On Sunday we had a memorial service at GSF Chapel for Joyce, and 18-year-old GSF girl who had moved out of the orphanage two years ago. Joyce died on July 9 following several complications from HIV which she had struggled with her entire life. Joyce came to know Christ at an early age at GSF. During the memorial we heard testimony of how Joyce loved the Lord and desired to walk with him, even more so after she had left GSF. Her bright smile indicated that she was a friend to all.
The memorial went much like our regular services, starting with lively praise music. Many former GSF kids had come back for the special service, so there was excitement like that of a grand reunion in the air, in spite of the loss of Joyce. Near the beginning, a strong cool wind started to blow through the chapel. It was like the refreshing wind of the Holy Spirit telling us that God was present at the service also. As the singing went on it began to rain – a powerful African rain that is somehow different from the rains we have in America. The sound of the rain on the iron sheets overhead was fabulous. With no ceiling or other barrier to soften the noise, the rains literally sounded like wild applause from heaven in the breaks between songs. Then the showers came so hard that it drowned out our voices. Some of those leading the music said it was hard because they couldn’t hear their own voices.
As the din grew all the more, the voices of about 300 people grew more bold as well. Everyone was singing at the top of their lungs, with no fear of being heard by their neighbor. The rain was deafening! Together it was a most beautiful praise as the heavenly angels joined our earthly chorus. And their mighty numbers, shouted through the rain, drowned out our sound as the angels sang.