to be part of the dedication and “showing off” the baby. Once again I am reminded what a privilege it is to be a pastor and have a representative ministry through the church.