Saturday, June 1, 2013

If you want to make God smile, tell Him your future plans. Our plans as of late Friday night were for a crazy busy Saturday filled with personal evangelism, cleaning competitions, a trip with Simon to see what the hospital was like, and volleyball until dusk.

We prepped for an early morning with an 7:15 am breakfast. About halfway through cleanup, Pastor John came knocking at our door. We assumed he was there to give us more details about the personal evangelism that we were going to do at his church plant in the Water village. However, he sheepishly entered the living room and explained that our interpreters had a previous commitment for that morning. Considering that most of the adults in that area only knew Waali, we chose to forgo that morning’s excursion.

Instead we headed to the chapel to check if the Tanzanian team had posted their blog. While huddled around a borrowed laptop, our thoughts were distracted by a Midwestern accent declaring “What there’s other Nasala in here?” Cathy Bristol, the nurse in a village clinic north of us, walked in the chapel. She comes down every Saturday morning to check her email and to go shopping in Wa. She entertained us with stories from her time in Liberia and Ghana. When we complained about never knowing what time we were going to leave, she told us of a nursing conference that was supposed to start at 9 am sharp. She was there then, but the speaker and the other attendants didn’t arrive for another hour and a half.I guess we haven’t had it that bad.

We filled our unexpected downtime with cleaning. The first matched scheduled to be judged during lunch cleanup. The girls had 3 rooms to be judged, and the guys had only 1. Once the rules were decided on, Joy and Auria headed up to the guy’s house, and Robert and Jordan scoured the girl’s house for dust. The guys announced each of the three problems with the dramatic flare of a Charlie Chaplin film but with the addition of loud exclamations of “Aaha!” A clock, a key holder, and a lamp were either forgotten or recovered in dust from the rest of the cleaning process. Despite the guys having an easier job, they still gained 4 points: dust on the windowsills, clutter in the cabinet, dust bunnies under the bed, and the a random bottle of olive oil under a bed. I’m not quite sure what Jon or Will used that for. The ceiling fan was dusty. However, Jordan argued that he tried to clean it, but it kept making breaking noises. We generously chose not to add a point for the dusty fan. So at 1 pm the score was 3 to 4–girls winning.

With only an hour until we were supposed to leave for the hospital, Simon stopped by to tell us that he had been asked to preach at distant village the next day and needed to get his motorbike serviced. With our second plan for the day cancelled, we initiated match two of the cleaning competition: living room and kitchenette for the guys and living room, linen closet, front porch, and bathroom for the girls.

We cleaned until it was time for volleyball that evening. Like all the volleyball games we’ve played with Ghanaians, they played around us. From time to time we would hear “Nasala” linked to a laughing Waali voice. I feel obligated to name Heather the most improved player. She went from two attempts per serve to one of the most consistent servers. She also had a few good digs that earned her cheers from both sides of the net. Other highlights of note were that Joy didn’t get a foul called for having her hair in the net (partly because Eddie wasn’t the referee) and Robert/Jordan spiked with the best of the Ghanaians.

The games wrapped up early because of a program that evening for the leaders and workers at Faith. On the way back to the house, Mama J called Joy over to tell her that she had put pizza in our oven to keep it warm. Pizza! Two weekends in a row! Mama J is spoiling us. She also mentioned that we should ask Pastor Timothy if we should go to the program with him that evening.

What we get to do something besides clean?!? Let’s do it even if we have no idea what it is.

Pastor Timothy was finishing dropping off water sachets at our house and about to pull his car away, so Jordan chased him down only to find him on the phone. So we waited… The questioned asked. The affirmative given. So when is this thing that we just volunteered to go to starting? 6 pm. It’s 5:55 pm. Hmm… well when in Africa, do like the Africans do.

We inhaled the pizza and changed out of our sweaty clothes. Twenty minutes later, we were in the van headed to the church.

The program was the yearly hand off meeting between new and old church workers. Pastor Timothy gave a short challenge (mostly in Waali). Then drinks and a dinner of rice and beans or goat soup were handed out. I guess we get to be hobbits and enjoy both dinner and supper. FYI–the goat soup was made from Dr. O’s goat, the one we fondly named Lunch. It was a tasty creature, a bit stringy, but I would have eaten more if it hadn’t been for the pizza. The program finished with the previous year’s workers giving advice to the new workers about what did or didn’t work in their role. Once again, it was mostly in Waali.

During our bus ride back, the wind began to pick up, a telltale sign of a thunderstorm. It struck me that we had laundry on the line. As we raced the storm home, a battle plan was devised. Robert, Jordan, Auria, Heather, and Elly would sprint to the clothesline while Joy unlocked the house and opened the side door nearest the clothesline. With an execution that would have pleased Alexander the Great, we collected the sheets and towels into the house moments before the deluge began. If God poured out His Spirit like He poured out the rain in that storm, there wouldn’t be an unsaved person in Africa.

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Dan Olinger

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

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