In the United States or probably most places where you listen to an opening prayer in church, you will hear thanks for being there and for other blessings, and maybe a prayer for those who are sick or for the speakers who will be addressing the meeting, but here in South Africa, something we almost always here is a prayer for “those who are on their way.” People often live miles from the chapel and most don’t have cars. They either rely on public transportation (mini-vans that squeeze as many people in as possible) or they walk. Sometimes you’ll be driving between the city and its suburbs and see people miles and miles away from either, walking along the highway. Because getting to church is a challenge (and also partly because of the culture) people are often late. Meetings will start with a scatter of people and end up with the chapel overflowing. Anyway, it’s nice to know as the meeting begins that they are concerned about all of those who are on their way.
and on their way home again. The girl with the crutch has only one leg and even she was walking. (Someone offered her a ride, but she said she lived not far away which for us could be quite a ways away.)