Men Dancing Goma Stick Dance At Maulidi Festival,... | Christ is Savior and King

Christ is Savior and King

Daughter of the King of Kings, wife and mom.

I was raised in a Catholic home and started doubting all their teachings as an older teen (19). I proceeded to denounce my religion and God’s existence. I hated anything Christian as I associated it with my childhood. As a kid I was a loner and preferred my own company over that of anyone else. I thought being a good person meant being perfect and doing everything I was told to do. In middle school I was diagnosed with depression and began to cause harm to myself. I never learned how to handle anything in a healthy manner and led a very destructive and angry life. I found out at 17 I am adopted and that caused a downward spiral that lasted for months. My life didn’t really mean anything to me so I read up on and studied Taoism, Buddhism, Voo-Doo, various forms of Wicca, and Satanic rituals. At one point I even withdrew from all religions and decided there was no god at all. I was raped at knife point when I was 21 and spent 7 years blaming myself and living in a dark void. I have always struggled with depression and self-mutilation and things just proceeded to get worse. During those times I was out partying and taking home guys I just met. I drank until I couldn’t stand straight, smoked weed at every opportunity, defied authority. I got my tongue pierced and was thinking about getting tattooed. I spent days feeling worthless, hating myself and the rest of the world. I became suicidal at one point and was hospitalized after overdosing twice. I started dating women and took pride in being lesbian. I was abusive and violent. I was self-destructive and self-mutilating for years. I felt alone and didn’t know where to go or what to do. Every minute of every day became a struggle for me. After getting pregnant and being left by the father I started going back to my habit of self-harm. At the time I was living with my parents (at 24 yrs old) with my daughter and they wanted me to be a stay at home mom so that’s what I did. Because of this, I had no transportation and the only church I could walk to was the one I was raised in. I started going there for a little while but it didn’t feel right. Not because they weren’t accepting or anything, it was more of a sense of me being there was wrong somehow. When my daughter was two I moved out with my daughter and lived in an apt. I had a Bible stored somewhere in my apt and after meeting and having a religious debate with my now husband I dug around until I found it. Every time we spent time together he would encourage me and though he didn’t try to change me he always made it clear where he stood in his faith. He didn’t judge my life he corrected and taught me with love. I started feeling Christ drawing me closer and closer. I went to church a couple times with him and it was the second church we went to together that I felt like I was home. I knew that was the church I needed to be going to and that’s where I gave my life to Christ. Yes, I am born again. The evidence of my faith was unquestionable. I had no desire to spend my weekends drunk and I walked away from my “friends” because I wasn’t who I used to be. I no longer enjoyed the life I had. My focus turned to God’s word and I couldn’t get enough of it. I was always asking questions and seeking explanations of things I didn’t understand. I spent less time trying to get the approval of my parents and more time just being who I am and becoming stronger in my faith. Today, my faith is my life and I want nothing more than to have people see Christ through me. I don’t care about material things or getting the approval and recognition of men. I want to please God.
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Men Dancing Goma Stick Dance At Maulidi Festival, Lamu, Kenya by Eric Lafforgue on Flickr.

The festival of Maulidi takes place every year in Muslim-majority countries during the whole third month of the Arabic calendar, alleged date when Prophet Mohammed was born. In Lamu, Kenya, a small town on the eponymous island, 99% of the population is Muslim. And this particular celebration is important. It brings together thousands of worshipers from Kenya as well as from other parts of East Africa, the Middle East and other parts of the world.
The introduction of Tariqa (a school of Sufism) by Ali Habib Swaleh, a Comoran Shariff is the reason why Lamu became an important religion center on the XIXth Century…and still attracts many people from the Comoro Islands. Maulidi climaxes during the two last days, when the Mawlid (religious poetry) are being recited incessantly while the men and young boys parade from Swaleh’s grave to the island’s main Mosque Riyadha in a colorful procession.
Maulidi is famous for its boat races taking place close to the seashore and donkey races in the streets, which put the city in a fever of excitement during a few weeks. There is also this strange dance with a stick called Goma: White djellaba-dressed men standing in a row sway a walking stick in front of them, to the hypnotic rhythm of drums.

© Eric Lafforgue