In the heart of Parcelles, one of the largest neighborhoods of the Northern shore of Dakar, sits a five story hotel. Bright yellow paint is slowly chipping at the edges while one palm tree rises out of the sand to welcome you in. The hotel sits across the street from a bustling market. People shuttling back and forth below this gold-and-glass inn as buses and horse carts roll up and down in front. This hotel is our church’s temporary home.
Walking through the dark lobby, tiled and poorly lit, leads to an unmarked door at the back. Light spills through the open door where the sun greets you again outside at the base of tilting and twisting staircases. Descending to the left the step tiles giving way to cracking concrete and soft green of moisture in the edges. In front are the stairs that lead to the first group of rooms and the next set of stairs. Ascending the labyrinth of stairs, one two three flights of weaving, from shade to light, opens up to clear sky and one more twist—over the stair-bridge—and into the upper room.
The season and the altitude produce a sweet cool breeze from the large bay windows that line the off white walls and dark purple pillars. The upper room. Our upper room. From our height we can see in every direction. The concrete jungle fades across the horizon and disappears in the smoggy haze of the metropolis. Markets. Apartments. Minarets. We can see everything from this upper room. Our upper room.
Each Sunday morning more and more people are making the climb to the top floor, to the upper room, our upper room. We are renting the space for three hours and we use every minute of it. Chairs set up, chairs prayed over. Floors swept, floors paced in prayer. The gathering grows and we enter into our united prayer. The seats fill in and we begin to worship. What an incredible sound to hear! The voices of men, women and children singing the greatness of our God, the goodness of our Christ, at the roof of our city. Our words of worship echo across the room and the Holy Spirit moves in our upper room.
Each Sunday our theme for this year becomes more and more real: Experiencing the Presence of God Among the Nations. They are no longer merely words on a page that I wrote in December. They are the influencing DNA of our missionary church, a missionary fellowship of Africans gathered together in the upper room. In these days after Easter looking toward Pentecost we are living the book of Acts!
How could we have anything less than deep, rich expectancy at what God is going to do?! Thank you for climbing those stairs with us. Thank you for lifting us up in prayer and dreaming with us of unreached peoples reached with the Gospel! Thank you for waiting with joyous expectancy at what the Lord has done, is doing, and will do in the days and years to come!