Friday, January 22, 2016

Sierra Leone 4: THE WEDDING!!!

After all the preparations and the activities of the week, it was finally time for the wedding. Initially the focus of the worship space was to be the large tree to the left of the altar area here. Thankfully, Leo, the photographer, was wise enough to encourage the wedding coordinator to move the focus to the right so that the ocean would be more of an emphasis. Leo was right. 
Prior to the wedding (which was scheduled to start at 4pm, but seriously, this is Sierra Leone) we had time to get together and take a few pictures. Here is the Reverend with the groom and his groomsmen. From left to right, Gaiva (his school buddy), Jongoi (brother), and Joel (brother). Gaiva did his best to push us for information and stories to embarrass Jiwoh, but we stayed firm!!!
Jiwoh with his mothers, Mary and Sharon. Mary lives in Lagos now, but was sure to bring special gifts for Jiwoh's Texas family.
Finally, on Jiwoh/Sierra Leone time we got going. Time to have the wedding.
It just so happened that Jan 9th was the feast day of St. Adrian of Canterbury. He isn't exactly the best known Saint of all time, but he was remarkable for today in that Adrian was born in Africa in the 7th Century. He was a Berber who left Africa for education in Europe. Not unlike Jiwoh and Manja I pointed out and the congregation got a good laugh. However, unlike them, he never returned home and instead spent his life in England. On a day like this one it was worthy, I said, of celebrating that Jiwoh, Manja, Yeani, and Hali had come home to make their home, in their home, Africa.
I had given Kristen my phone to take pictures, and she got some wonderful shots. Especially this one of our kid's cousins. Annika has made me promise that we will be back to Sierra Leone soon to see her cousins.

We closed with my favorite final blessing from the old LBW.
"Most gracious God, we give you thanks for your tender love in sending Jesus Christ to come among us, to be born of a human mother, and to make the way of the cross to be the way of life. By the power of your Holy Spirit, pour out your abundant blessing upon Manja and Jiwoh. Defend them from every enemy. Lead them into all peace. Let their love for each other be a seal upon their hearts, a mantle about their shoulders, and a crown upon their foreheads. Bless them in their work and in their companionship; in the sleeping and in their waking; in their joys and in their sorrows; in their life and in their death. Finally in your mercy, bring them to that table where your saints feast forever in your banquet; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and forever. Amen."

And now, Dear Friends, I present to you, as husband and wife, Jiwoh and Manja...

Couldn't help but have a selfie at the altar. Such an amazing setting. Not sure I will ever get that sort of an opportunity again.
Jiwoh and Manja and their parents. Not the official shot, so Jiwoh is not exactly in great form. ;-)

The wedding ceremony was over. Now it was time for the party. And what a party it would be. 

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