Last Sunday was probably one of the most hilarious and uncomfortable experiences of my life.
So if you know me, you would know that by no means am I religious whatsoever. Like I literally don’t even know the difference between Catholics and Christians. That being said, I agreed to go with my Auntie (the lady I live with who is like 65-70yrs old) to church on Sunday. Mind you, I may have had a few drinks in me when I agreed to this. Nonetheless I woke up at 9 am Sunday morning go to church, purely out of anthropological interest to see what it was like. I figured it might at least be interesting to see how they practice religion.
Having never been to church before, I was thinking it was going to take up like an hour tops? Maybe 2 if i was unlucky. Seeing as I just woke up, I went not looking the greatest. However, every other person there was dressed in long fancy dresses, complete with satin head bands and pearls. Basically every one was sort of dressed the same, and then there is this white girl sitting there in borderline pajamas. Also, my roommate Yas came along and we both were sticking out way more than our liking.
Once the service started I knew this was not like any church back home. I haven’t even been to church but I can gaurntee it’s not anything like this. There was a band with drums, electric guitars, pianos and trombones backing up the choir at the front. Not only were people standing up and singing along, but they were dancing. Like REALLY dancing. It was actually pretty cool to see everyone so passionate and happy about something. Even when they went up to give donations (which happened about 3 times), they didn’t just walk up, there was a legit conga line all the way up to the front. I felt so out of place for not dancing! It was like they were having an actual party. So after the initial hour and a half of this church party, it became more like I would expect a western church to be. The reverend read out some bible verses and preached for a while. At this point I started getting bored and checking the time frequently. The hours passed slowly and eventually by hour 3 I was literally rapping Kanye West songs in my head to keep myself awake.
Having been distracted by my personal lord and savior, Kanye, I didn’t notice when the reverend called out “are there any new comers here?”. My Auntie immediately stood up pointing at me and Yas. I soon snapped out of my daze and was being rushed to THE FRONT OF THE CHAPEL. Here I am, not religious by any means, basically in sweat pants, standing at the front of the church in front of hundreds of people. They handed us the microphone to say our names one at a time, and state whether we wanted to join them permanently! I was biting my tongue trying so hard not to giggle out of discomfort. I somehow managed to say I was just here to visit, but nevertheless they all started preaching to us. The reverend got everyone to wave their hands in the air and pray for the two of us. We were awkwardly standing there not knowing where to look or what to say.
Once we sat down I was hoping that it was finally over, because I wasn’t sure how much more I could handle. 3 Hours seemed more than enough. But nope, I WAS AT CHURCH FOR 4 AND A HALF HOURS.
It did end eventually, so Yas and I wanted to go back up to campus and do some of our readings in a productive environment. However we got half way to the road where we could catch a taxi and guess who pulls up? The reverend!!! He offered to give us a ride and naturally we agreed. Thankfully this ride was less than 10 minutes long, because the entire time was spent questioning us about our faith. He told us this story of a girl he met who claimed to be atheist and how he tried to convert her. It was so awkward because we could tell he was trying to get us to join his church and we didn’t know how to be polite about it. He asked for my phone number so that he could “visit us for a chat”. My phone just so happened to be dead and I don’t know my number here off by heart, so he just gave me his.
Overall I’m glad I went for the experience. I’m here to step outside of my comfort zone and try new things, so at least I have this funny story to take away.