- Grace Lutheran Church of Tomahawk recently welcomed visitors from across the globe, to learn from each other and hear a special gift from their South African guests.
For the second time the Lekubu parish- consisting of 20 villages between Johannesburg and Pretoria- came to Northern Wisconsin to meet with their sister congregation, and share their unique talent of song.
In the South African tradition, the people of the Lekubu parish learned to sing at a young age. So when the group of 65 planned to come to Wisconsin, though many had never sung together, a choir was easy to assemble.
"The quality of their music is exceptional,” says Grace Lutheran’s Pastor Mark, “One would not know that they have not spent years together as one group."
The group’s song is not the only gift they shared. They also brought new eyes and a different view of life to Northern Wisconsin.
“They have emphasized to us how they don’t see children when they walk or drive through Tomahawk, and we explained that’s because [the children] have organized activities. And they said, they challenged us, 'Isn't it better if families spend more time playing together? And if children just play?’…That's a gift that helps us to see ourselves better," says Pastor Mark Ziemer.
Life is quite different in the small villages of the Lekubu parish. From their open-air churches, spilling out onto dusty roads, the sound of choral music fills the air.
"When we are happy, we sing. When we are sad, we sing. When we praise the lord we sing. Through music we express our faith; We extend hands of brotherhood," says Dr. Benjamin Molokoe with the choir.
The choir's concerts helped to raise funds for projects back in Africa. And the experience of listening to them sing helped to bridge two cultures together.
"We become too busy with our schedules and too consumed with all the material things we want. So they challenge us with some of those real gifts; What really matters in life that sometimes we don't see in our own," says Pastor Mark.