Our last stop was at the First African Baptist Church. I was so moved by many things there that I wanted to share it with you.
First of all, I fully dislike how Africans were treated and brought here to be slaves. No one should be a slave of any type. We still have slaves in the world right now in 2016, mostly sex slaves, and that's just uncalled for. People are not property and should not be bought and sold.
However, this is not a new concept. If you remember in Genesis, Joseph's brothers hated him so much that they sold him into slavery. Slavery came into our world because of sin. I am sure that God never wanted it to happen. Why doesn't He prevent it, you ask? Because He gave us free will and there are some people who choose to be evil.
Slaves built this church I was sitting in. They wanted to worship God, so they built a church just for that purpose. I think that's amazing. They were being mistreated and oppressed, but they didn't let that stop them. Most of their work was done at night, because they couldn't stop working for their "masters" during the day.
The original pews were built by slaves in 1796. They were uneducated and did not know how to read or write. They were from Kenya. Kenya had 13 different tribes at the time. So, they decided to put their tribal mark on the end of the pew they carved. One looks like zebra print to me..and I think it's awesome.
The unique thing about God's hand in all of this is that He is in history. Throughout history you can put Him in the "regular" part of it. For example, King Xerxes who we learned about in "regular history" was Queen Esther's husband, from the Bible.
So, with a whole group of 8th graders who are a mixture of Christian, Atheist, Hindu, and Muslim, we sat in a church and listened to a lady tell us about how GOD created this beautiful church in a time of history that the African people were mistreated. Talk about hearing the Gospel in a different way.. that's what she did. (Because she did say something about Jesus dying on the cross and being resurrected three days later.)
The worst part for me, was hearing how Christians owned slaves. I'm sure it was a part of their culture, so they thought it was acceptable. I can't help but wonder if they thought it was ok because of things in the Old Testament that they read. I believe in all of my heart that God doesn't want anyone to be slaves to anything. That being other people, drugs, alcohol, pornography, food, exercise (Yes, you can be addicted to it too.), and a host of many other things.
True freedom comes from God. True freedom is letting HIM lead your life. These kids heard that Friday.
One thing that really moved me was this diamond shape in the floor. It's holes they cut into the floor. The people would stand in it or kneel while they prayed. They considered themselves at a cross roads...because of the shape inside the diamond. Aren't we at a cross roads when we pray? It's a road that connects the earth and our heart, to God the Spirit? Physical meets spiritual as we pray.
God is real. He's been around since the beginning because He made it all. He is history. I hope that everyone will one day hear about His great love for them and allow Him into their hearts. I hope you enjoy these pictures, because it was a honor to sit in this church and hear the rich history of a loving Father who watched over His oppressed children.
I hope that African American people will know that as whites, most of us are ashamed of our ancestors and how they treated your's. I pray that we will break down these walls and start living and loving each other as children of God, and nothing else. The color of your skin does not change how God feels about you and it shouldn't make us dislike each other.
As the lady said to the kids, "You are not more important than anyone else." She spoke up about bullying and racism. I agree with her. Some of my best friends are different races. Your skin color doesn't matter to me at all.
It's my prayer that people will put God first in their lives. Because when they do, everything else falls into place.
Search through history and see all of the many wonders of God.... how He is there for it all. God bless you today and always.