Well hello my darling lurking lurkers, how are you doing? I am doing quite swell. The weather is nice and sunny here in the land of wooden shoes.
Last week I was trying to reset my brain from the negative experience I had at 2nd Easter Celebration at the Indonesian Embassy in The Hague. Instead I focused on the upcoming weekend, in which we had another festivity to cater the church-goers. For on Saturday, one of our Indonesian pastors from Manado would celebrate his birthday, along with about 300 of his guests in my Indonesian church in Amsterdam. And then on Sunday we’d have our “regular” service scheduled.
I always thought that when you want to plan a big event, it was best to prepare oneself months ahead. This way you avoid stressing out and you can also create a back-up plan just in case things don’t go as they were planned originally. But these Indonesian church people don’t plan a month ahead. They prefer to call you 3 days before the big event takes place and to then arrange a set list that consists out of praise and worship songs suited for a birthday service, a program filled with guest appearances by all sorts of singers, along with some graphics to present all of this to the crowd in the form of Powerpoint Slides and some promotional graphics that could be liked-and-shared throughout social media. This, while also having to provide almost similar things for the Sunday service.
Which shouldn’t be much of a problem, if people wouldn’t be on your case every hour of the next days. Calling me at 2AM in the morning before the band gets together to practice, because they had just come up with yet another song they would like to hear during the Birthday service. The only day the music team could get together to practice for both events on Saturday and Sunday, was on Friday. Luckily most of the songs we’ve played before.
We would be singing with 5 vocalists this time, all dressed in unison in an outfit we had worn during Easter last week. A handmade dress with a strange yellow cape sown onto it. With high heels. I personally wasn’t too fond of it. But the old lady who made the outfits for us was so proud when she saw us with Easter. And the pastor who had his birthday really liked the outfits too. So, for them we agreed to look like Batwoman’s sickly sisters for one more day.
We also agreed with everyone to gather earlier than we usually do at the church. So we could take the time we needed to prepare the dining hall and the congregational seating area. Once we got there, my sibling and I helped the tech-guy with installing necessary machinery for the service. Machinery such as a computer and a projector, sound-systems and microphones, and so on.
Eventually all band members were present and all were plugged in. We had done a sound check, despite the fact that there were still 3 singers missing. Later I discovered those 3 singers were having chit-chat downstairs in the dining hall with a cup of coffee… While we were already running 15 minutes late. But 15 minutes late is not late in Indonesian terms. The act of showing up or starting up late, known as being “jam karet” in Bahasa Indonesia, is completely normal.
By the time the entire music team was present on the stage and the church guests were seated, we still hadn’t appointed a Worship Leader. But that didn’t matter. The pastor looked at us and nodded that we needed to start the service. Our keyboardist began playing the first notes of the opening song, while one of us singers asked for the congregation to stand up and sing with us. The rest of the songs we did went by like a dream. Every singer did the lead in 1 or 2 of the 6 sings we sang during the service. Followed with the Word of God brought by a guest speaker.
And then it was time for the second part of the Birthday service: Performances by all sorts of singers. But who would present those acts? Well, after some confusion I decided to just present the acts myself after act 4. Act 4 was a surprise performance by myself and 2 other ladies from my church. There were 7 acts in total, with the last act being our church’s own choir. And after that, we allowed the birthday boy to have some stage time of his own. He was swallowing his tears of joy, thanking God and everyone who made that day possible. He ended his speech in a song.
Just when he had finished his last notes and wanted to return to his seat, accompanied by cheering and applause from the crowd, I stopped him and asked him in front of the whole church to join us in singing the final song of the service together. With tears in his eyes he nodded and together we sang the last song.
The Birthday service was over. The next section of the party would continue downstairs in the dining hall, with loads of food and an open mic.
Lots of people complimented us about how well organized the celebration was. How they had enjoyed the entire service and how well the band sounded. I guess we are blessed that we have such gifted musicians in our team, who are able to memorize a song in just a day. And how we can just put on a big old smile, despite the fact we don’t know what we are doing. Just as long as it looks like we know what we’re doing to those on the outside, it’s all good. All glory to God.
And the next day we could do it all over again. But you know what? It’s getting less stressful to do all of these things in a short period of time. In fact: It was fun to get the job done in such a short period of time. It was mad good. I love doing this and hope to be doing this for the rest of my life, God willing 😀
That’ll be all. Good day lurkers!