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by Cydni Lege Cydni was a member of the 3-month South Africa IMMERSION program at the beginning of 2021. Together, with her team, they connected with local communities across South Africa, building meaningful relationships and serving in practical ways.

On Sunday, churches in South Africa were allowed to start meeting again. They had many restrictions of course—like wearing a mask, social distancing, limited capacity, taking temperatures—but nonetheless, it was a blessing they were allowed to gather once again. A pastor of the local community in which we had been working invited us to join the service. It was amazing.

As soon as we got out of our vehicles to walk up we could hear joyful singing and praise from a beautiful voice. We were all welcomed as “brothers and sisters from the States,” as the pastor would say, with such a sweet and genuine smile.

The message was beautifully spoken in English by Hein, the EM Africa director, and translated by the pastor who invited us. Both of them have such passion for Jesus and His gospel. Every statement that left Hein’s mouth spoke life, and every translated word came out with just as much fire for the Lord. I adored the responses from the congregation. They were not afraid to speak up when they agreed with what was said with a soulful “Amen!” in agreement.

Then it was time to pray, and a really interesting thing took place. Every person in attendance, every pastor and leader and even the youngest children, began to pray at once. Not a set prayer that they have been taught to recite, but their own requests, their own thoughts, their own needs, and their own expressions of gratitude. And they didn’t do it quietly. Every person was speaking at every volume they felt necessary. Some prayed quietly, some prayed with a small hum, some prayed by shouting, and some prayed by singing out to the Lord. They didn’t even all pray in the same language!

I’ll be honest, this was overwhelming for me. Not because I didn’t have anything to say to God, but because I couldn’t seem to focus on my own prayers when I could hear everyone else’s, even if I didn’t know what they were saying. I got a bit frustrated with myself because I couldn’t pray in that moment. I wanted to participate, but I just couldn’t. So I decided to just listen to the choir of voices that filled the room.

I think the Lord used my distraction as a time to sit back in awe. I think he wanted me to realize how mighty “the almighty God” truly is.

It was beautiful when I realized this is what God hears all-day, everyday, yet it never overwhelms Him. He rejoices when we speak to Him. He is never too busy or unfocused to be able to hear each one of us individually. He is able to be (and will be) glorified by every nation, tribe, and tongue. There is no right way to pray to the Lord, there is no wrong way to pray to the Lord.

He is truly such an amazing God to give each person and every individual the opportunity to have and grow in a relationship with him no matter what they look like, what language they speak, or their history.

Learn more about 3-Month South Africa IMMERSION or explore all upcoming IMMERSION programs for young adults!


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