Sunday, May 26, 2013

We start early; all four guys are told to be ready to jump on a motorbike and head for a church plant between 7 and 7:30 am. Will’s the first to go, with Pastor Joshua to Diesi, where we did a VBS a week ago. They give him some yams in appreciation; we’ll put them to good use for lunch one day this week. Jordan goes with Gabriel, one of our VBS colleagues, to a church we haven’t been to before. Jon goes to Siriyiri, on the way to Gbacha, with Simon, to preach for Pastor Abraham. And Robert goes to Busa, with Pastor Alhassan, one of this year’s college grads, who pastors the church founded by Timothy’s father, who is buried there in the churchyard. We’ll all be visiting there on Monday.

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Jordan reports that at the end of his sermon, 3 adults and 3 children raised their hands for salvation. Gabriel speaks with all of them, and they seem to be informed and serious. And so there’s visible fruit. Thanks for praying.

I preach at Faith in Wa, on the church’s responsibility to its pastor. It’s a sermon I like to preach, because I know that most pastors avoid the subject since it seems self-serving. The congregation listens and responds well. The girls do special music, “Complete in Thee,” and Catherine does a violin solo, accompanied by Auria on the church’s completely unreliable electronic keyboard. Apparently sometimes it just randomly squawks. They manage to present something uplifting.

After church there are lots of photos, including one of Mama J with her girls.

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For lunch Joy, Keri, and Auria lug out our 50-lb bag of rice—you can feed a team forever with one of those—and they put together a corn, broccoli, and white sauce mixture to go over it (well, not all 50 pounds of it). It’s good.

After lunch (Ellie and I do the dishes, and there are a lot of them) I check on my livestock (Prov 27.23). Last night we left them tied to trees and grazing, but the goat got loose, and this morning Jordan showed up carrying him. He and Simon had chased him down back by the men’s dorms. Also this morning, the sheep was making quite a bit of noise, because he’d eaten all the grass within reach, so I had untied him and moved him to another tree for a fresh menu. Now we’re not so sure of the tree approach, so Timothy suggests we simply tie their ropes to medium-sized sticks (maybe 3-5 feet long, an inch or two in diameter) and let them drag them around. That’ll give them free run of the place but will slow them down if we ever want to catch them. Seems to be working.

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Time for a nap before supper. A few minutes into it, we get our first rainstorm in a while. We love these things; they cool us down like nothing else.

Mama J brings over our favorite meal—baked macaroni—for supper. There won’t be enough left for lunch tomorrow. 🙂

Church tonight is our last service at Wa as a full team. The girls look great in their African dresses and braids, and the team teaches the congregation “Oh God, My Joy,” which is in their WILDS songbook. They join in on the last stanza and enjoy it. Pastor Timothy takes questions on this morning’s sermon and calls me to the pulpit to answer them. Then  I preach on natural theology, evidences of the character of God from creation (Rom 1.20). That sermon has a lot of science in it, and our science folks seem to be paying better attention than usual. I hope I got it right.

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Since church starts at 7 and typically runs until after 8:30, followed by lots of fellowship, it’s long after 9 when we get back. Team devotions and planning for this week take up the rest of the evening. Since Abbie is staying with relatives in Johannesburg while we’re in Cape Town, Wednesday is the last day the whole team will be together, and we decide to get all the team’s salvation testimonies in by Tuesday night so Abbie can hear them all. Three a night, and we’ll make it.

After we break up, two of the girls—Catherine and Katie—decide they’re done with the braids. It’s quite a project to take them out, and the deconstruction crew is almost as large as the crew that put the whole thing together.

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Dan Olinger

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

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