Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tired. I sleep uncharacteristically late, and when I get up, the house is still pretty quiet. We finally have breakfast at 9:30—Auria & Catherine fix scrambled eggs and toast, and we’re civil but generally quiet. I am amazed at how fast we’re going through that peanut butter. We’re on a pace for a liter a week. It’s very good.

A couple of the kids want to hit an ATM today, to be sure they have the funds to pay the tailors. So about half the crew disappears down the road, all by themselves. They’re becoming independent. Makes me feel so paternal. They’re gone until lunch, or a bit later; when they get back, they’re considerably more lively, and they all want to tell me some story about how Joy got herself a husband, or something. To make a long story short, the proprietor of a purse shop offers to bundle her brother in with the purchase price on a purse. By the time the kids leave, she’s calling Joy her sister-in-law. This is one strange continent.


Since the rest of us aren’t sure when the travelers are returning, we decide to go ahead with lunch rather than wait for them. The 220 power is out again, and stays out for most of the day. That means both the refrigerator and the chest freezer are down, and there’s a big ol’ chunk of ground beef sitting in the fridge, so I decide to brown it with a little onion, pepper, and garlic powder and serve it over two kinds of Mama’s leftover rice. And we’ll have another ice cream for dessert. We’ve just finished when the rest of the team shows up.

This is day 4 of VBS at Faith. I’m glad we’ve graduated to this longer format; this is what we’ll be doing in Cape Town in 3 or 4 churches, and we’d like to be experienced when we get there.  The size of the crowd has grown every day; there were 115 in just the younger group. I’m glad we can overwhelm ‘em with raw numbers.

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Jordan tells me that on the way home, they have 42 people on the bus.

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Class goes well tonight; the lights flicker but stay on, and we enjoy discussing a number of  controversial issues frankly, with recognition of cultural difference. Since the topic of the evening is worship, we address a number of related issues—hand-raising, clothing, music, applause—and despite a variety of opinions in the class, we approach it all with grace. I emphasize the need for unity in worship—the effort we need to make to worship in ways in which all can participate with joy and clear conscience. It’s exciting to see these men and women work together to prioritize and understand the Scripture.

When I get back to the house, there’s a vocal game of Dutch Blitz going on, and Jon is right in the middle of it. Meanwhile, several team members are working on a craft project for VBS. They’re making hearts out of construction paper, with the words “The love of Jesus is so wonderful!” written in English on one side and Waali on the other. They want enough for each child, so there’s a bunch of tracing and cutting and writing, and pretty soon everyone’s involved.

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And that, my friend, is how the day ends in Africa. Laughter, common cause, loving your neighbor. It’s a good recipe.

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Dan Olinger

Chair, Division of Bible in the BJU School of Religion.

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