Monday, September 2, 2019

White River, Barberton, Jo'berg, Cape Town (just some snippets)

 
 
By Timothy Young with input from Paul and Vicki

Recently, we went to an African church near the town of White River in the province of Mpumalanga.  After dad had preached a sermon at the church we drove through a section of town called Jerusalem, in the Masoyi tribal district (I saw that sign).  The house was unfinished, but it was much bigger and better than many African houses I have seen.  

We were all sort of tired from the travel over to the church from another town, and from the service.  Also after we had taken a tour of the house, the fire for lunch was started.  We were sitting outside, on a porch, when the first part arrived.  It was a clone coke and four really big, really nice pieces of chocolate cake that raised both our spirits and our ability to carry on a conversation.  Remarks could be made about the nature of conversation or sugar or something, but I will refrain from those.  (I, Vicki, would say that Coke/cake combo saved the day!  We were a droopy, blah bunch, and the unaccustomed caffiene turned us into hyper conversationalists.)

So then, adequately refreshed, conversation started to flow.  When Pastor Samuel wasn’t cooking, we asked him how he was saved.  He was a refugee from the Mozambique Civil War in the 90s.  He had come to South Africa after both his parents had been killed in the fighting, and he was in with the wrong crowd.  Then in ‘96 a woman brought him to the large church of Rhema for a few weeks.  Nothing happened there and then his boss started bringing him to another church.  Here he realized that God was real and said that he would become a Christian, on condition that he could become a South African citizen.  He had very little hope of success, but prayed for it.  He also prayed that since he was planning to stay here, that he could speak English.  God answered these prayers.  He could suddenly speak English.  Armed with these two answers to prayer he and a friend went into the premier’s office.  A secretary came down as they came in, instructed to bring in a white man and a black man who had an appointment.  They being white and black, were both rushed in.  Pastor Samuel said that he explained, crying, that his parents had been killed in the civil war and that he had no relatives in Mozambique.  The premier said, “I am half Mozambican, we are brothers.  I will send your papers into Johannesburg.”  In fact, he didn’t just send his papers, but made a declaration that all Mozambicans who had been in the country five years or more were to report for identification documents.  So we can say God answered this prayer too.

It is kind of interesting how we met Pastor Samuel.  Dad had just preached in a Dutch Reformed Church and had left a number of books for people as we usually do.  They are Afrikaans and not generally known for fellowshipping with Africans, and usually the feeling is mutual.  However, due to the bravery of one kind DRC minister back in the early 2000s Pastor Samuel had been holding a Monday service for poor people there.  There was no money to be made here, which is why a number of other black pastors had refused the DR church’s request.  But Samuel  came.  When he arrived on Monday morning he noticed one of the books that Dad had given out the night before.  It was Principles of Church Growth (http://drawingotherstochrist.com/text_sermon/pcg.pdf), and after reading a few pages he prayed that Dad could come to his church.  He had seen that we lived in Cape Town and had not expected his prayer to be answered that soon, but he called anyway and found that dad was in the area.  Dad visited him and arranged for the Sunday meeting.

In 2011 his wife got meningitis and went into a coma for three years.  People advised him to put her into a home and ignore her.  But he daily took care of her needs and stayed faithful.  Some neighbors mockingly said something like, “He healed others but can’t heal his wife.”  So he built a wall around his property for some privacy.  It is a nice wall.  Others of his neighbors said “He doesn’t have the heart of a man, but a cow.” He has a big heart.  Basically it means that he cared more for his wife than was expected of a man.  But in time God did answered his prayers, and his wife was healed.  She cooked a very nice Sunday dinner for us.  

Mom asked how he had gotten married, and that was a bit of a funny story.  He had known his future wife for a while, but didn’t think he loved her.  Then one day she helped an old homeless non-christian man, who announced to Pastor Samuel that this was the woman who would work best with him in ministry, so he repented and married her, once lobola was paid.  More on that later.

They have three daughters who have interesting names.  Perhaps the most interesting to me was Surrender, who seemed to be very determined.  I could see so many humorous applications that I was smiling through much of the meal.  Another was Marvelous Wonderful, and the third I think was Helen Charisma. 

One of the things that impressed me was the fact that he was not obscure; he had served as an official South African translator in Angola, and had been assigned to deal out large amounts of government funds.  Large amounts (millions).  But he was not obviously proud, the way some people are when they have access to that kind of cash or that level of civil power.  The other money related thing that impressed me was that he never asked for money from us, which is a rare thing.  He commented on how when black people see white people, they see them as potential money.  He repeatedly stated that God was his source and gave some of the examples mentioned above as proof.  He impressed me as someone who God has gifted to be able to handle money and not become trapped in the excitement of handling money. 
Pastor Samuel and family with us. 

We had a few other cultural discussions which were just interesting:  the South Korean missionaries that he knew, the Mozambican traditions, etc.  Perhaps the most interesting custom we discussed was lobola, bride price.  It is not strictly between the father-in-law and the son-in-law.  Think of it as a family to family level exchange.  R50 000 lobola is not unheard of, and keep in mind this is a country with the average yearly earning of about that much.  This, of course, in practice creates a cultural push for later marriages, which is ok, except people are people.  They do not always wait for marriage, especially in the city.   He and his younger, unmarried pastor friend of 38 were both against it.  He said that it led to the current state of many fatherless homes in South Africa.  

Vicki here again.  On one of triple scheduled days, Paul preached in the prison with the Bible College people at Back to the Bible in Barberton, so Tim and Josh took the other schools he had scheduled.  I dropped Tim first, then buzzed Josh over to a gold mine sponsored school. I helped him set up, then headed back for Tim.  As I was walking to the car, I startled a little boy coming to school. He looked shocked and completely disgusted at my alarmingly white self being in an unexpected place.  I started laughing at his horrified expression, and now, nearly a month later, I'm still laughing when I think about it.  

Shrunk from a note to Paul's sister Joy:  We should get home tomorrow!  Yesterday we got to Jo'burg after Paul and Josh spoke 4 times, one planned and three spur-of-the-moments schools.  We began to hunt accommodation, singing our song, "Guide Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah."  First hotel we checked, right by the airport cost over 6000 rand!  Shocker.  So we moved a bit away from the airport and found one for 1/10th of that...more our style.  We got a nice apartment with the best shower of the whole trip!  It had a Roman's Pizza within walking distance which was perfect for the "something special" Paul wanted to do for Josh's last night in Africa for awhile.  Very thankful.   
 
 
And from a letter a few days earlier:


Gloria Luus who scheduled Paul 8 places in White River area!  Amazing lady. 


Tim and Josh just after they spoke at the mountain top school.  


Tim shaking hands at a mountain top school.  These kids were extra fun and friendly.

Paul really did the double scheduling thing today, with some help from Elreza.  Result was that he backed out of his own commitments, and passed them to Tim and Josh, and he did the Mission stuff which was a school and 2 prison meetings.  So I drove the boys, and our second school was so fun and cool.  I.E. NO one was afraid of me.  This was a group of cuties who all wanted to shake my hand, and one brazen lassie took a fearful swipe at touching my hair.  I shook a LOT of little hands.  After they went through, they'd circle back around and have another go at it.  So some days I'm a horror, and other days I'm just plain fascinating. 
 
It was a memorable school.  It went with a gold mine!  Unique, except in this area where all the schools seem to have a plaque saying, "Sponsored by Sheba Mine" or some such.  There are some nice buildings and science labs and computer rooms and stuff.  This one was on top of a mountain, and was quite a thing to drive up there for it.  Scary!   One lane road, and then you're at a little community at the top, where everyone is super friendly.  I enjoyed it. 
 
Right near our mission is a Sheba Mine branch that mines talc.  Or mined talc.  The workers went on strike, and so the mine closed as they were demanding double pay.  So the people totally looted the mine buildings, stealing the roofs, the window frames, everything.   Someone wrote "Sorry" in paint on one building, and I want to write "You killed the goose that laid the golden eggs."  Sad.  
 
 
 



Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Glory Hill and Swaziland, parts 3 and 2 of our trip

How'd you like these brownies?  It is just some dry earth in Swaziland.  
 Swazi sunsets are hazy this time of year with dust and smoke from burning sugar cane.
 Roots!  White River at Glory Hill. 
                                              Muppim.  My favorite of the 10 cats. 
                                        Kind of not enjoying the idea of Joshua being gone. 
 "Mercy" enjoying the gorgeous scenery at Glory Hill.  This is getting ready to be an Instagram picture with a verse on it.  see vickiyoung1066 




Have you ever been to a meeting that you thought was just a dud?  People seemed unenthused, messing around on their cell phones, and unresponsive?  I don't know how anyone could respond to my dynamic, chalk-drawing husband that way, but I thought it was so. 

And then it was over.  A druggie wanted to be saved.  A man in the back wanted to schedule Paul in churches and schools.  Another man was crying.  His daughter was (maybe--don't give up faith!  Pray for Soleil!) dying of brain cancer.  He said he learned more in that one short talk about Psalm 90 than is maybe 15 years of teaching.  One lady who had been on her cell phone prayed for our whole family.  Who knows, maybe she was telling friends about the thrilling message she was hearing.  It's so easy to read people wrong.  It wasn't a dud!  God was working.
 
We are now in the White River section of our trip.  A sweet couple named Dave and Linda have taken us into their home, but what a home!  It is called Glory Hill Lodge, though not now functioning as a Lodge, it still welcomed our very tired selves last Friday.  We didn't really see the glory until we got up Saturday morning.  What a beautiful place!  Inside and out.  It seems a place where time has stood still, it is so peaceful.  The big excitement is when the monkeys invade...then it's "batten down the hatches!" lest they get inside and wreak havoc.  

From this haven, we've had at least 8 meetings to go to, scheduled by Gloria Luus, a resident of Macedonia Frail Care Center.  We met Gloria last year at Barberton's Back to the Bible Mission, and she invited Paul for this year.  She's a "Doer" of the Word, and not a hearer only.  I admire her!  She's bringing forth fruit in old age...one of my ambitions too. 

Yesterday she took us to visit Mercy Air, a Christian airline that does evangelistic, medical, and educational outreach transportation.  Paul and Josh particularly enjoyed that one. 

Of course, Paul wasn't content with just those 8 meetings and he has been filling in the blanks any way he can with more schools.  Yesterday got a little crazy.  I got to play Uber driver again.  I dropped Paul with Josh to assist at a very snazzy school with an equestrian center, then had to race a few kilometers away to Tim's school to drop him.  We would have made it on time, but the GPS thought a trail through a macadamia nut orchard was a regular road, and we lost a little time circling back from that.  Tim had to set up in front of an already-seated student body--I helped, but soon had to race back to Paul to get him to school #3!  We came skidding in on that one just as it was time to start, but they were mercifully a little late.  I left them and went back to where Tim was just walking out of his school, tired, but happy.  They had invited him back for Monday to do the older children!   Yippee!  That's the best kind of feedback. 

He and I went to a book store to wait an hour as Paul and Josh were speaking twice at their second school.  From there, we went to two more schools to schedule more speaking appointments.  Both of them accepted.  We thrive on this stuff!  Open doors, people hearing about Jesus, lives changed!  

Before White River, we had about 8 days in Swaziland/eSwatini staying with Leo and Jill Baan, and their 10 cats, up two from last year when we stayed with them.  Leo had Paul scheduled a bunch of places, and Paul supplemented.  Sometimes Leo and Tim would be a team while Josh and Paul were another team.   Just once Tim and I were a team, thankfully, or I wouldn't have snagged any pictures.   They went to a prison, schools, and a church. 

One thing we enjoyed about Swaziland and also White River, is it's much warmer.  Temperatures have ranged from -6 C (21 degrees F)  while we were in Queenstown to 34 C (93 degrees F) yesterday in White River. I'd just like to interrupt this trip to run home for some cooler clothes!  I only brought 2 and a half pairs of shoes, my sneakers, boots, and a half of pair of sandals, so I've been wearing boots and feeling weird sometimes.  I did invest in some flip flops now, so I'll make it, but I like the warmth.  Josh and Paul have made it into the gorgeous pool at Glory Hill and also back in Swaziland, but I'm not ready for that one.  The water is still remembering the cooler temperatures. 

 We are privileged to meet the nicest people in our travels!     "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love each other."  1 John 4:11  People have been so kind, sharing so much with us, furthering us along in the journeying.  We're grateful. 

I'm not  sure how much longer we'll be here, but Barberton is next on the schedule.  And we're counting down the days until Josh flies out for the USA.  

Monday, July 22, 2019

2019 Winter Trip, Queenstown Section

This trip is precious, as it is the last one where our Joshua is with us, at least for awhile.  He's 18 now, and off to college in America in August.  We plan to be in four places, the first being Queenstown, South Africa.  We're actually staying at Tylden, which I have fallen in love with.  It's about 6 kilometers off a tar road, and we're staying at Light of the World Mission. 
We slept in this building. 



Jock with Josh or Josh with Jock.  The beginning of a great tongue twister. 

 Tim preaching at Sunday School with a blue hand.  He doesn't like the feel of chalk.  Kind of ironic. 


Light of the World Mission is next to a river, which is significant.  The river floods a couple of times a year, so a hotel was built next to the river to house people stuck on this side of the flood, until the waters subsided.  I think it was in the 80's, that a man named Jack bought the hotel, and used it for missionary work such as camps, Bible schools, and a little church.  Late in the 90's, Frik and Sue Labuschagne came, and they are leading the mission still. 
Pastor Mike Watson in Queenstown invited us so he has filled some of the time, though not as he expected as he has had cancer since we were here last time.  Frik scheduled Paul some other places, and with the "leftover" time we prayed for open doors, and set out visiting schools in Queenstown.  The first day Paul scheduled 10 preaching appointments!  (though I must confess, one of those was online, in America).  After that he combined preaching and scheduling.  When his schedule got full, he started scheduling Timothy, who was now more free to help.
The first few days here, we had another project underway.  We had hoped that both our sons could have a try (Josh) or another try (Tim) at getting their driver's licenses.  We had noticed how the wait time for an appointment to take the test can be just days in these smaller towns, unlike Cape Town where the wait can be weeks or months.  So we made appointments for the following Monday, and went to work having some more driving lessons to perfect their "K-53" skills.  (K-53 is the South African skill set required uniquely for the test.)
Monday morning dawned.  Appetites were low, and tension was high.  We went into town early, still in the dark, to Pastor Michael's house so Paul could borrow the church van so that the boys could use our car.  We had a little panic as we discovered our rear brake light was out (again! what's with that light?!??)  The sun was up, but we didn't know if any place would be open where we could buy a bulb so we scrambled around to get that sorted out.  It wasn't too bad as we had needed a new tire as we had a VERY flat tire on Saturday and had learned a car repair place.  We got a new light bulb and still had a few minutes before Josh's test time at 8:40 AM.  We headed in to the municipality building. 
Then came the blow:  the municipality was on strike!  It is still on strike today, I think, a week later, so no driving tests have happened.  It looks like they will have to try in America. 
The low appetites had worn off, so disgruntled boys were soothed and comforted with a quick trip to KFC for a snack.  At least now they were free to be more helpful to Paul. 
I thought Thursday's schedule was remarkable.  We had an early morning school first, which Paul and Tim handled, then Paul parked us at the pastor's house so we could get some work done with Wi-Fi while he and Josh went to a 11-1 appointment.  They preached 6 times at that one school!  Taking them class by class.  That has some advantages, but it is very tiring for the chalk artist evangelist.  Top priority was to race home for a rest after that, as we were schedule to be interviewed (whole family!) on the radio from 6-8 PM that evening. 
I really enjoyed that interview.  I was a little worried about Paul overdoing, but he had slept for over an hour that afternoon, and he seems to have made it through without a sickness. 
Friday was remarkable in a different way.  We woke to find blood spattered right down the hallway of our current home.  Tim had a horrendous nose-bleed.  (This is cold, arid country right now, and our Capetonian skin is drying and cracking and even bleeding as we adjust.)  We mopped that up and kept moving.  Had to be out of the house by 6:30, to get to the first school and be ready by 7:30.  The plan was for Paul to preach there, with Josh to assist, but the nosebleed changed that plan.  Instead Josh now assisted Tim, just in case. 
I want a T-shirt that says, "Uber driver" cuz it was like that!  We dropped Paul at the first school about 7:15, then raced to Tim's school by 7:45 then back to Paul to pick him up to get him to his 8:30 school.  I stayed with him through that one, helping to hold the chalk board as it was WINDY!  Then together we zipped back to Tim's school to find him and Josh had preached twice and then walked a to a shopping center to wait for us.  Three schools accomplished, four time preaching, by 10:00!
Then Paul could rest, while the boys spoke at a youth group that evening. 
Also of note, some record breaking cold weather (at least the coldest this year) came through over the weekend.  Brrr!  It got down to -6 degrees Celcius.  Someone said I must be used to this, being brought up in New England with snow and all.  But I'm a wimp!  New England has heated, insulated houses.  This cold is colder.  But it's great sleeping weather.  We're in bed early to get warm, and at least one of us lingers til the last second before launching out each morning.  
This bucket got "skun over" with ice, as my Gram would have said, plus icicles.  Chilly! 
The only touristy thing we've done on this trip was as we were driving from Cape Town, we slept over in Graaf Reinet, a beautiful, historic town where Andrew Murray used to live and preach, and David Livingstone's family went to recuperate.  Josh and I did their parkrun, and then we went to the Valley of Desolation to see some more of God's creativity.  
They were more enthusiastic than this picture looks. 
On Wednesday, after some schools, we plan to head to Swaziland where it should be warmer.  We're grateful for our cheery, helpful boys, for open doors, and for open hearts.  We appreciate translators in Xhosa for some of the meetings, and new missionary friends.  I've also enjoyed their little granddaughter Skye who has helped and inspired me with my Instagram Bible pictures (see vickiyoung1066).  It is good to follow God, to obey Him, and to trust Him.  He blesses so much along the way. 



Frik and Sue and Skye.  

Monday, June 10, 2019

Lesotho, the grand finale

Today (May 31, '19) was our last dip into Lesotho, and Josh's first time.  His passport arrived Wednesday, but Thursday was a holiday in Lesotho so we didn't have any schools scheduled that side of the border.  Instead we had 2 in Ficksburg on the SA side.  Today we went back today for the last two schools.

The first school was super enthusiastic.  First they just started laughing when we arrived.  I think that was at the height of Paul and Josh.  Loud laughing.  But when they spoke to them, the kids responded positively to questions and were respectful.  

I dashed to another nearby school while they were speaking to drop off some books.  Then we had about an hour before we needed to be at the second school.  Josh had found some dinosaur fossils online, and I realized they were right near this school, so we set out (without much hope on my part) to find them.

Subeng Dinosaur Footprints was there.  I'll share photos and our funny guides.
 Things didn't look too promising at first.  Those yellow things under that hut are squished plastic chairs!  I hope no one was sitting there when the hut fell. 
 The brother of the guide had painted this rock and wanted an extra tip because now the frog needed repainting.  I suggested Paul's chalks but no one was excited about that little gem of an idea.  Paul gave them both tracts and the brother was studying his.  English is not his first language, but you never know where tracts go and what they can accomplish. 
 Do you see a footprint in there?  They were under water!  Our first guide swished the water and sediment away with a branch.  They said these had lasted for some millions of years, but they're not looking like they're going to last too much longer with the rain and the brushing and all.  Unbelievable. 
 So, I'm afraid this is our best shot of the footprints.  Googling Subeng Dinosaur footprints gets you dry season shots. 
In truth,
I loved this outing!  Our guides made me laugh as they had to hunt a bit to find these illusive "millions and millions of years old" prints. 


They kept dreaming up more reasons we should keep paying for things.  Near the end of their little tour, they said all the money so far was going to the council, so now we needed to give more for them.
The frog was our "surprise".  I took little videos, but I haven't managed to upload them.  Too bad.  They are funny.

We believe in dinosaurs.  Not sure about the Lesothosaurus, but it was fun looking. 



























































































Thursday, May 30, 2019

Lesotho part 2

On May 27 our Bible reading included Proverbs 27 which begins, "Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth..."  So.  Did I say we were going to Lesotho?  The day didn't bring forth as expected.

That day Paul preached at two schools in Ficksburg,  on the South African side of the border, and then we headed for the border.

Border crossings are always a little nerve wracking, but this one seemed like a tame little one.  What could go wrong?  Um, a lot could go wrong.  It was there at the border that we discovered we had Josh's shiny new passport, which does not include his SA visa, and that was not enough.  We needed his old one as well, the one with the SA Visa in it.

Time to move on to plan B or wherever we are in the alphabet.

We went back to the guesthouse where we had been staying, moved back into our newly cleaned room, shuffled luggage frantically, and then Paul set off for Lesotho alone.  We didn't know if he would be back that day, or later in the week.

He found a border crossing a breeze, and then put "schools" into the GPS.  He drove to 6  schools, and scheduled 5 of them for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday!  Whoo-hoo!  That's good.odds!  (It sounds so simple, as I re-read that, but if you could see the roads...)

Then he came back to us in Ficksburg.

Meanwhile, Josh and I had called "base camp" in Cape Town, and  Paul's nephew James got the missing passport into DHL, who said they'd have it here by Wednesday noon.

Tuesday Paul and I went into Lesotho to preach at three different schools.  Josh stayed at the guesthouse and made progress on his missionary video he's had in the works for years.  The end is in sight!

Wednesday Paul and I went back  to Lesotho for more adventures.  Let me just say here, I am so thankful for our Jeep!  It can handle Lesotho conditions!  It's covered with dust, and it rather matches the dust which is an extra perk.

The first school on Wednesday made some memories.  The principal of that high school talked to the students in very halting English after Paul was done preaching.

He said, "This...man...he told me...to call him...Small...Paul. That's...just...irritating." (The principal is a little guy.)  That's where I cracked up.  But there was more.

"This... man...came straight out...of heaven.  He...fell...from...the sky."  Now the students were laughing too.  When they got quiet, he went on.

"Do you know why I say that?  Because.  I...never...heard...of this man.  I didn't know anything about him, and he came here.  God promised to feed His people in the wilderness, and we are here in the wilderness, and he is like bread that came out of the sky."  I think the students clapped at this point.
The school "in the wilderness" has an amazing view!


So my MANna and I had some time before the second school, so we went and scheduled another school for Friday in between.  We ate sandwiches as we drove, and were pretty well refreshed before we got to school number 2.

That school had a unique way of gathering for assembly.  The teacher had one class (grade one?) go over to a spot on the grass and set up their chairs.

Then she called another grade and they raced across the grass to stand behind the seated children.  One by one the grades raced over to find their spots.

They were nicely attentive children, but the principal was flitting talking to her colleagues and doing whatever, often with her back to Paul.  As he was starting the invitation, she must have tuned in, because she came to me at the back and said, "This is a Muslim school."

I didn't quite know how to respond to that.  All I could think of was, "He's almost finished."  I should have said, "This will not hurt them" maybe.  Anyway.  He finished, and the teachers received books and DVD's.  On the way home I told him.  He was rather pleased that he had just preached in a Muslim school.

Back in Ficksburg, we had some tension because Josh's passport with Visa had not arrived, but it did show up about 4 hours later than we thought.

We have enjoyed our guesthouse so much, with one of the exciting things it has is HEAT!!!  This morning the Jeep was covered with ice and had to be scraped before starting.  I've been so grateful for that heater, for my own comfort too, but most especially for Paul as he was sick at first.  He is getting better each day.

Today, Thursday, Josh and Paul went to schools in Ficksburg, on the South African side of the border.  It's Ascension Day which is a school holiday in Lesotho so Paul scheduled two schools yesterday morning in Ficksburg.  It is so exciting how the Lord has opened those doors.

When they came back from the first one, I asked how it went, and Paul said, "Good, but I had to fight for it."

Though they had scheduled it yesterday, today the principal who scheduled the meeting was not there, and the ones there were not so sure, so he had to convince them again.  The assembly finally happened, and when it was over, all were delighted.  Josh told me one of the teachers seemed thrilled with Paul's teaching style of constantly asking for feedback, to see if the kids understood.  Another comment was how this was going to change the school.  Thrills!!!

So we plan to sleep in Ficksburg three more nights, with one more dip into Lesotho (Josh for the first time!) on Friday, and then head for Cape Town Saturday morning right after Josh and I do the local parkrun again, but we won't boast because we don't know what each day will bring.

The view behind the school "in the wilderness"

                                               Scenery from along the road in Lesotho.
 Our faithful grungy Jeep, for which I am very thankful!

                              Paul preaching to an eager group of students in Lesotho.
As we approached the border to go back into South Africa, traffic was very slow, so Paul grabbed a bunch of tracts and hopped out to pass them out.  He was going faster than the car for quite a while and gave out a lot as I poked along in the Jeep.




Monday, May 27, 2019

Lesotho 2019




Taking time to stop and photograph the flowers on a walk.
Cosmos! 
    On the road again...Wednesday the 22nd of May, one day after Josh turned 18. 
I thought I'd take note of some of how we eat on this trip, having never done so.  We go for efficiency as well as healthy and yummy, so our first meal was sandwiches, from tinned chicken, with mayo added.   These tinned chickens have been a winner on trips, and I was psyched to find a deal on them this time before I was even looking!  I stocked up. 
KFC got our business for supper cuz it was at the right place at the starving time.  It wasn't exceptionally quick, but we didn't realize that 'til we were committed.  Delicious!  A little touch of Kentucky in the Karoo.  
I felt so organized for breakfast having 8 eggs packed in a plastic box, with a towel to pad them.  Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men, don't always work.  My eggs were scrambled before I got to them.  Well, 5 were, so I cooked the remaining 3 in the kettle meant for tea, and we were started.  In the Jeep we had my homemade granola, a family favorite, (I'll send the recipe to anyone who wants it!  It is my most shared recipe, I think.  It's a high protein recipe I learned from a pregnancy book way back with Evangel.)  When we stop for petrol, I'll wash out the bowls. 
So now we're driving blindly, straight into the sun, straight along the N-1 toward Lesotho.  I think we have about 7 hours to go.  
The Karoo delights me.  It's semi desert, so we see a big panorama.  We see sheep grazing, impala hopping, cows occasionally, and ostriches standing tall.  The Karoo is known for it's windmills too, and I hope to get a stunning silhouette of one to stick on here.  (*GOT one!  Though it's the sun that is stunning, more than the windmill.  See back at the top.)  The terrain looks like New Mexico with buttes popping out of flat or gently rolling landscape.  The predominant color is brown, but certainly not the only color.  Last night the pinks and purples were wonderful at sunset.  This morning in the bright sun, yellow highlights in the dead grass are splashed in the brown grass.  Cool that God likes highlights. 
Our fellow travelers seem to be mostly 18 wheelers with frequent white farm bakkies (that would be "trucks" in American) and the occasional other vehicle thrown in.  
Last night we didn't have a plan on where to stop, so we drove until dark, and then started thinking where to sleep.  Hanover was the right distance so Josh typed in "accommodation" into the GPS and we prayed (sang "Guide Me, Oh, Thou Great Jehovah) and picked one with a nice name.  Ash Tree Guesthouse was our first pick, and we ended up staying there.  The owner, Danie,  turned out to be a Christian, and he and Paul swapped abbreviated testimonies in the morning. We took a 30 minute walk in the dark before bed, and Paul passed out his new tract to some giggling teens. 

Another HUGE difference on this trip is that we have a third driver!  Josh is helping with a lot of the driving.  He loves it, and is passing big trucks like a pro (i.e. scaring me witless!)  
Friday the 24th.  We arrived in Ficksburg, on the border of Lesotho, but still on the SA side, around noon yesterday.  We quick found accommodation and Paul headed off to schedule schools.  He got 2 out of 6 visited, then came back feeling yucky.  I think his heart was palpitating.  He got up for a walk, and then went to sleep from about 5-8 PM.  At 8 we talked, and I tried merry heart meds on him, giving him Babylon Bee to read.  It seemed to help!  It took his mind to another place that was all fresh for him.  
Speaking of taking our minds off things, we are reading our 10th of 11 Bodie Thoene books in the 2 Zion series.  My goal is to finish that before Josh leaves for college.  Tim read it on his own years ago.  Josh should know a chunk more about WW II and the birth of Israel.  It's so suspenseful and made the miles, or should I say kilometers, fly by painlessly.  

Later:  Paul went back to two of those six schools, and we're now in Ficksburg until Monday.  Fine with me! I like where we're staying, within walking distance of shops, and it has HEATERS in the room!!!  Yippee skippy!  Warmth is so essential right now with Paul feeling yucky.  Though it's called an air conditioner.  

Monday.  Paul and Josh preached in one school, and soon we have the second one, and then we head for the border of Lesotho!  The Mountain Kingdom. 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Following in their Parents' Footsteps

Following in Their Parents’ Steps


Are you pressuring your children to preach or to be missionaries? Gasp!

Abraham did more than just pressure his household. See what God said about him.

       For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall            keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham        that which he hath spoken of him (Gen. 18:19).

Joshua said. “…As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” He did not say, “I don’t know about my family.” He said, “…As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). Whatever authority or influence I have, I want to use it so that my children will serve God.

Paul said about Timothy, “But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the Gospel” (Philippians 2:22). So I take my sons, Timothy and Joshua, with me preaching in schools and churches. Now they are doing the same thing I’ve been doing for over 50 years. And I can teach them things that took me a long time to learn.

When I was a young man my father sent me to preach in seven or eight schools a month where he had preached for years. Mom took me to a Bible club where she had a ministry, and she had me preach to the children. I never thought my father was bullying me into doing his thing. He was not out of place or usurping God’s calling. My parents did not ask me what I thought about it or if God had called me. They just sent me.

By cooperating with my parents and obeying them I was obeying the Great Commission far more effectively than I had been obeying it. Instead of sharing the Gospel occasionally with a few people I was now preaching the good news to hundreds of people a week. I am indebted to my parents for guiding me into a vocation of obedience to the Great Commission.

The idea that you have to sense a special call from God to preach is not in the Bible. God already commanded us to preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). Even when the Bible lists the qualifications of a pastor, there is no mention of a call.

Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples, to baptize them and to teach them to obey all of His commands (Matthew 28:19, 20). So Jesus commands us to make disciples and to teach them to make disciples. My wife and I are obeying those commands with our children.
   
        And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach    
        them diligently unto thy children… (Dt 6:6, 7).

But you can’t tell your adult children what to do! At least that’s what the world says. God says, “Children obey your parents.” The word children, is not the word for little children or the word for minors who are not yet of age. He used the word meaning offspring.

God specifically commended the descendants of Jonadab the son of Rechab because they obeyed their father—even though they were adults, married and away from home. They obeyed—even in things that God does not require: Jonadab forbad his sons to build houses. They had to live in tents. They were not allowed to plant gardens. What kind of liberty is that? But notice what God said about them.
`
Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Johadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before Me for ever (Jeremiah 35:18, 19).

There is a dreadful urgency in the command to proclaim the good news. Most people are going on the broad way to the lake of fire. We have the message of salvation. There are many who could be saved. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Most people who call themselves Christians don’t bother to warn sinners or tell them the good news of salvation.

       The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the                    harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest (Mat. 9:37, 38).

I make no apology for showing our children the urgency of serving God. I don’t want them to live like those who show they don’t even care that multitudes are going to the lake of fire!

“Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Cor. 5:11).

I don’t want Jesus, the Judge, to say to me or to any of my children, “You wicked, lazy servant!” (Mat. 25:26). I don’t want Him to say,

       I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then                  because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth                          (Rev. 3:15, 16).

I will have to give account to God for myself and for what my children do with their lives.

       Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls as            they that must give account… (Heb. 13:17).

God held Eli accountable for the immoral life his sons followed.  God said,

       For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth;                    because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not (1 Samuel 3:13).

Just yesterday, and it often happens, men and women here in Africa tell us how glad they are to see that our sons are following in their parents’ footsteps.



We have no greater joy than to hear that our children walk in truth.  Really.