Friday, May 31, 2013

White glove. The very words should evoke images of panic and frantic scrubbing. Anyone who has ever spent a semester in the Bob Jones dorms will associate the words with a Saturday devoted to eradicating dirt from every crevice in the room. Being industrious BJ students, we’ve decided to import the tradition–with a twist: an all out cleaning competition. Guys versus girls. Loser buys the winner ice cream (or watermelon if the unlikely event of the guys winning occurs.) Jordan doesn’t eat ice cream and is reduced to some of the best fruit on the planet. I personally have stopped eating bananas in the States. They have no flavor in comparison to African bananas. Any market trip that returns with fresh fruit must be heralded like a conquering hero.

Unfortunately today’s market trip was strictly business or at least that was the plan. But after yelling and waving at a different group of Nasalas and recognizing familiar store owners as they drove by on their motorbikes, Robert, Elly, and Heather’s attention was grabbed by a cooler in a store containing pineapple Fanta, the best pop flavor ever! Tragically the Tanzanian group couldn’t partake in the spoils of the market trip. Sorry Will… But we did think of you while we sipped the cold, refreshing, sweet, tangy, soft drink. Hmm… maybe we’ll get mangoes tomorrow.

Back at the house, Joy, Auria, and Jordan were scrubbing, dusting, and sweeping out the empty bedrooms. Tomorrow will be match 1 of the cleaning tournament. The scoring will be golf style: a point for every dirty object or surface. By training and numbers the girls should dominate the competition, but their house is twice the size of the guy’s house. It all equals out. (I’m still expecting to be bought ice cream next week.) I’ll post the scoring as available.

Both lunch and breakfast were up at the guy’s house since the girl’s stove was out of propane. We moved one of the tables up there to create a dining room. It made for a cozy table setting surrounded by pink floral curtains flapping in the breeze and sheep grazing just outside of the window.

With VBS fast approaching, the cleaning pace accelerated. The girls are almost ready for tomorrow. For now we’ll have to hold off because we have a van to catch. (We no longer use the bus because our group is smaller.) As predicated, we were tested on our Waali song and passed with flying colors! We sang for most of the ride. The songs were in the Africa style leader and choir echoing and clapping. When we arrived at Gabriel’s church in Nambere, the doors were locked and the keys are being kept by individuals who don’t answer their phones. So Jordan, Elly, and Auria led the younger children to the field for games while the older children sat on the church steps.

Did I mention that we were being tested on our Waali? Because Simon had Heather lead all the songs today, even the Waali ones. I believe that the Ghanaians have been conspiring because Janet had Auria do the same thing for the younger group. We each kept the same roles as the previous day to help produce continuity for the kids. Both Robert and Jordan made some adjustments to their teaching styles from the previous day so that the lessons would be more age appropriate. It showed. The kids answered the quiz questions well, and 23 of the older kids stayed behind to talk with Simon about salvation. The lesson for the older kids was on the different reactions to the gospel at Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens. Pray that as Gabriel does follow-up with these children and teens they will continue to be Bereans accepting the truth that they hear.

As tradition the last day of VBS must have a skit. Our short-staffed cast was supplemented with Ghanaians. We performed the doctor’s office skit. Joy was the nurse, Robert the ‘healthy’ patient, Simon sneezing, Gabriel throwing up, Auria itching, Jordan seizing, and Amelia pregnant. The children loved it.

Parting was hard. As the van pulled out, fifty smiling faces chased the van down the road and shouting ‘bye-bye Nasala’ until the dust cloud hid us from their vision.

Our van continued to bump down the dirt road through African road construction (6ft. piles of dirt waiting to be spread across the roads). Though the word “road” really should be rollercoaster, but I don’t want to get in an argument with Merriam Webster. However, I will mention that last night’s rain turned them more into water rides and at one point we derailed our van. The guys had to tumble into the brush to push, shove, and heave the van back onto the road. We didn’t get a refund for our ride, but I’m not going to complain.

When we returned to the house, the power was out. By flashlight, we set the table and enjoyed Mama J’s cooking. I’m of the mind that flashlights are to friendship, what candlelight is to romance. We sat around the table and talked long after everyone had finished eating. Pastor John came in to tell us the next day’s schedule. Seeing how both he and Joy had been to Zambia, there might have been and impromptu Bemba song followed by more in Waali. When the light finally came back on, it found us still sitting at the table laughing and clapping.

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Dan Olinger

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

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