Friday, April 9, 2021

Tale of a Girl---And a Boy by guest writer Sonia (CLOUGH!!!) Einfeldt


Tale of a Girl… and a Boy (the true story of Mellba and Lee)


There was, growing up in the far-western New York village of Mayville, a small girl with the big name of Mellba Johanna Christina Erickson. Her parents were both second-generation Americans, but Swedish, as well as English, was spoken in the home. Her dad, Anton, was not a learned man, but was known around the town as “Tony the Tinker”. He could fix pots and other broken things. He painted the little statue in the village park fountain. He did odd jobs here and there. Mellba grew up in the Lutheran church in town, but her family were not believers. 


As a teen, Mellba was invited to the Baptist church, where she heard new and wonderful things about the Lord Jesus. She responded to the Lord’s call to salvation, and when she graduated from high school, she applied to Philadelphia School of Bible (PSOB) for further training. She was going to be a missionary! She was outgoing and loved people and fit in well with her classmates. 


Upon graduation from PSOB, she applied to a Baptist mission and was accepted. Her support? Her Baptist church in Mayville had said, “We’ll do what we can.” Her outfit? Her father made her a couple of metal trunks to hold her earthly belongings including a bicycle donated by the Baptist church. 


As she was preparing to go to Paris for the required year of learning French at the Alliance Française, one of her last nights in Mayville, she happened to be riding her bicycle past the parsonage where her pastor lived. There were several young people there, and she noticed through the window a stranger, a tall young man, who caught her eye. Rumor has it that she went in to meet him, very briefly. Then… it was time for her to leave for France. The year was 1936. She spent the required year learning French before boarding a ship for Cameroon. Once there, she was to go inland to French Equatorial Africa. In those days, they travelled by “push-push”, a seat on a frame with one wheel at the bottom and poles for young African men to push and steer from either end. In that way, she made it inland to the country where she had been called to serve and which became her home for many years. Thoughts of the tall young man were forgotten as she plunged herself into learning Sango, the local trade language, and beginning her life work. 


Meanwhile… this tall young man, Lee Einfeldt, a farm boy, had grown up just outside the western NY village of Randolph, NY. Lee was a quiet boy and remembers when someone kept asking him questions one day, he replied, “I dunno. Ask Lynnie (his brother). He likes to talk!” Each school day Lee and Lynn would hitch up a team of horses and ride into school in the village, park the team in the barn of the Baptist parsonage and walk the extra block from Church Street to School Street. And each weekend, the family would come into town together to worship at the First Baptist Church of Randolph, NY. After high school he and his brother Lynn enrolled in Houghton College and his supportive parents moved with their sons to a farm outside Rushford, NY, near Houghton. The family became active members of First Baptist Church of Rushford. Lynn studied business and didn’t enter the ministry until his retirement from IBM, but Lee was focused on missions. 


Details are fuzzy as to why he “happened” to be in Mayville that night at the pastor’s house. A group of youth from his home church had gone there together for a youth rally, perhaps? But Lee had prepared to become a missionary to Africa, to minister the Gospel to those who did not know the Lord. In 1937, Lee, a man of few words, but with strength of body and character, also boarded a ship for Paris, to learn French. His support? His sending church in Rushford promised to supply $35 a month! In 1938, having completed the French language requirements, he boarded a ship for his place of service – French Equatorial Africa. Once there, he met his colleagues … and who should be among them but the short, perky, outgoing young lady who had stopped her bicycle at her pastor’s house the night he was there! They began to talk, having their roots in western New York in common. As their friendship grew, Mellba was a great help to Lee as he began to learn the Sango language. With her experience of a year’s head-start on the language, she was able to tutor him at dusk on walks beneath the mango trees. And it was there that their budding appreciation blossomed into love. Soon, he asked Mellba if she would be his wife. She said YES! 


One problem was that, according to the French law that governed French Equatorial Africa at that time, a woman desiring to wed before the age of 25 had to have her parents’ written permission! Problem: her parents were far away in the U.S. and mail across the Atlantic was slow in those days. Years later, when their daughter Shirley as an adult was looking at the permission paper that had been submitted, her eyes grew wide and she said, “The permission – that is MOM’s handwriting!” Her dad, Lee, smiled his wry smile and gave a slight nod. Mellba had signed in place of her parents and submitted the paperwork! The authorities granted permission to be married. 


June 5, 1939 was their wedding day. They had to first fulfill the requirement of the government ceremony with the Sous-Préfet (local official) presiding. After that, Rev. and Mrs. Lee Einfeldt welcomed friends at a church ceremony and a little reception afterward. 


Lee and Mellba embarked on their honeymoon in the African wild. One of the nights of their honeymoon, there was a lion prowling around their bungalow. Lee had to protect his bride and shot the lion dead! 


Life was not easy in those first years of marriage. Before they could get back to the States for their first furlough, Mellba received word via telegram that both her parents had died, so, after she left for France, she never saw them again. She also developed infection sacs in the gums under all her teeth. ALL her teeth had to be pulled and she had to wait a full 11 months before her mail-order dentures arrived from France! She lost weight down to 90 pounds! 


In 1943 during World War 2, as they headed back to the States for their first furlough, Lee and Mellba had to make a stop in Nigeria at a mission hospital, for Mellba to give birth to their firstborn son, Richard Lee. Later they boarded a troop ship with a naval escort across the Atlantic Ocean, hoping not to be bombed by the Axis forces. On the ship, Lee and Mellba had to be separated, Lee on the “men’s side” of the ship and Mellba and baby Richie on the “women’s side”. They would meet daily at the staircase where there was an opening for them to at least see each other and talk. 


Once back in Africa, almost 4 years later, Shirley Joan was added to their family, and 6 years after Shirley’s birth, their “late lamb”, René Allynn (the middle name a combination of his 2 uncles, Uncle Al and Uncle Lynn), completed their family, being born just in time for the annual missionary conference. Lee and Mellba served the Lord in various towns of Chad and the Central African Republic (after French Equatorial Africa was broken up into separate countries). Their main responsibilities included teaching in a Bible school to train national church leaders and encouraging already-established local churches. Lee also served on the language committee that helped revise the Bible which had been translated into the Sango language. Mellba served as a proofreader for the revised translation. 


They continued a fulfilling ministry in the Central African Republic until 1970 when health problems made their move back to the U.S. a necessity. For several more years they continued translation and proofreading work in the U.S. for the Sango language committee until they “retired” from missions and became the pastor and wife back in Lee’s hometown and home church of Randolph, NY for 10 more years. Lee was heard to remark, “I never changed jobs at age 63 before!” 


After Lee retired from the pastorate, Mellba suffered a massive stroke. After a month in the hospital, she was moved to a nursing facility, but it was poorly managed. One day Lee came home quite agitated after visiting Mellba. He told his youngest son, René (on furlough from Africa in Randolph, NY at the time) that he had decided he would bring Mellba home to care for her. This was a massive undertaking and although René and his wife tried to show him all the reasons that would be a difficult task, he was determined. When they offered to stay home from Africa to help him, he vehemently refused… so for the next 6 years, Lee cared for Mellba, bathed her, fed her, turned her several times a day, so that she never had a bedsore. He showed the community of Randolph what the godly love of a boy for a girl could look like, following the example of Christ loving His church and giving Himself for her. 


-- by Sonia Einfeldt, daughter-in-law of Lee and Mellba
(I truly had the best second set of parents ever!)

Sonia recently borrowed my book Love Letters from Africa by my friend Virginia (Young!) Ross, who went to Heaven in February  at the age of 100 years, 105 days.  I put Virginia's testimony on my blog back in 2010, and it was so fun as someone googled her, and Virginia was surprised and delighted to hear that she was "googleable"  

Sonia was telling me similarities between Virginia's story and her in-laws story also as missionaries in Africa, so I asked her to write it down for me. She went the second mile and put a picture in too.  

Sonia and I met in 2016 at a ladies conference and became friends.  We were so surprised when we learned we have the same maiden name!  Amazing!  But we haven't figured out if we're related.  We also both did time at Bob Jones in Greenville, SC, so we have a lot to talk about when we're together.  She and her husband Rene are missionaries in Kimberley, South Africa right now, though having visa problems.  

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

More Tract-Meet Notes


Paul had 2 boys make a profession of faith today! 


Little girl to Tim alone:  Are you white people?😂


We met several Christians today in Manenberg who are so enthusiastic, and seemed so encouraged to see us reaching out in their neighborhood.


Last week we went to a new place, but we didn’t know the name of it.  I asked a teen and she said, “Guguletu.” Sobered me right up. 

In that neighborhood, three groups of adults spoke to Tim and me saying something to the tune of, “What are you doing here?  It’s dangerous.  You need to get out!”  Then we met those teens, who told us where we were and said, “No, it’s not dangerous here.”  To them it’s just home. 


Skipped a day for tired.  Skipped a day for weather.  Hard to find walkers in bad weather.  

Gugulethu stands out as having some super aggressive kids!  They wanted tracts, and more tracts, and all the languages, and they were willing to rip them out of our hands if we relaxed for a second.  They mobbed around us by the dozens, making sure that we were noticed in case our “height and white” wasn’t calling enough attention to us. 


After Guguletu we slid back into Manenberg for a day.  Paul really had some good talks with people. He prayed with three different individuals or groups.  He talked to a group of boys, maybe 6 of them, and they prayed to ask the Lord to save them.  Next was 2 girls, maybe 10 years old, and then there was a man named Douglas.  They had quite  a talk.  Douglas had just lost his business, and was feeling pretty hopeless.  They prayed, Douglas asked the Lord to save him.  He appreciated Paul's help.


We ran into LOTS of kids that knew Paul from Phoenix High School or Easterpeak Primary School. 


When we were in Guguletu over the weekend, it felt like half the people—more than half the males—were drunk.  I forgot it was a holiday which probably upped the liquid intake.  One (drunk) guy was disappointed in our tracts, saying, “I thought you were giving out vouchers.” 

He recovered from his disappointment quickly, and then pointed out his friends who “needed it” (religion).  Some people love to sic us on their friends as a joke. 

Another guy, also in the tipsy department, said something like, “We are hungry!  You need to give us money for food.” 

Looking at his bulging tummy, I laughed and said, “I think you and I need a diet!”  He laughed too, and sort of agreed. 

Thursday we had a remarkable day:  no one turned ANY of us down for tracts!  Worth noting.  Rare.  Cool!  Thankful!

Paul had a fun moment.  Some guy asked for 50 rand to go with it.  Paul ponged back with, “No, no.  I’m only charging 40 rand for this one.”  The man laughed.  They just have to take a chance that we are millionaires, looking for places to disperse our wealth. 

Usually, when they say they need money, Paul says emphatically that this message on the tracts is even more important!

Another one today, a young Muslim couple was sitting in a little car with a sun roof.  Paul walked up and handed a tract down through the sun roof, saying, “A message from Heaven.”  They laughed and received it with thanks.

Today we were in a very tame neighborhood compared to some places we’ve been, but we still got solemnly warned of how dangerous it was. 

April 2nd we moved to the Port Elizabeth area.  Port Elizabeth has recently changed its name to something very not-user-friendly so I'm being old fashioned and sticking to the old name.  First we were in a nice neighborhood where there were few walkers, so our tract passing wasn't very memorable.  Then we tried a more pedestrian place, but it was rainy so again, we weren't scoring too many.  I was driving, Paul and Tim were hopping in and out of the car as we found little groups.  I did get a few to come to my window, one of whom was a young girl who looked terrified of Paul.😄  

He had several groups of mostly boys listen to the plan of salvation and pray with him.  Now they're on his prayer list for life, I think.  

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Tract-Meet Diary part 2

So many days, all the fun little things that happen just get forgotten. I must try to capture them.

 One apartment complex where we went today said something like, "Just don't go over there. They are shooting.: We went over there. At apartment complex number 2, they said, "Just don't go over there (where we had just been), they killed two people dead!" I laughed, and the little boy explained to me that it's not funny when people get dead, and I was supposed to cry. I was ashamed of myself and tried to explain that I was not laughing about the dead people, but just at the way each apartment complex thought the other was the bad one. 

 On New Year's Eve, we got our spare tire stolen off the back of the Jeep while we were tracting in Nyanga. Tonight, a guy very carefully watched the Jeep for us, he said. Being a tease to the bone, I couldn't resist. "But where's our tire?" I asked. He was concerned. I didn't let him stay concerned for too long, but told him it was already stolen before we got there.  

I love how the Polsmoor  Prison "grads" light up when they see Paul!  There were several today.  

Two girls took my number.  We'll see if they call.  I hope that wasn't a dumb thing to do, giving out my number.


Today (the 9th) Tim had a guy call him over so he could get a tract.  Tim gave him one, noting that the man was drunk.  The man waved a wine goblet at Tim and said, "Take a picture.  Tell Ramaphosa (the SA President) we are thirsty."  

Our current lockdown plan includes no alcohol on sale, which he had obviously managed to bypass.  The banning of alcohol sales has cut out a lot of crime and injuries.

I had 2 cute little boys come for seconds on tracts.  "They did break." was the reason for the second go round.  Apparently someone ripped someone's.  

Paul had a group of boys who prayed, and made a profession of faith.  

An ultra sweet encounter in the street.  Several prayed aloud to be saved.  I rarely take pictures of moments like these, but this time I felt unobtrusive in the car.  

Today I brazenly invaded a braai (BBQ), saying, "I'm crashing your party." I passed out tracts to everyone, laughing, and, thankfully, they thought it was funny too.  Phew! 

Paul ran into an encouraging guy who is an evangelist, street preacher, former gangster, and wanted some tracts.  He watched Paul for a while first, then told someone, "He's a man of God," then came over to talk.  He was a real encouragement to Paul.  

He met a guy at visa and passport place who said, "Hey, I know you.  You gave me some money once."  Paul didn't remember him at all, though it sounded vaguely familiar.  

Hanover Park has been a fun environment.  On Thursday, we saw a lot of little kiddie pools, and a LOT of wet people.  Such a nice community feel there, so many people in the streets.  

Two little girls asked me to pray for them, just a blessing.  Not sure I handled that right, but I did pray.  

It's so helpful when someone recognizes us from Paul's chalk drawing on the front of the "Which Way Are You Going?" tract.  Instant better reception.  Tim also gets recognized from speaking in schools.  


We met a man walking with only one page of the This Was Your Life Tract, reading that one page.  We told him we could give him the whole book, and he was glad to get it. 

I got an arm put around me by a drunk today.  😒  Not my favorite.  Tim was across a courtyard.  I twisted his finger and left.  (Thanks to my cousin Butchie for evasive action training as kids.  It comes in handy sometimes!)  Another drunk rebuked me for offering to touch elbows with him.  He wanted to touch wrists because, "I'm a gentleman," he said.

Paul had three teenage guys pray with him today.  A Muslim guy refused a tract, because he is Muslim, and Paul said, "This is for everybody."  And then his friends chimed in and agreed he should take it, so he caved in and took it, and a few minutes later was praying with Paul.  

I came into one courtyard right after a rock fight that left one boy quite injured around his eye.  The whole courtyard was in a hubbub.   I was nervous of being the recipient of a rock too.  I was wishing I spoke more Afrikaans, though I got the gist of it anyway.  Rocks were thrown, people were mad, and a boy was bleeding.  

Both Tim and I were sore today after our Table Mountain climb yesterday.  Anytime we had to climb stairs to give to people up on the landings, it was rough!  We groaned and moaned and laughed at each other.  

Lots of the kids ask for extras to give their friends, their "ma" (Grandma), or other person.  We have to try to figure out if they're for real or just collecting a handful to waste.  Today one boy brought his back. His Dad said he couldn't keep it as he is Muslim.  One Muslim lady passed her tract on to someone else because she thought she should not keep it.

Sometimes people ask (to be funny) for languages we don't have.  Paul told a man, "Well, the words are in English, but the pictures are in Xhosa."  His humor usually goes over pretty well.  I just love when they ask for Spanish, and I can call their bluff by saying, "Oh, hablas espanol?"  

Paul walked up behind a young man, and startled him big time!  He gasped, "You look like an angel!"

And Paul, I suppose because of an old joke with his brother Joseph, answered quick back, "A good angel or a bad angel?"

The man said, "Good."

Paul:  Why?  

"Because you're so big."

I think I'm never going to hear the end of this one.  😏

The joke:  You have the face of an angel!  A fallen angel!  But why did you have to fall on your face?


Three young teen girls ran giggling inside their house to avoid Paul (rare!) so he circled back later and caught them outside again.  They evacuated again, so he left them tracts outside their home, just in case all that running was just playing hard to get.  

Some people say, "I don't want that.  Give me R100.  I need Money!"  

Paul's response tends to be something like, "Yeah, that's important, but this is a lot more important."  The devil would like us to think we can't give the gospel until we have met all their physical needs.  
He had that today, 

and then... TWO car guards prayed to be saved!  Separately.  

Manenerg was such a cool experience.  We started yesterday, me with nerves, so much crime, and it turned out so well.  Kids came running up the street to see what we had to offer.  Teens recognized Paul from their schools, and some of the girls acted like he was a movie star, "I can't believe it's you!  I can't believe you're here."  Adults came out to see what was going on.  

Manenberg has a reputation for lots of shootings (hence my nerves) but there was a great response.  The last sidewalk group Paul talked to saw several young guys praying to be saved!  They asked for prayer.  (One might have been a Polsmoor Prison"grad").  One threatened the little kids what he would do to them if they dropped the tracts on the ground. 😊

Wynberg dump!  Tim told me gleefully that they added a new destination:  the Wynberg Dump.  There's a bunch of guys that hang out there trying to get things to recycle.  

Lines are a favorite destination!  The unemployment lines, education center, and the Department of Home Affairs attract evangelists like a fly to honey.  Well, maybe only my evangelists.

Paul kind of crashed a funeral this afternoon.  He wasn't too pushy, but did give a lot of tracts.  I'm just not clear on why a funeral was sort of on the sidewalk.  Mysterious.  

Tim's been asked a few times if he's white.  

I liked a question I got this evening, "Are you with Jesus?"  Yes, we're with Jesus!  


Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Eve in Quarantine in Namibia

In August Paul preached over Zoom to a church in Pakistan. We began to be flooded with “friend requests” on Facebook. We got hundreds, and then thousands! It was hard to deal with them all. Paul tended to say “yes” to most of them, to edify or win them. I was picky and tried to read their profiles and make sure they were OK.

If we accepted them, many wanted to talk on Facebook Messenger. It was too much! Hundreds of messages, mostly from people we didn’t know, and many were hard to understand. But we tried. We spent hours on there, though we’re not usually Facebook junkies, especially Paul. Some of the people invited him to preach for their churches. He prayed and asked the Lord where he should go, if he should go, when, and how. He got guidance to DRIVE to Kenya, and be with several pastors and other ministries, and then go on to Uganda to be with a good many more pastors.

All but one of the pastors worked out! Paul had to use a translator a lot, which is different from South Africa, but still we had good meetings. We saw people come to profess faith in Christ. We loved meeting the pastors, and many other people. One pastor told the people, “I met this man on Facebook, and he chose me for his friend!” with so much emotion. I instantly felt so guilty for the people I had deleted. It meant more than we knew.

One pastor, Pastor Jonathan near Kampala, was beat up, perhaps because of being with us. A group of men broke into his home yelling, “Where is the money?” Maybe they assumed we had given him money. They cracked the bone in his forehead with a thick hoe. He was in a coma for over 24 hours, until the doctor operated to relieve the bleeding on the brain. We went to see him the last morning before we left Uganda and were so thankful that he could see a little, and recognize us, and was thanking God for sparing his life.

Another pastor had the most enthusiastic church worship team we have ever seen. It was good and inspiring to be with them in Kamuli, and again at a more rural church. We learned that we do like savory bananas for breakfast, though I didn't get the recipe.

I'm sticking in a "surfer dude" picture of our Grandson Cyrus and a monkey to give some comic relief, and a dose of sweetness.

When we stayed with Lois, we visited a few of her “sons’” churches and saw people we had met back in 2018. Only one is not going on with the Lord, but the others press onward, leading churches, managing a children’s home, and planting new churches.

We had many little crises which kept throwing us back on the Lord. One time a police lady kept my driver’s license after a police check in Kenya. It was quite a procedure to go through all the hoops, and we drove away without noticing she kept my license. I slumped down for a nap, tired from the ordeal, while Paul struggled with the traffic of driving through Eldoret.

As I woke up, I was reliving the whole annoying police episode in my mind, when I suddenly realized she hadn’t given me back my license. We were like 5000 miles from home! NOT a good time to be without a license. I was panicking. And praying! And calming, then thinking, and beginning to panic again. It was a long, slow hour of driving back through Eldoret to try to get it back.

We finally got there, and the police lady was gone from her post. Others kept pointing until we found her. She immediately called out, “You forgot your license.” I didn’t trust myself to speak, but then she said, “I’m so sorry I didn’t get it back.” It’s amazing how an apology takes all the sting out of the mistake! It was “above and beyond” what I expected, and I’m so grateful. I got my license back, and I didn’t say anything wrong! I was grateful for both.

That same day we had a scheduling glitch with our next appointment being impossibly far to make it to on time. We couldn’t get the pastor on Facebook or on the phone. Paul was driving, I was checking the maps, looking for a plan, and we prayed. Then I got the idea to call Gideon, one of Lois’s “boys” who is nearly my age, and ask him for help. He sorted us out in about two sentences! We were heading the wrong way, and the right way was much closer! And also closer to the Ugandan border where we needed to be the next day! We were so grateful!

While we were near Nairobi, we took the Jeep in to be repaired. The place had no parts for a Jeep, but they told us we needed a new cap on the radiator. From the time they looked at it, we began to have problems with that radiator. About the third day, it boiled over three times, leaving us on the side of the road or the middle of the intersection until it cooled! We prayed, poured water, and tried to make it to our appointments. It was a rough day, though we had two really good meetings.

After the second meeting, five o’clock was approaching fast and we began to hunt for a new radiator cap. We had been told we’d have to import one from a Jeep distributor in another country. We prayed and stopped to ask at a Toyota place if they knew what to do. They sent us to a parts place back in the thick of traffic. There we found a radiator cap that did the job! We haven’t had another over-heating situation since! We thanked the Lord!

Another little scare was when Paul started getting sick. No!!!! That is not allowed in this Covid era! Even the sniffles make everyone nervous. And one of his symptoms was feeling gaspy for air. That’s scary on the wife. It turned out to be a cold, which meant days of low appetite, low energy, and those sniffles. We are learning he cannot over-do with impunity. Gradually he got his energy back. He never missed a meeting, but he left one early to get to bed.

God is good! He is faithful! And He tells us to talk of all His wondrous ways! So that’s what I’m trying to do, share some of what He brought us through.

“Who can utter the mighty acts of God? Who can show forth all his praise?” Psalm 106:2 I’m mentioning a few little things, but the big important things are more hidden. “The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation.” Luke 17:20.

We saw people come forward to make professions of faith, and heard prayers prayed. I wondered sometimes why it was Paul who had to come so far. Was he the only one who could do these things? I think almost every pastor we worked with commented on his strength and continued service for the Lord at age 72. Was this what the Lord wanted people to see? So much goes on that we don’t have a clue about. We don’t know all that went on for the Kingdom, but we like what we know.

So now we’re on the return journey. We got a Covid test in Kampala, and headed south into Tanzania after the negative result came back. We had a few adventures in Tanzania, praying each night to find accommodation, and the Lord leading us to places night after night. Our GPS failed us a bit in Tanzania, taking us in exactly the wrong direction, with some idea of going through Kigali, Rwanda to get to Dodoma! It was disheartening when we learned how much time we had lost (about 2 hours), and after that we didn’t trust our GyPSy so much.

When we got to the border of Namibia this morning, we had hopes of quickly getting across the border and buzzing along toward Cape Town. We did the Zambia exit without too much trouble, but immediately on the Namibian side we had a problem. Our Covid tests were more than 72 hours old, and we had to get fresh ones. They told us it might take EIGHT days because of Christmas and the weekend, to get results back!

Finally we learned of a private option that should be much quicker. We got the test this morning, and hope to get the results on Christmas day. Until then, we wait in a hotel room, getting caught up on our blog, letters, and other work while we wait.

I wanted to cry as we began to realize how delayed we were going to be. We had hoped to come squeaking into Cape Town Christmas night, but now we might not even be able to start that way. I prayed one of those profound prayers that our Lord must hear a lot, “Help, Lord!” and the tears went away. He took the sting out of the disappointment.

Both of us confided to each other this morning, that the moment we felt the air conditioning in our room was the moment we thought we could last two days and two nights while we wait for that negative test. The heat is intense with very high humidity, so A/C felt like a necessity. 🎵 All I want for Christmas is a negative test🎵 😊

That's it for myself, but I'm praying for so much more. So many friends and family are hurting because of Covid. The Lord knows. He is in charge. I'm seeking His help for them.

Pictures below: 1. A truck crash involving 3 semi's that cost us 2 hours, but was a great place to pass out tracts. 2. The statue commemerating the completion of the whole Bible translated into Gweru. 3. Paul looking pale. :-)

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Cape Town to Kenya

My foot beside a hippo print.  We saw the hippo in the dark, so didn't get a picture, but just his print impressed me.  


Grueling and Glorious!  Eleven days after we left Cape Town, we crossed the border into Kenya!  Over 7000 kilometers away!  It was crazy to do such a journey in the midst of the Covid problems…crazy, unless the Lord God who created the universe guided you to do it.  I’d have to keep reminding myself of that when the problems and obstacles would mount up in my mind:


--We’re not spring chickens.


--We didn’t have a visa for Kenya.  One website proclaims that visas are no longer available at entry points, only online. 


--We didn’t even have a negative Covid test when we started!


--We were denied entry into the very first country we tried to cross into, Botswana, and we still had at least 4 to go!

(Previously, Botswana was our fastest ever border crossing, accomplished in 10 minutes one time!)


Just because the Lord guided us to go, it was not trouble free.  We had rough roads, a bug storm that was rather thrilling in its rareness, and our tired bodies to contend with.  Our air conditioning was a treat while it lasted, but somewhere in Zambia it deserted us. 


So yesterday I gave a testimony about it in church.  I got blubbering!  The Lord did it! In spite of my doubts and fears.  He wanted us here, and He got us here. 


Every night, we found a place to stay.  Sometimes it was hard because it was after dark.  We’d sing “Guide Me, Oh, Thou Great Jehovah” as we’d squint through the blackness, trying to find accommodation without killing a cow or goat, or worse, a pedestrian. 


The two night in Namibia were memorable.  The first we stopped before dark and had time for a long walk, passing out tracts, in the streets of a small desert town.  It was HOT!  We met a baby meerkat!  And I am still annoyed with myself that I didn’t take its picture.  It bit me, softly, and it was a perk of the trip.  When we got back to our motel, I peeked down a passageway, and found a pool!  “Above and beyond what we asked or thought!”  I guess they don’t tell people about it, because we didn’t know they had a pool, and we were the only ones in there, after dark, letting the heat of the day sizzle away.


The second night in Namibia we had just passed through a bug storm that delayed us a bit trying to clean the windshield enough that we could see.  It was very dark when we found a beautiful place to stay, right on the Okavango River, a place famous for its wildlife.  It was more upper crusty than we usually do, but was a necessity at that point.  The big thrill was a HUGE hippo that was grazing right near where we slept!  I couldn’t get a picture because it was dark, but we got a glimpse of the size of the beast and a new respect. 


We also spent 2 nights in Zambia, and came close to spending a third.  The first night was in Livingstone, near Victoria Falls.  We had a great time passing out tracts as we walked around town in the dark.  People are so receptive.  Many asked for extras “for their friends” and one guy asked for 31 to give one to each of his students! 


In South Africa and Namibia we could buzz along at 120 kilometers per hour.  In the rest of the countries, the max was 100 kph and 50 was a lot more common.  We were thankful for cruise control that helped us obey the limit, until I hit an exceptionally bad pot hole and the cruise control doesn’t work any more.  🙄


Lusaka is a favorite stopping place from other trips, but this time we went through around noon, so there was no stopping that early. 


We kept going until nearly dark, and tried to find a place, but I wanted someplace quiet as the Livingstone night was in town and Saturday night noisy.  It got totally dark, and then we discovered we were only another hour or so from Forest Inn, a place we had stayed in 2012, so we pressed on, anticipating a decent place.  It came with a flood of memories, making me miss the three kids all afresh.  They had WiFi…our last night for it until Kenya. 


We had hopes of making the border of Tanzania the next day, and we did, but it was a grueling day.  They are making a new road, so they had us and 18 wheel trucks use a parallel dirt road.  We’re grateful for our Jeep!  It did fine in the holes and mud and bumps, but it was slow going.  We reached that border around sunset. 


Border crossings are a little scary.  There are so many variables!  This one took a long time, and another good chunk of money, but it went smoothly.  You not only have to get a visa, but travel insurance for each country, permission to “import” your vehicle, and now the negative Covid test.  There can be local taxes, road taxes, and other hoops to jump through.  There’s no arguing, just jumping through each hoop, and trying not to get robbed. 


Paul LOVES passing out tracts at border crossings.  There are so many people, and they have lines to wait in so they might as well read and improve their knowledge of eternity while they wait.  We get in fun chats with people, and several times people have felt the need to give us their opinion of our President (not my fave 🤨).  I get free Swahili lessons too!  At the Namibian border crossing a lady behind the desk told me I didn’t sound American, so I put on my best Southern accent and said something like, “Hey, y’all!  We’re so glad to be here!”  She was charmed, I’m sure.  Paul told me I did cultural appropriation.😁  He’s the only one who knew my accent wasn’t spot on perfect for a Southerner.


The second night in Tanzania we had made it to Dodoma!!!!  Dodoma is made famous in The Jungle Doctor series of books by Dr. Paul White that our family has enjoyed.  The doors say “Sukuma” on them, which means “Push”.  The Jungle Doctor had named his car Sukuma, so that gave us a little thrill, and we had to take a picture of the word the first time we came through on the way to Rwanda in 2016. 


This time we arrived just at dark, after a gorgeous trip through winding mountain roads from Iringa.  We began to hunt accommodation.  We punched in maybe 8 different places that our GPS showed, and we’d work our way through dark, crowded streets, and the things were not there!  None of them!  (I need to write a little letter to Garmin!)  We  were so tired, and  it seemed so impossible after awhile.  Then we saw a place! We pulled in, but it was full.  Dejection!  BUT the girl behind the counter was a sweetie!  I asked if she knew another place we could stay and she called two other places until she found us one!  Then she said it was close, but hard to find, so she sent the gate man to show us the way!  He did a stunning job considering he spoke very little English.  We drove quite a long distance down a sidewalk, but that’s not important as long as we didn't kill anyone.  We made it! 


This was better than the place the night before!  It had a toilet seat!  Both nights together cost us less than $30.00 total, with breakfast included in the one place.  Our hostess was named Sarah, and she was just so sweet and helpful.  Just what you need after a rough day of driving.  We were able to clean up and get organized before we went to bed.  She probably would have given us hot water if we had asked, but we both thought the cold shower felt good. 


We left a little later than our usual 6 AM because of the included breakfast, then had a memorable hunt for motor oil.  I think we visited 4 petrol stations before we found one that had oil, but had such fun doing it.  I asked for oil and got the key to the toilet.  I laughed, and kept pronouncing Oil as best I could, and the guy finally said, “Oilee!”  Yes!   Then he laughed, and I laughed, and the staff inside got laughing at how two such different things could be confused.  No, they didn’t have “oilee”, but yes, they would love tracts in Swahili. 


Tension was building in me as we neared the Kenyan border.  I was driving across the vast plains of Tanzania when I first spotted Mt. Kilimanjaro!  Wow!  Awesome!  Majestic!  And I couldn’t even see the top!  It was covered in clouds.  That was an inspiring reminder of our God’s size and strength. 


We arrived at Namanga around 3 in the afternoon, tense, but hoping in God.  More  than 3 hours later, we finally made it in!!!  The biggest delay was to get a Carnet for the Jeep.  Happy spots were tract passing (though some very aggressive female made a pass at Paul in the midst of that)  meeting 2 sniffer dogs, and meeting a young man who let me use his WiFi hotspot to check WhatsApp.  First time for WiFi since Forest Inn in Zambia so it was a thrill. 


We passed the last checkpoint and burst out singing the Hallelujah Chorus.  And began another hunt for accommodation in the dark.  It took another hour, but we ended up in a nice room, with Wi-Fi!  We slept way late the next morning, at least until 6, I think 😂, had a proper breakfast, not our usual in the car variety, and continued on to the home of Lois Osborne, our hostess, the carrot on the end of the stick. 


We had the rest of that day to rest and DO LAUNDRY!!!  We hadn’t done much since South Africa, and our clothes were getting more use than usual.  It was time!

Lois' s Beautiful Home

The morning after the bug storm, at the Zambian/Namibian border, some helpful baboons tried to lick the bugs off.  I'm amazed they didn't burn their tongues.  


God is good.  We did the impossible because He guided us to.  Now to settle down and reach out to people while we’re here. 





















Sent from Mail for Windows 10


Friday, September 18, 2020

Tract Meet Diary

 August 30:  Clarity turned 3 today!  But that has nothing to do with my Tract Meet Diary.  I just want to jot down some of our adventures.  

 Today a little girl asked me, "Are you a whitey?"  I assured her I was, and showed my blue eyes as proof.  She just asked again, so I assured her I was and quit trying to prove it.  Paul wonders now if that means something we haven't thought of. 

I gave one tract to a lady and she started coughing and vomited (spit?) a few times. Hmmm.  

Paul had one little girl start crying as he gave her group tracts.  She said, "I read the Bible every night, but I don't understand it." And she left, but she came back soon after, and they talked, and she and two other children prayed and asked the Lord to save them. 

Tim and I got a bit lost.  We walked down one street, took a left and then a quick left to walk back, but it wasn't at all parallel.  According to my watch we walked 4.6 kilometers, finding lots of people to pass out tracts to, but not stopping long with anyone as we had agreed to meet at 6:05, and only found the car again at 6:23.  Tense times for punctual people.  

 Oh! Before we went out on the streets, we went out for lunch to celebrate our 28th anniversary.  We went to the V & A Waterfront, which is kind of fancy.  Tract passing does not tend to go well in rich places, but listen to what actually happened.  

 We had a place in mind, Hungarian Stax, but it looks to be a victim of Covid madness.  It wasn't open, so we hunted around for another place.  We found a seafood place, and Paul gave out a tract as the receptionist led us to the table.  A few seconds later, a waitress came over to our table and apologetically asked if she too, could have a pamphlet.  Then a second waitress joined her, asking too, and could they have three more for others?  Well, sure! We could spare them.  😁  A waiter came too, after a bit, to get one for himself.  So much for stereo typing people in the rich quarter of town!  


August 31st...not our best day.  It was raining, and there weren't many people in the community we were in, Retreat.  But we did not retreat from Retreat.  Instead we drove around in our car looking for people.  We passed things out the window to the people we could find, and got out at a few groups that took some foot work, and passed out tracts, including one nice long line of people waiting for food distribution. 

The bus station was a hive of activity, not like when the train was running, but still quite busy.  Many received tracts, some were glad, but I hit some real negative responses.  What's up with that?  There must be a reason, and I'll let you know if I find out. 


September 4, 2020  We missed the 2nd for torrential  rains.  We'd have needed plastic bags for each tract or they'd have been sogged up!

I just had a funny little thing happen. I was getting a tire fixed at the BP station, and afterward, after the fix and a tract, the attendant said to me, “Madam, I am young, and you are so old. So much older than I am.  What is the meaning of this sickness?” 

So we talked about if God sent it or just allowed it and he says he likes the work that I’m doing.  Nice guy.  But his opening line!!!  One of those funny little cultural bloopers for my culture that he doesn’t know he just made.  Came home from that, looked in the mirror and discovered I never put on make-up this morning so he can be forgiven for calling me “so old.”  😊

Yesterday while we were “tracting” I kept running into the same man, three different places.  The third time I jokingly told him he must stand still so I wouldn’t keep trying to give him a tract.  He didn’t smile.  He invited me in to his house pray for his wife Marlene who has cancer.  The doctors said there is nothing they can do.  So I did go in and pray.  End of story?  I hope not, though I may never find out the real end til Heaven. But I thought you might like to join me in praying for Marlene in Lavender Hill. 

 Still need to go out officially passing today.

September 8th, 

We often ask, "English or Afrikaans?" in passing out tracts.  Some people get amused by this, and try asking for other languages.  Twice people have said, "I want Spanish." and I have the joy of calling their bluff, by speaking Spanish to them.  

It happened again today, and the guy actually knew  a few words of Spanish, but just a few, and had to admit it rather shortly.  So then he tried French.  Now it was my turn for bluffing. 
"Bonjour" I said.

''Parlez vous Francais?" he said.

The only thing that came into my head was, "Cest la vie."  Then we both burst out laughing.  I hope that makes him extra eager to read the tract and follow Jesus. 

Paul was sick and stayed home yesterday, so Tim and I attacked Retreat by ourselves.  We were in one neighborhood where Tim had been before, but he was driving.  He said he thought at the time, "I wouldn't want to be walking in this neighborhood,"  but now here we were.  

Tonight Paul felt much better and was leading the pack again.  He said he had one bad experience, which is rare. He came upon a street game of soccer, and, as he approached, the ball came sailing toward him.  He helpfully, he thought, stopped it, and sent it back, and then tried to hand out tracts.  The leader of the group immediately refused, rather rudely, saying he was Muslim.  Others also refused.  Only after awhile did Paul realize the ball he stopped was actually in play, heading for a goal.  Oops. 

Tim and I met a terroristic pit bull that rushed the gate as we passed, slamming both front legs into a metal clad gate, making a horrific bang. I would have screamed, I'm sure, but I saw it coming so could just laugh at this dog who had his timing down perfectly to scare people. 

Today Tim had crowds of kids around him, thrilled to see the guy they had seen in school.  Tim does the liquor bottle "magic" lesson.  Today a boy asked him, "What size shoes do you wear?"  

"15" was the answer, and amazed the kids.  I told our little crowd, "I don't know how he got so big.  Maybe he was drinking giraffe milk."  They looked amazed by this, so I admitted it was just a joke.

For the first time ever, Paul had a girl ask him to wiggle his ears while out tract passing.  😊🙉

Another first today:  a boy showed Paul a picture of Paul drawing the rainbow picture.  Paul asked where he got it, and the boy said, "On Facebook." 

I saw an old age home, as they're called in South Africa, and just felt sorry for them still in isolation.  So I went to drop some tracts there, but I was beset with problems.  First there was a bee on the doorbell.  But he flew away when I reached up to push the button. Next, the man who came wasn't a Christian, but he said he'd take 50 of them 25 in English and 25 in Afrikaans for residents AND workers, so I'm hopeful.