This I Believe

Hannah - Nora Springs, Iowa
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in the power of belief in God.

My grandfather teaches people to believe

He’s spent his life helping other people to believe in God

Moved his family across the world so he could be a pastor where they needed him

In a country filled with hate and anger over conflicting beliefs

Filled with fear because, no matter how strongly they believe,

Sickness and death are unavoidable

He was there as the people learned to believe in each other

His belief sparked hope in them

And their belief in Christ grew and strengthened

As a church grew up and thrived where before there had been nothing

A shout of praise sung out into the endless savanna plain

My grandparents had four children in Africa

Moved them back to America where they grow up with

White picket fence

White painted steeple

Six hundred crisp pages in each hymnal- five hymnals in every pew

Organ, choir, altar, stained glass light streaming

Fifty years went by

The four children are grown into mothers and fathers

The man who once brought his family into the wilderness is old now

Looks back on his life and wonders what he’s really done

Asks if he made any difference with

His teaching, his leading, his prayer

Decided he wanted to go back before he was too old

Wanted to take me with, show me what God had done

In the deep heart of Africa

I stood quiet at my grandfather’s side inside that same church he helped raise

Dirt floor, wooden benches

The old African pastor who baptized my mother leaning on his cane up in the pulpit

Baptismal font cracked and broken

Birds settled in the rafters flutter the only sound inside these empty walls

No glass in the windows

But outside, people

The entire village was the congregation, young and old

Singing for my grandfather’s arrival

Drumming, dancing, hugging

Ancient black faces crying, saying they remember him

The sound of the boldest children

Chattering in Swahili to the first white man they’ve ever seen

They’ve heard their parents, grandparents talk about him

Calling him mzee; elder, wise man

The hymn rises from the pounding red dirt to the cloudless sky

Thanking God for sending them someone so long ago

To encourage them in believing

To teach them God’s love