August 31, 2013
Angie, who has the spiritual insight in this companionship, has suggested that perhaps a few words that reflect that we do more than go on sightseeing trips would be appropriate lest some get the idea we have forgotten what we are here to do. The truth of the matter is that our manager has not fully taken off our leash and muzzle and allowed us to hold the workshops and training we want to do with the natives; hopefully that will get resolved next week. But we have had the opportunity to meet with a number of leaders and units to wave our flag stating “here we are”. Another handicap here is that 95% of all meetings are held on Saturday and Sunday, during the day, since most refuse to be out and about after dark for fear of being molested in some form. We do see a great need for the work we hope to do and are anxious to get at it. (Hope this straightens out any misconception that may have been conjured up in any of your minds).
September 1, 2013
Last night was a stressful one for us here in the mission field. About 9:30 PM, we received a call from a member of the KwaNabuhle 2nd Ward, (located in one of the township wards about 40 miles from Port Elizabeth) whose car was stalled on the highway somewhere between Port Elizabeth and his home. He apologized for calling but had tried everyone else he knew and could get no help and did not know where else to turn. He wanted to know if I had a tow rope and could come and pull him to his home or some place where the car would be safe. I did not have a tow rope but offered to take him and his passenger’s home where he could hopefully find someone who could help him. He said thanks but that would not work because if he left the car for 10 minutes there would not be anything left to come back to.
You have to remember that the very fact he was from a township means he has very little money and therefore, to call a tow truck was not an option for him. To even own a car sets him apart from 95% of the others there so he is an industrious man, one who strives to provide for his own needs and does not lay around expecting the government to take care of him. But now he was in a bind; he could not get help to tow his car and he could not leave it to find help. We felt helpless as we contemplated his dilemma. After some prayerful thought, we suggested that he call the Elders that lived near his town with the hope they could get someone to help him. We still don’t know what he managed to do but he was in church today, although we did not get to talk to him.
Today we attended another ward (the KwaNabuhle 1st Ward) to teach about the principle of Self-Reliance. Can you imagine talking to a group of people who live in nothing more than a shack, 75% of which are unemployed and wonder from day to day what they will do next? And then here comes two white folk from America, all dressed up in their finest, telling them that they need to be self-reliant. We wondered what they were thinking as the lesson was being presented.
We started the meeting by talking about the principles of the gospel, the commandments and promises associated with obedience to eternal laws. As the meeting progressed, we learned what they thought and we were amazed. One gentleman asked, “If someone was not able to provide for his and his families needs, does that mean he was not obedient and therefore God was punishing him?” I turned the question over to the audience to see what their answer would be and there was not one comment made that was in the least way negative or condemning. They, instead, talked about the need to be patient, humble, charitable, faithful and to trust the Lord. We needed to stop taking such responses in order to conclude the presentation. It was an out pouring of humility and trust in the Lord.
We told them that we were there to try and help them become self-reliant and invited them to leave their names and phone number so that we could get back with them to teach them skills and techniques that would assist them in getting a job – the response was great and we left grateful to have been in their presence today.
As we had not as yet taken the opportunity to see downtown Port Elizabeth, we decided to spend a couple of hours on this blustery Sunday afternoon to explore this part of the city. As we progressed west of the apartment, we first came to the industrial portion of the city which borders the port area. Large cargo ships were anchored a short distance from the docks waiting to either unload their cargo or pick up a load. It has not yet been determined what the main commodities of interest are here but one thing is apparent as you travel either in town or on the highways, there is not an abundance of truck transportation. So how & what kind of commodities are distributed is a little perplexing.
Continuing to the west, we entered into the downtown area which contains some beautiful architecture which we attempted to capture in the accompanying pictures.
Further to the west is found the up-scale residences and resort areas.
Large, extensive beaches with elaborate parks bordering them are established between the resorts/residences and the ocean. As we sat taking in the scenic view overlooking the ocean, we saw a phenomenon I had not seen before; large waves were coming onshore but, at the same time, there was a strong wind blowing offshore which plucked the crest of the waves, blowing a mist of water in reverse of their travel.
So goes another day of spiritual growth and adventure in South Africa.