Friday, January 23, 2015

23 January 2014


It is January 23, 2015 and we are completing our last few days in South Africa. The days  leading up to our departure date were crammed with last minute things that needed to get done.

We came to Cape Town on assignment to replace a couple whose mission had ended and who had worked in the mission office. One of the assignments was to be in charge of vehicles and housing. 

When we arrived there was a dire need for 4 new flats - 3 for the elders and one for a new couple coming in the 1st of February. We quickly found that apartments were in very short supply here in the Cape Town area. Almost all our leads were found on the internet and handled by an agency. We immediately began attempting to make contact with them but by the time we were able to do so, most of time the apartments were gone. The agencies are so swamped with those wanting to view the flats, they adopted a style of showing the flats for a specified time, generally a half hour. So everyone who is interested arrives at the same time, submits an application and then waits to see if they have been selected. There is no such thing as first-come, first-served; it is totally a selection process by individuals you have not had a chance to meet. As a consequence, we have had to spend a lot of time searching, driving, looking, and making application. We have just secured the last flat required which allows us to be able to leave things in good order for the couple replacing us.

Next week Paul and Kathy Wheeler are coming to Cape Town from Port Alfred who we want to spend time with – they want to do some of the same things we do to finish our bucket list. We did not expect that we would get to see them again before we left so we are grateful to be able to spend some time with them. Robbens Island and Table Mountain are on that list – a couple of other things we know will not get done.

As we reflect back on the time we have spent here in South Africa, we remember those whose lives we have helped change forever. We are truly grateful for those opportunities. There are many others we interacted with that, unfortunately, were not willing to make the commitment necessary to make that change in their lives. It hurts to watch them continue on in a state of complacency or indifference. They have nothing - no place to go when the sun comes up, no objective for tomorrow but yet they are content. It is an attitude that is foreign to my mind. However, one has to understand that that has been their way of life and those before them for several generations. It will take time but by working with the younger generation, hopefully attitudes will change.

We have been able to see country that we never ever considered seeing before we came on our mission. We have met people whose culture is, in many ways, much different than ours. We have watched and interacted with them in their worship services and come to admire their humility, sincerity, devotion to God and their testimony of the gospel. Their ability to sing, with or without accompaniment, is amazing. Many times it is spontaneous as they wait for a meeting to start or someone to arrive. It is perhaps these aspects of the South African people we will miss the most. As always, there are those you have especially drawn close to that will be missed but overall, they will all be missed because of the impact they have made in our lives.

Our understanding of the Saviour’s commandment to take care of the poor and needy has developed with a clarity that we never would have gotten without this mission- for that alone we will be eternally grateful. Never have we had an opportunity to interact with so many  young missionaries and to witness their ability to lead and to teach. There are many that I would have unwavering confidence in to do whatever task I gave to them. The depth of their maturity, wisdom, and common sense is something I have never been able to appreciate before (there are also a few that you have to wonder how they ever found the airplane they got on to get here).

So, in summary, we are grateful for the spiritual growth that we have experienced here and the memories accumulated these past 18 months. We hope to do it again somewhere else in the Lord’s vineyard.

We express our gratitude to our children and their family who made it possible for us to go on this mission; for caring for our house and property, for their spiritual support, we thank them for everything. We know that there are blessings – rewards given when you are in the service of the Lord. And we hope that, in some way, each family member, immediate and extended, has drawn closer to the Lord as a result of our service. We have missed each of you. 

Look for one more post to be posted.

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