Wednesday, June 26, 2013

This is a busy day: the usual 2 VBSes, plus moving, plus taking on responsibility for our own meals—which means grocery shopping, menu planning, and so forth. Susan Knipe has been a jewel of a hostess, and that’s not even considering the fact that housing 7 of us, and feeding all 14, was sprung on her at the last minute. But I’ve been looking forward to Day 4, when the prearranged booking kicks in and we can give her back her regular life. Well, come to think of it, it will take a day or two for her and Bill to extract themselves from the laundry and the furniture reorganization and all the other stuff that our sudden invasion has brought. Locusts don’t just go away without leaving reminders behind, you know.

As was the case yesterday, we need to head over to Delft around 9:15. To those with jobs that start at 7 or 8, that sounds like sleeping in; but it’s cramped, with 7 people trying to get showered (in a single bathroom) and dressed (in a “bedroom” sleeping 5 that isn’t designed to be a bedroom at all) and fed. And people joining from 2 other locations at more-or-less random times. It’s chaos.

But we hit the road just a couple of minutes behind schedule, and when we arrive at Eindhoven Primary, again there’s a group of kids waiting. The vacuum cleaner people stop just about the time we get started—I don’t know whether they’re just done, or they’re being nice—and the opening songs and quick lesson on a piece of Christian armor go pretty well. We use the modular classroom again for story time, and the kids are pretty challenging this time around; we need to use a massive show of force by strategically positioning people around the seating area. I’ll confess that I’m not very good at getting elementary-aged kids to behave; my method is pretty much limited to a dark glare and threats, which of course doesn’t particularly move hearts to loving obedience. So this time I try placing a hand on the kid’s shoulder and whispering in his ear that he shouldn’t be distracting his friend from listening, and I’d appreciate his cooperation. To my surprise, he settles in and appears to listen himself. The proper response to that, of course, is to thank the kid afterward and tell him he’s a champ. But when I look for him, he’s nowhere to be found.

The game of the day is 3-ball baseball, using 2 FrisbeesTM and a small sponge (American) football. The kids seem to understand baseball already, and they love the game. Plus, nobody gets hurt.

The team does the Doctor skit, with Joy as the nurse, Robert as the patient, and a crew of assorted illnesses: sneezing (Jon), vomiting (Will), itching (Auria), and St. Vitus’s Dance (Jordan). At one point Robert and Jordan are both on the floor, convulsing, which brings a similar response by virtually everyone in the crowd. Oh, and they break one of the chairs. It’s a sturdy metal model, too.

The small group time at the end goes generally well. One of the groups (Jordan’s) has a bunch of delinquents in it, and I escort one of them out of the building and send him home early. The rest seem to cooperate grudgingly after that. But 2 girls in 2 other groups express great interest in salvation, and Joy and Heather deal with them for some time. Their final judgment is that the girls really don’t understand yet, but the Spirit does appear to be working in them, and they are referred to Pastor Bill for follow-up.

We run back to the Knipes’ house for lunch (hot dogs!) and then, as usual, head to Beverley Park / Eersterivier for the second VBS of the day. I drop my van load off and then set off on some other business. One of the team members lost her passport, and as we were preparing to set up an appointment at the US consulate to get a replacement, I got an email from an employee at South African Air saying that it had been left on the plane and found. So we’ve made an appointment to go to the airport and pick it up, and 3 of us will not be working the VBS this afternoon. The trip is uneventful because successful.

Leaving the airport, we have a little time before supper, so I decide to go by the office at our guest houses and get signed in. We’re using the Keurboom Guest Houses in Kuilsrivier, which I used last time I had a team here (2007) and found very good. Linda Otto gets things right, and at a good price; I’m putting 14 people in houses, much nicer accommodations than your mid-priced hotel, for about $14 per person per day. In Cape Town, that’s quite good. If you need a place to stay in Cape Town, I strongly recommend www.keurboom.co.za. Tell Linda I sent you; it won’t get you a discount, as far as I know, but it’ll make me feel really good. 🙂

To my surprise, she’s put us in the same 2 houses we were in last time, and her son’s fire-engine red 1968 Mustang convertible is still in the garage at #1. It’s a beauty. The 5 guys will be in the 5 beds in #1; 2 bedrooms with 2 single beds each and a shared bath, and 1 master suite with a queen-sized bed and a private bath. Once again I’m in that one, and this time, Nate Smith, I don’t have to share it.

Five of the girls are in an identical house next door, and Linda has given the 4 others half of the next house for a cut rate. Full kitchens and spacious living rooms in each, and each with an indoor braai (charcoal grill) and a picnic area in the small fenced back yard. This is a really good situation, and it’s a fitting way to complete the spectrum of our living experiences in Africa.

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While the kids are moving over from the Knipes’ house, Angel, Joslyn, and I go on a grocery-shopping rampage. We get a cart full of stuff—chicken, potatoes, rice, cereal, milk, vegetables, ice cream, bread, PBJ, and other stuff I can’t remember right now, in quantities to feed the whole crew, for just a smidgeon over a hundred bucks. I’m very happy with that, mostly because I like it when we come in under budget.

Back at the houses, we’re moved in, and we get a quick bite of supper—grab whatever you can find and feed yourself, y’all—and head for Wednesday night prayer meeting. Jordan’s preaching at Tony Payne’s / Bill Knipe’s church, though they’re meeting in a private home; Robert’s preaching at Kevin’s church. I’m at that one, and Robert does a great job with a survey of the key biblical passages on visions of the glory of God. The other crew says Jordan does well too.

Team devotions and quick meeting in our new living room, and we’re done for the day. Everybody’s pretty happy with the digs, and we have a day off tomorrow: sleep in some, and get a casual start on a trip to a historic site a couple of hours away. I could tell you what it is, but I’m already planning to do that tomorrow.

To close the day, I do something I’ve been looking forward to for a looooong time. I take a slow, very hot shower, under good water pressure. In the chill air of the house, it’s really, really, really pleasant.

Good night.

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Dan Olinger

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

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