Sunday was "Thanksgiving Day" ("День Благодарения") for several local churches. This is a holiday that all churches in Moldova celebrate, but some choose to do it at different times. It is sort of a celebration of the harvest, like we do in America.
Slavik's church, which I normally attend, was doing a joint service with another Baptist church and we went because Slavik promised an exciting service and some Romanian for Joni. Well, he was wrong about the Romanian, but the service was incredible! It was done differently than most services here in order to attract visitors.
You can see the decorations in the pictures, notice the elaborate grape bunches made with balloons. Many people brought fruit and vegetables, which were put up front as decorations. These were later distributed to 2 orphanages in town.
Coolest of all, they had a real jazz band performing much of the music! Piano, trumpet, bass guitar, 2 percussionists, a one-armed pan flutist(!), and a lounge-style singer. They were great! We took a short video of them, so you can watch it an get an idea of what it was like.
They sang a secular song about Fall, as well as some praise stuff. Even the old grandma-types were clapping along!
The churches' combined choirs dressed in traditional Moldovan dress and led some singing. There was also an "interpretive movement" sketch to the Jaci Velasquez song "Flower in the Rain." (This was actually the low point of the service for me-- there's no way you could understand the interpretive movements without understanding the English lyrics of the song, which few people there could, and it even had American Sign Language in it... why?). Very progressive for a Baptist church here!
The songs and sermons also featured PowerPoint animation that went along with the main points. These were hugely effective in holding peoples' attention, and looked really professional.
There was only 1 sermon, and it was a very thorough presentation of the Gospel, which several people raised their hands at the end indicating they wanted to receive.
Joni didn't understand much, but she had a great time. Probably the most fun church service we've been to in a really long time.
_____________________________________________On a different note, many of you have asked about when Joni's blood test will be so you can be praying. It will be tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 8:00 our time, which is 1:00am Eastern time. Please say a prayer for her before you go to bed tonight! We'll post once we know any results. Thanks!