Hello again from Joburg and I apologize for not updating more quickly, for the last several days I have had a bit of a bug and have been laid up in my apartment. For all who knew thank you for the thoughts and pr@yers, I can now move without a pounding head (and other various maladies)!
On Monday my roommate and I started feeling puny, and Tuesday he couldn’t leave the house. On Wednesday we shouldn’t have, and we ended up at a doctor in the afternoon to figure out what was going on. I can usually whine my way through a cold or flu and for a while I thought I could with this one, but it was a little too hard hitting for me to handle myself. The rest of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were fairly bedridden for me, and inasmuch I had a lot of time to pr@y and think about the work we are doing here (when my head was not throbbing too badly!).
With the addition of a couple to our team here there is also an addition of their skillsets to the dynamic as well. Our new teammates speak a dialect of Arabic and are more than comfortable using that here in attempts to build bonds with even more peoples than just the ones we are specifically working with here. This is an awesome opportunity for kingdom development among the many peoples in this area.
To be a reference in size for home standards, an area the size of the town proper of Farmington or Bolivar and with a population of 5 million instead of 10-20 thousand, and it is within this area where our people groups live and feel the safest within the Joburg area. Massive throngs of people waiting to be told in a way that speaks to their hearts not just their ears. Our plan which we hope to get on the ground in the next day or two, instead of just being in the air, is to give the first of several key portions of scriptural text in the mother language, set side by side with the same text in English, to our friend/s. This first portion will be the book of beginnings from creation up to the covenant with Ibrahim. Since the accounts will be similar to what they have learned previously, we hope that they will read unhindered by disbelief. We are earnestly pr@ying that this will be accepted and taken to heart, and that through the hearing, reading, and possessing of the word He will move among the people’s hearts and a CPM will rush through this people.
Last weekend we as a team went to the city of Durban, which is on the east coast bordering the Indian Ocean. We went to inquire about future expansions of our work to that area, and if there is a need for the ESL classes, which there is, and in what sector of the population the need is the highest. We found that although there are not many people with whom we are currently working with there are multitudes of cousins who need to hear the truth of the word. During this trip we went to places where we could communicate with others our age in order to inquire about need, we found and went to the major university. At the university in Durban, main campus I believe – it was huge, there was a Hindu temple right next to a Mosque in order to support peace and unity among students in ZA. It was to the Mosque that we first went in order to inquire if there were any students in need of assistance with English work. After going into the prayer room and talking to several young men who were studying there, I was then taken to the Imam to talk about where the greatest need for our services would be. In our conversation it was important to stress that we were part of an already existing effort and that we had a good rapport within the area we currently work, he wanted to know who and what we were and why we were there – understandable coming from a professor as well as a flock leader. I believe our conversation went well, and I think that there is most defiantly a future for work efforts in the area.
The area of Durban is known for its sunny tropical feel and its beaches that draw in the surfers. While we were there the sun might have come out from the clouds for an hour all told, but we got some quiet time to sit by the ocean and think, after going to the university. I even had the opportunity to have a personal devotion with the sound of the ocean as background. On Sunday morning we woke up early in hopes of seeing the sunrise over the water, but the cloud cover was too thick and it started to rain. The city of Durban was a place that in areas was very wild and dingy and in others the streets were like the streets of Miami, lined with palms and buildings painted in all colors pastel. Downtown in all the tall buildings (most stained from the salt air), every window was different – an array of colors, fabrics, and people. There were clothes hanging out to dry all over the city. We were caught trying to drive back to the place we were staying at 4 o clock on Friday afternoon while downtown. A drive that should’ve taken 6 minutes through crowded downtown ended up taking 35. At times there were groups of 25-50 people crossing our lane on foot during green lights. There were also 20 cars crammed into every intersection! People were even getting out of cars stopped in traffic to continue on their way on foot. Crazy, frustrating, fun, and often hilarious, we just had to sit through and experience it!
Durban is a five to six hour drive from Joburg, and the scenery is predominantly the same until 45 minutes’ drive from the Ocean. It was all highland savannah stretching over the hills with plenty of buttes and mesas thrown in for views. Near Durban were miles and miles of tree farms, all a type of pine, and the tree farms resembled the pine farms along the southern Mississippi, grown like any other crops. Once we descended into the valley, or down to the coast the climate went from high and dry to low and steamy. The humidity was a welcome change, if only for a few days. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to see and experience this part of ZA.
We went from Sunday morning in Durban trying to see a sunrise and being physically fine, to Monday morning the start of this stomach bug starting to hit.
I ask for pr@yer in our work here, for people to hear, see, read, be touched by, accept the Word, and for that hearing to develop into a CPM among our people here in Joburg. Also, there has been some sickness in the family back home and I believe that the whole of them need healing and SP protection, healing, and guidance. My sister will be needing protection as well as SP guidance as she sets off on a journey of her own in the upcoming months, and I pr@y all goes well with that and much learning and growth takes place.
Thank you so much for your pr@yer and support, none of this would be possible without all of you back home and your pr@yers.