Today is Friday, which in the UAE, means first day of the weekend, and day of worship. The work week starts on Sunday and ends on Thursday. This may take some getting used to!
So, today, our first Friday in Dubai, we went to Redeemer Church of Dubai. It meets in a hotel, uses a banquet room for worship, and 3 smaller banquet-type rooms for kids' church. We arrived about 20 minutes late, which was a bummer, but okay. (It was our first time to drive anywhere on our own, so I guess a delay is to be expected). We got to the hotel, found our way in, took the kids to their classes, and headed to worship! First, we were amazed at how many people were there! Redeemer is only 2 years old and there probably 400 people there! I don't know what we missed, but when we walked in, it felt like things were just getting started. The worship band (a guy on a keyboard, a girl playing guitar, and another singer) was up leading worship. I didn't recognize any of the songs, but they were very "normal." As soon as worship was over, the pastor gave his message then more worship, then benediction, and done .. very much what we are used to.
What I'm not used to is the diversity that we saw. During worship, I took a moment to look around the room and when I did, I just welled up with tears. It. was. beautiful. Soooo many colors of people all worshiping the same Jesus that I know. Some friends from Abu Dhabi described it as "what heaven will look like" with people from every nation worshiping together. It made everything so much more real .. I tend to dance with doubt here and then -- but seeing all of these people from everywhere, knowing what I know, loving Jesus .. not because it's necessarily their country's tradition .. but because it's a relationship they have with God. I love it. I'm not describing it well at all, I wish I had the right words. ... It was amazing!!!
Another great thing about church this morning was meeting people!! Everyone was so eager to greet us! We were invited to a small group, invited to dinner, and given phone numbers in case we had any questions about getting settled in Dubai! I felt so cared about! It was encouraging to say the least. Both girls came out of their classes raving about the new friends that they made ... it was just so great!
.. Okay, I'm so so sorry, I could write more, but I'm TIRED .. I think we're FINALLY settling in to this time zone!! It's 9:00 .. I'm going to BED!