We went back to the East Side church of Christ in Mid-West City again this morning, and there was a lot of welcoming taking place. I went into the auditorium for the Bible class, and my daughter went back to the young professional’s Bible class. The class was all about the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem the last week before his death when he road into town on a donkey and the people put coats and palm leaves down to welcome him and yelled out, “Hosanna to the son of David!” It was easy, and when the teacher asked questions, I had all the answers because I just taught the same lesson in Korean a few weeks ago. He did say something that made me think, though. He talked about a king, and what it really means to have a king. If you think about through history, in many countries, they thought their king was a god or descended from the gods, and they did whatever they king asked without question. It wasn’t like in America. In many ways, the American system encourages Americans to be rebellious. The countries where the people are still obedient to kings and queens, they are humbler people. In America, they don’t want a king or queen because they don’t want just one person to have all the power. It is difficult for Americans to fathom completely submitting to someone else, but when we become Christians, we completely submit to God.
After Bible class, there was worship service. I have learned lots of songs over the years, and I could sing every one of them without the aid of a song book. I kept thinking about when I was In Korea and wanting to go to a big church where everyone would sing out and my voice wouldn’t be heard so much above the others, but even though the church was big, I wondered if it was the acoustics of the building or if people just weren’t singing out because my voice could still be heard above the others and so could my daughter’s. It was nice listening to a sermon all in English where I didn’t have to struggle to understand. When I was listening to Korean sermons, I understood, but I had to try, and it was a lot of brain work and would wear my brain completely out. It is much easier listening in English.
At the end of the worship service, they did the traditional invitation song again, and two people went forward. One woman had been sick and was still sick. She was having to make lots of decisions about her health that confused her, and she asked for strength and wisdom to be able to make the right decisions for her health. She wanted the church to pray for her. The other one who came forward was a man. He had been raised as a Christian and became a Christian early in his life, but he hadn’t done what he should do. He had begun drinking and become an alcoholic. However, now, he is what is called a recovering alcoholic, and he was trying not to drink anymore and trying to get his life back on track. He came to rededicate himself to God and the church and ask for prayers for strength and forgiveness. If you aren’t accustomed to the invitation song tradition, perhaps you are getting the idea of why people respond to the invitation to come to the front and talk to the church about their problems.
After worship, we went to the welcome lunch for visitors and new comers. They had a lot of food laid out to put together a Mexican salad the way you wanted to put it together. They are in the southern part of the U. S., so of course, they had to have sweet iced tea and lemonade to drink with it. They also had lots of nice deserts that just seemed so sweet to my daughter and I. I am beginning to wonder if we are part Korean because Koreans don’t know how to handle a lot of sugar, and we are having a bit of trouble with all the sugar here.
A lady whose grandfather was Romanian came and say by me wanting me to speak to her in Romanian to see if she could understand any of it because she had forgotten all the Romanian her grandfather had taught her. When I spoke, she said it sounded familiar to her, but she couldn’t understand. A guy whose son who had been a missionary in Japan and who had visited Ibaraki, where I was as a student, wanted to talk to us too. I know everywhere he talked about in Japan, but his son was in Ibaraki after me, and is back in the States now in some other town.
David Roper, Cindy Roper Honaker’s dad, got up and told everyone how happy he was to be at the East Side church of Christ. David Roper used to be a missionary in Australia, and Cindy Roper Honaker is a friend of mine. We both went to school at Oklahoma Christian University, and we were in Romania at the same time. I have talked to her on the phone since I have been here, and we plan on getting together to eat, but we haven’t yet.
There was also a lady who had graduated from Choctaw High School, where I graduated from, but she graduated about ten years before I did, and even though some of the names I knew, she was familiar with, she really didn’t know anyone I knew. Everyone tried to make us feel welcomed. It was nice, and my daughter really liked it.