Last Sunday was “youth day” in the Tanzania Assemblies of God; the youth of the church are in charge of the entire service on this day. There is also a “Women’s Day” and a “Children’s Day”. There is no need for a “Men’s Day” since every other undesignated Sunday service in this culture is unofficially “Men’s Day”.
On their special day; it is traditional that the officiating group presents gifts to their pastor/s. At Bwiru Hill Chrisitan Center all of the teachers of the Bible College are also pastors of the Bible College Church; this makes Tim, as Principal, the Senior Pastor.
At the end of the service, all of the youth line up outside the church and sing and dance their way down the aisle to the pastors who are standing at the front of the church ready to receive their gifts. As the youth proceed down the aisle, I can’t help noticing that the lead person is carrying a live rooster. The large red rooster, who’s feet have been tied, is stuffed into a blue plastic bag with it’s feet protruding from the bottom and it’s head sticking out of the top of the bag.
My mind begins to process the fact that there is only one large red rooster at the front of the line and there are no other chickens visible in the approaching line of singing, dancing youth. The implications of the solitary rooster becomes clear in light of the fact that Tim and I are the Senior Pastors and the Senior pastors usually receive a more substantial gift than the rest of the staff.
As I suspected; we are presented with the bound and bagged rooster as part of our gift; the rest of our gift was a large umbrella, a box of fruit and vegetables and two flats of eggs (60). Knowing that our rooster would become a tasty snack for our guard dogs; we left it in the care of one of the teachers at the Bible College who has added it to his own flock. We see “Big Red” each day when we drive up to the Bible College; he seems to be happy in his new home.