Last Sunday, September 13th was a day of firsts for me. This was first time that I have attended a funeral in Africa, and it was the first time that I have been a hearse driver.
On September 10th on of our former boys died of apparent kidney failure in a hospital in Jos. He had been with City Ministries for several years and was reconciled back to his family last year. He went to live with his father in the village. Apparently he had been sick for sometime, but no properly diagnosed his problem.
The reason I became the hearse driver is that while he died in Jos he was buried in the village, and the village is a 3 1/2 drive from Jos on some of the worst roads I have ever driven on. Since I am the only one in the ministry with a four wheel drive truck I was asked to carry the coffin.
So at 6:30 am on Sunday we all met at the hospital, the coffin was loaded onto my truck along with about eight teenagers to watch over the coffin and we went for a drive. When we arrived at the church the people there immediately took the coffin into the church and the service started abut five minutes later.
The service was much like you would have in the US with a few songs, sermon, testimony, etc. The biggest difference was having someone repeatedly spray around the coffin with perfume to keep things smelling nice. I never noticed any odor. After the service the body was interned at the family compound nearby and then food was served. We started our return journey at 2 pm and were home by 5:30 pm. Not too bad except that the village was only 45 miles away!
While it was good to serve the family in this way I hope that I do not have to back in the near future.