Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Second day of Eindhoven VBS, and our longest ministry day in Cape Town. We’re at Eindhoven Primary School in time to set up the registration table and then circle up for prayer. There are children waiting when we arrive.

There are about 70 children today. We sing songs with them all together until 10:30 and then divide them into younger and older groups for the memory verse and Bible story. Rachael tells the story of Noah and the ark, which continues the theme of Lost & Found; Noah’s family is preserved, while those who did not believe are lost.

We’re better at getting game time going today, due to our experience yesterday, and our learning from it. The children play robustly and wholeheartedly. I point out one I remember from last year, and Tony tells me that he and his brother, also here, are from a Muslim family.

Back at the house we have PBJ and raw veggies with dip for lunch—with 3 different kinds of PB, including double crunchy and caramel crunch. More choices here than at home.

Then it’s quickly out to Florida / Ravensmead for the second and last day of Cola Wars. Most of the older kids don’t show up today; I wonder if they expected free cola and are expressing their disappointment. But there are a lot of little ones, including a couple who can’t be more than 4 but insist they’re 13. We’ve modified the games to relays and other less threatening ones, so we let the young ones stay.

We decide to take advantage of the fact that the little ones are there by setting up a separate story and snack time for them. Lora and Jojo, who aren’t in the skits to be presented to the older ones, agree to do a little Bible lesson and sing some songs with them. Bill suggests we give them their Flavor-AidTM and cheese snacks first, so they’ll have something to munch on. We get all that distributed and then turn around to find that the little ones have left. Why stay once you’ve gotten the food?

The team does a couple of skits again today, but we move the older ones inside where there will be fewer distractions and where the acoustics are better. The sermon is brought by Bill Meyers, a long-time South African pastor whom I meet today for the first time.

Afterwards we pass out snacks and Flavor-Aid to the older ones and then shower them with candy. We’re a little worried about leaving candy all over the floor. No need for worry; the kids manage to get it all.

Back to the house for supper consisting of the rest of the Knipes’ soup, this time with some of the roasted vegetables added. It’s gotten better every night.

Since this is Wednesday, the Eindhoven church has its prayer meeting at the Paynes’s house. We fill their den, which has a freestanding fireplace burning in the corner, and next to which Tony has kindly reserved me a seat. Aaaahhhh.

Jojo preaches from Jonah, and we have tea and rusks afterwards, along with fellowship. Tony asks each team member to tell one thing they’ve learned this trip, and to my delight they recount the very things that I’ve been intending them to learn: teamwork, God-centeredness, dependence, and so on.

After the church folks leave we end up laughing hysterically at one another; it’s one of those times when everybody is both funny and prepared to be amused. I suspect it’s at least partially driven by fatigue and familiarity as well.

We get back to the house after 10 pm and just head off to bed. A long day indeed, but a profitable and blessed one. From here on out the ministry tasks get less frequent—just one a day most days—and we begin to wind down toward home.

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Dan Olinger

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

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