South Africa 6 - Hoërskool Sentraal, Bloemfontein
One of the most inspiring moments of my latest South African Tour came on a Thursday morning at Hoërskool Sentraal, in Bloemfontein.
My manager Helena had felt prompted by God to try to put me in two High Schools while I was there. God made the way, and both went extremely well! (In one of my next posts, I'll tell a story that flows from the first school, J.F.)
But this morning, during the assembly, I had chosen to tell the story of my mom's funeral, the first time I every heard worship, and the prayers of a dying mother that have now been answered. We also presented the song that I have written about this, called "There's a Place of Immeasurable Blessing", off the Broken & Complete CD.
As we went into the song, I closed my eyes as I most often do during a deep devotional song, and kept them closed the entire time. The Band played it skillfully, and I invited the kids to sing the "Hallelujah, Amen" parts. As the song wound down, I felt prompted to sing the last "Hallelujah" a cappella. The shock came when I opened up my eyes:
All 1,000 students were on their feet.
Here's how one of the students explained it to me after the chapel: "Well, during your song, after you had invited us to sing with you, two young women just stood up in the middle of the hall, ignoring the spectacle others might have thought they were making of themselves. The reaction was immediate, as many others then stood with them in an attitude of dedication - deciding against peer pressure, and taking a stand in worship. Over the course of a minute, the entire hall was standing up - sure, some of us now standing in the peer-pressure of the moment: to appear to NOT stand in respect and worship of the God that was being honored in that moment."
The Principle, a gracious and godly man, came up afterward, tears, emotional, and so encouraging. He expressed that in his many years at the school, he could not remember a more powerful chapel - it touched him so deeply, and he implored us to come back again someday.
I finally got to hear from one of the girls who first stood - and she explained that in that moment, in that space, God was so holy, so awesome, so worthy of adoration - how could she not stand?