written by Julia L., job title
When we first arrived in June 2008, we were welcomed by a group of Mbugwe pastors on our first evening in the area. On our first Sunday, we went to a Church of God service in a small town in the Mbugwe area. We were introduced and officially welcomed, and then as we stood in front, each of the church leaders present took turns praying for us to bless us and the project.
A few weeks later, while eating a meal with some church members after a service, our whole family were given Mbugwe names.
Julia’s parents came for a visit some months later. We mentioned ahead of time to the pastor of the same church that we would be bringing them to a service. The church has an almost 100% Mbugwe membership, but normally uses Swahili for the whole service.
On the day Julia’s parents came, choirs from several village churches performed traditional Mbugwe dances, and worship songs in Mbugwe. One song in particular was translated for us afterwards. In it, the choir from the village of Osoley had sung, using our Mbugwe names, about how happy they are that we have come to help them translate the Bible to Mbugwe.
Later on, Julia’s parents were presented with gifts from the church, and one of the pastors gave a short speech to them, explaining that they wanted to make this service special, in order to show that they have truly received and welcomed us well.