Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Today being our last day together in Wa, nothing is scheduled until prayer meeting tonight at Faith. We were originally planning to put the Tanzania squad on the 5 pm bus out of town, arriving in Accra around 4 am; but we’ve decided to have mercy on those who are picking us up, and to give ourselves a night’s sleep, by catching the 8 am bus tomorrow morning. That will limit, or maybe eliminate, our chance to buy knickknacks in Accra, but there will be opportunities in our other locations.

So anyway, just a day to hang out together. I’m surprised at the emotional toll the prospect of separation is taking on us; we’re all going to feel a little disjointed.

One of the pastors in my class has asked if he can come see me this morning at 9; breakfast isn’t until 9:45, so I figure that’ll work. Of course, this is Africa, so he shows up at 9:45. He and I sit in the living room while the team eats. He tells me his testimony of salvation, education, and pastoral ministry over many decades. God has been good to him.

A small group walks into town to buy a few things, but they’re back sooner than expected, with not much to show for the walk; the bakery said they wouldn’t have bread until 1:30. But they got some exercise.

Leftovers for lunch; we’re getting good at that. We learn that salted yam fries taste really good dipped in mango sauce. I’m pretty sure nobody’s ever tried that before.

The morning walk group tries again in the afternoon, going back for bread and eggs. And carries them—7 hot loaves of bread and 18 eggs—all the way back to the compound. Will is the egg-man. Then Catherine, Will, Angel, and Katie make the sandwiches for the bus ride tomorrow, and Angel and Katie roast some peanuts.

There’s a knock at the door and Timothy brings us a present from the church at Siriyiri. Two roosters. We’re turning into quite the ranchers. We put ‘em out in the yard. I don’t think the folks at the airport will let ‘em go in our carry-ons.

I manage to catch a little mac and cheese, since it’s delivered just before I leave for class. Tonight is the final exam, and a little, ahem, discussion about the evils of plagiarism. They do pretty well on the final—the guy with the lowest score on Test 1 raises his score 10 points out of 50—and we get them graded and entered pretty efficiently. Pastor Timothy shows up just as I begin to discuss the papers. I describe the plagiarism and talk about why it’s a problem. Timothy reinforces what I’ve said. I note that 7 of them, who are students in the college and know better, will be expected to rewrite the paper and submit it to me by email for grading. The others will receive a penalty of 1 letter grade—pretty light for plagiarism. Timothy hands out the certificates to those who passed the course, and we’re done.

Back to the empty house—the team is at prayer meeting—and I get organized, clean up a bit, and pack. Wistful.

When the kids get back, we have devotions earlier than usual. The singing has an extra energy about it tonight, and someone notes it. Good testimonies, comments, and prayer. Then a business meeting to take care of the logistics of turning one team into two. Joy, Jordan, Robert, Auria, Ellie, and Heather will stay here for a week and then head to Cameroon; Joy will direct the team as they work with Walter and Carol Loescher in Foumban. I hate to miss that; my church supports the Loeschers, and I know him as well from his doctoral work at BJU Seminary. They’ll have a good time.

The rest of us will catch that 8 am bus to Accra, spend the night at the BMM guest house, then fly out tomorrow to Ethiopia (?!) en route to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, where we’ll spend most of tomorrow night hanging around the airport for a flight to Mwanza midday Saturday. At Mwanza, and maybe at Dar, we’ll meet up with Joslyn, a member of the 2010 team who’ll be joining us for the Tanzania and South Africa segments. Looking forward to having her back on board.

Now that all the girls have their dresses, and all the guys have their shirts, we decide to have a little photo session to recreate—kinda—the official team picture. We head up to the guys’ house, where the light’s better, and execute the shoot. For your viewing pleasure:

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Now 7 of us have to pack (I already did, remember?) and squeeze the last few hours of fellowship in before we leave. The Cameroon group isn’t going to see Abbie again until she rejoins us in Johannesburg on the flight home, so this feels a little like the end of The Team. But we’ll be OK.

Sniff.

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Dan Olinger

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

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