Dad’s memorial gathering in Africa

The CEFA workers came and set up our driveway and front yard as an absolutely typical African wake, well, minus the body.  They set up two outside lights and brought benches for all to sit down.  They brought drums and speakers/amps and an electric guitar.  They arranged for the local church choir to come.  They made gallons of very sweet hot coffee and tea, and beignets to munch on, and even some more substantial food for the choir who came straight from work and choir practice with no chance to go home in between.  Our favorite Past. M was there, sharing from Daniel 12:2-3 and how we need to be wise and shine because of following Jesus – a very fitting talk for Dad, a man who was a wise and loving man, the light of the Lord shining from him in his gentle ways, seeking to help people to know the Lord.  We sang, we prayed, we listened to God’s word, we shared stories about Dad that told those gathered about his love for God and anyone near him, stranger or family.  We ate, we danced, we shared grief and joy.  In spite of the chilly evening and a brief, very light rain, the wake went on.  They dance-stepped in a circle, as they would if the passed on loved one’s body was lying there in the center of the ring.  The one thing missing from our gathering was the inevitable wailing present at every wake I’ve ever been to in Africa.  Wailing is probably healthier than our typical Western keep quiet attitude, in order to thoroughly process grief, but also more appropriate in a sudden death or perhaps a younger person’s passing.  Dad’s life’s end was all about joy and victory; we celebrated him, with tears in our eyes, smiles on our faces, and precious memories in our hearts.  We rejoiced together with these African friends and we are so thankful for those who care enough to walk beside us through thick and thin.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

About danforth

As Covenant missionaries, we are working with all the tribal groups of the Central African Republic (CAR) but are trying to give special attention to the Fulani, a Musxlim, cattle herding, and semi-nomadic people group. We live on an experimental/training farm, near a mission station which has a hospital plus bible and nursing schools. We are establishing relationships with the local people groups through compassion ministries; Roy through agriculture and Aleta through public health and visitation, in order, ultimately, to share the good news of Jesus the Messiah with them. CAR is one of the least developed countries in the world and is currently in continual crisis (since the coup in March 2013), so reaching out in compassion is key to reaching their hearts. Due to the ongoing conflict and resultant ethnic cleansing in CAR, we are crossing the border to interact with our Fulani contacts.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.