A few years ago I took one of our neighborhood youths to football practice. Wallace is an extremely outgoing young man who has brought more people to our church than just about anyone else. As we got out of the car, he said, “Come meet Moses. He lives near the church.”
Wallace led me across the field to meet young Moses. He was a little bigger than the other boys. Wallace said, “This is Pastor Paul. You should come by the church and play basketball with us.” Moses smiled shyly, “Ok.”
Moses’ family immigrated from Uganda when he was younger. His accent is still very thick. A lot of the kids mock his accent, but he would just smile as if he enjoyed the attention. He has one of the sweetest natures a teenage boy ever had. Not only did Moses begin coming to the church to play basketball that summer, he became a regular that fall at our youth program.
When we were beginning confirmation classes the following spring, I approached Moses about it. He told me that I would have to speak to his parents. He went on to explain that he would have to get his sister to translate for his parents. They spoke very little English. We agreed upon a time and I called one of the elders to join me.
Jon and I arrived at Moses’ family’s house in the late afternoon a few days later. Moses led us into the living room where his sister, mother, and father sat. They all rose and greeted us warmly. The sister translated. We were invited to sit.
His parents were older than I expected. Moses was a later in life gift to his parents. He has several grown siblings. His parents sat and smiled as I explained our purpose.
His father responded by saying that Moses had been baptized as a child. He himself was an Anglican minister. He knew about confirmation. He said that he would be very glad for Moses to receive instruction and be confirmed in the church.
I told them how impressed we had been with Moses and how much we cared for him.
Then his mother looked at me with a very serious but cheerful expression on her face and said, “In this house, we are his parents. When he is at the church, you are his father. You are our eyes and our ears. Do you understand?”
I was taken aback by the charge, but I said that I did understand. Jon, the elder, looked on with a smile.
I asked if I could offer a prayer. They both smiled and the father said he would be honored. I prayed a prayer of thanks and blessing. As Jon and I stood up to begin our exit, the mother spoke to her daughter and the daughter explained that they would now like to offer a blessing. Of course!
They began to clap in rhythm and rose to their feet. Then they sang to us with great jubilation. Their homeland began to fill the room. What a blessing it was.
Moses sat quietly, smiling.