by Keith Nyce
“Come join us for dinner,” my friend said in broken English. Sitting down for dinner and having
a basic understanding of the language can be interesting. You certainly have a nice evening, but
at the end of the night, you wonder what exactly happened. At Stumptown Mennonite Church, God has blessed us by experiencing many cultures with about 6 different countries of origin in the congregation. “Pastor,” one of our International men said, “We dream of a service in Swahili here at Stumptown.” Believing this was God calling, we began an additional service led by Internationals for Internationals on November 1, 2020.
Currently, the service is in Swahili and translated into English. We are already seeing people find deeper, meaningful worship experiences as they can hear in a language they fully understand and worship in styles that they enjoy. While this is still a new experience for us, we are working hard to move as one church, not two, as an extension of the mission and vision of Stumptown. Sometimes cultures clash, but we can learn from each other. There is much work to be done, but the service provides an opportunity to raise up new leaders. Mumbo Sawa Sawa Yesu akiwa enzini … things are already better when Jesus is on the throne. We are honored and humbled that we have the chance to advance the Kingdom of God in this way.
Swahili, also known as Kiswali, is a common language across large portions of East and South Africa. It is estimated to be spoken by more than 100 million people. The language originates from a Bantu tribal language and also incorporates some Arabic influences. It is the official language of several African countries. Written Swahili uses the Roman alphabet.