Sunday, June 30, 2013

Last Lord’s Day in Africa. We’re up, washed, dressed, and fresh-faced. We’re in two churches today, and both of them start at 9, and we’re ready to go at 8:30, right on schedule. Joy wants to use the GPS, so I tell her it’s already set for Eindhoven, and away she goes. I load up my van and head for Immanuel in Eersterivier.

It’s just as I arrive at the turn into Beverley Park that my brain explodes. Beverley Park!? I’m supposed to preach at Eindhoven! And Jon’s supposed to preach at Beverley Park! And I sent them off with their GPS to the wrong church!

I swear, Cape Town has made me stupid. This is about the fourth boneheaded thing I’ve done this week. Anyone out there want to lead an Africa Team?

So we go into problem-solving mode. I can’t call Joy, and it’s really too late to change anything now anyway. They’ll realize my mistake and stay at Eindhoven, and we’ll do Beverley Park, and everything will be fine. We drive up to the church, I explain the problem to Pastor Kevin, and he calls Bill Knipe to tell him what’s up. Bill says the other van isn’t there yet.

Hmmm.

Maybe they’re just not there yet, or maybe they’ve turned around to come here. What do we do in the meantime? Well, we can’t leave Kevin without a preacher, so we’ll stay here until Bill tells us the other group is at Eindhoven, or until they show up here.

At 9:00 sharp, they show up here. Well, we’re gonna be late at the other church. Into the van we go, and I stay right up at the speed limit all the way. We arrive at Eindhoven at 9:22. We walk into the classroom where the church meets—there are two other churches meeting in the same building at the same time—and the look of relief on Bill’s face is noticeable. Joy never got to Eindhoven; they turned around as soon as they realized the mistake.

So. Time for church. They start the service, and it proceeds normally. Catherine plays a violin solo, the team sings, and I preach. They have Sunday school after church, and our group runs that. A special delight is that two of the girls from this week’s VBS, who both showed strong interest in the gospel, have come this morning. Several of our girls spend time with them.

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After church we return home and compare notes with the other group. Everyone is nice enough not to state the obvious—that I’m losing my mind. They must be thinking, “It’s only 6 more days; maybe we can outlast him ….”

We fix chicken stackey-uppies for lunch. It’s a dish Beth served us at Tumaini (Cheers, Beth!), and we almost replicate the special sauce. It includes ketchup, and that varies quite a bit between countries, so it’s not an exact match, but it’s good anyway.

At 2:00 the Cameroon group heads for Guguletu; we all go together to the Grahams’ house, where we learn that Eric has already left, thinking he’s meeting us at our house. Oh, good grief. Katie Graham calls Eric, and we arrange to meet partway. Joy, who’s driving, is a little unsure of the meeting location, so I agree to drive along in the other van to make sure they get together. In the meantime, the rest of the team is planning to work on crafts materials for this week’s VBSes.

So off we go. We find Eric just fine, and I decide, since I’ve come this far, I’ll just go along to the VBS and service. Back to the Scout Hall at Guguletu, where we had the service last Sunday afternoon. We’re half an hour late, but no harm done. The crowd is a little smaller today than last week, but there’s a good spirit in both the children’s program and the worship service. Robert leads the singing, and Jordan preaches.

After the service we return to the Grahams’, where they feed us pizza and popcorn and garlic bread and chocolate no-bake cookies and dessert bars and soda. It’s American night at the Grahams’! And we finish up all the craft materials for the whole week, as well as planning who will be at which location (we’re running 2 VBSes several miles apart simultaneously), what the responsibilities on each team will be, and what games and stories and crafts will happen on each day. These are some of my favorite times on these trips—sitting back and watching the team function as a team, identifying and assigning the tasks and putting it all together. With simultaneous programs going on, we have to coordinate who has what equipment on which day. Eric tells us he has a big ball; I laugh out loud, and then explain what we did to the big ball in Ghana. (Boy, that seems like a long time ago!) Eric says we’ll be indoors, so it should be OK.

We’re at the Grahams’ until 9:30, even working in a little singing and a little foosball before it’s over. We’re tired when we get home, but not as tired as last night, so we have a slightly attenuated devotions and then head for bed.

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Dan Olinger

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

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