Church service here lasts all day. Since I don't understand enough Swahili to "get" everything that's going on, and since Nate doesn't have the attention span for it or the stamina to skip lunch, we just go to the "English service" (semi-English, semi-Swahili) and go home.
Of the four Sundays we've been here, Rodgers has preached 3. One Sunday, he preached in 2 services, but that's not the point. He was asked to preach during the Swahili service again this week. There is some time between the end of the English service and the sermon in the Swahili service, so he brought us home around 10:15, ran a couple of errands, then went back to church to preach.
I expected him to be gone at least 4 hours. It takes 3 minutes to get from our driveway to the dirt road that leads to the church and 5-10 minutes from the paved road to the church, though it's a very short distance. But I know that the service is long, plus there are meetings afterwards (for what? I do not know.)
I started to get a little anxious when he wasn't home by 3, but I was sure he'd be home soon. I texted him around 4, just to make sure he was still breathing. He is out of texts on his cell phone plan this month (for sending texts), but I thought he could call me if he wasn't in the middle of praying or something. He didn't. I called him around 5. He just told me, "Sorry, I got stuck here. I hope I'll be home soon," and left it at that. (Later I found out they'd gone to the home of one church member who had a new baby to do a dedication service, and of course the parents fed everyone, so it took a few hours.)
So we waited. I fed the kids dinner. I ate dinner. We started getting ready for bedtime. Finally, he came home around 6:45. He said, "It's been a long day. You look worn out. Let's go get ice cream."
There is a decent ice cream shop not far from home (in a real live shopping mall), so we headed there, with the boys in pjs. Being Sunday night, the mall was super busy, so I picked up the ice cream to go, and we ate it at home. We had strawberry, coconut, and chocolate with chocolate pieces. Nate's favorite is pink ice cream (strawberry).
Then, we resumed getting the boys ready for bed. For Nate's bedtime, we always read 4 books, say prayers, then sing Jesus Loves Me. I say a prayer first, then ask Nate what he wants to thank Jesus for today. He usually thanks Jesus for his soccer ball and either Sesame Street, Super Why, or Sid the Science Kid. Sometimes he thanks Jesus for his friends, Gigi, Grandpa, other relatives as they come to mind. Since getting his typhoid and yellow fever vaccines a couple of weeks ago, he has been saying thank you for "the shot's done."
Last night, Nate said, "Thank you, Jesus, for ice cream. Oh, and Daddy's ice cream. Oh, and Mama's ice cream. And Ben's ice cream." [note: Ben did not eat any ice cream]
It was so sweet, and yes, we are thankful for a yummy treat at the end of a long day.