South Africa

10 Commentsby   |  06.19.11  |  Uncategorized

The past couple days have been pretty relaxed. We went over to the guy we’re working with, Hein’s house yesterday and had a barbecue and watched rugby with his family. The food was great and watching rugby was pretty cool. The food wasn’t too much different from American food. We had sausage, beef, salad, and then something similar to grits. Then Hein was teaching us about rugby and telling us about the different teams in the South African league. I must say that the South Africans get really intense about their rugby, especially right now since it’s the playoffs. It’s a really fun sport to watch.
Then this morning we went with Hein to a church in or near Cape Town where he was asked to preach. We will probably be working with the people there a lot because a bunch of the kids are going to come to the sports camps. It was an awesome experience. The church is in a very poor part of town. They meet in the garage of somebody’s house that was turned into a church building, and there were probably about 30 people in there. The people mostly consisted of “brown” people (which is what they call themselves). They were very welcoming from the moment we got there. It was very interesting that even though they are not wealthy, they dressed up very nicely for church. All of the men were in suits and ties. The service was definitely different then what I am used to, and it was great. There was not much structure to it, and it lasted about 2 and a half hours. They actually had a band consisting of a keyboard, drum set (with a cracked cymbal and a hi-hat held together by tape), and a 5 string electric bass. The youth played and led the worship. Pretty much everyone in the congregation picked their own key to sing in, but it was cool because absolutely nobody cared. They pretty much let the entire service be controlled by the Holy Spirit. We would sing a couple of songs, then the pastor would say a couple things, then we’d sing for a while, then somebody else would say something, etc…. Whenever anybody spoke, including Hein, I only understood probably 60% of what they were saying because everybody would switch languages mid-sentence. They would be going along in English and then suddenly switch to Afrikaans or vice versa. While all of the adults speak pretty good English, a lot of the kids are a little shaky with it and were a little self conscious about talking to us because of it. It is a little hard to understand them sometimes, and they also use a lot of slang that is only used in their area. But anyway, the service went on for a while, and then when the pastor felt the time was right, He invited Hein to come give his sermon. Hein had told us beforehand what he was planning on speaking about, but he also said that he would probably change things as the Spirit moved him, and he did. You could tell he was well prepared, but the way he spoke and the way it flowed it was also very obvious that he was going where the Spirit led him. I don’t really know how long it was, but I’d say it lasted anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. At two different points, he had Ryan and I each come up and give a personal example to go along with his point. When he had me come up, he was dealing with the passage in John when Jesus called Peter out of the boat to walk on water. He took it a little different direction than most people do when talking about this story. He was specifically focusing on the 11 apostles who stayed in the boat and why they did. So he had me talk about a time when I either decided to step out of the boat or decided to stay in and why. He told me this morning before we went that that’s what he was going to ask me, so I had some time to think about it but not much. And as most of you who are reading this know, I’m not too keen on public speaking and am not very long winded, so I didn’t really know how it was going to go. But when I got up there, I was extremely comfortable and actually had quite a bit to say. I asked the Lord to speak through me and I believe that’s the only explanation. I even got a couple of “hallelujah’s” from the pastor which was pretty cool. Then later when he had Ryan speak, he was dealing with the passage when Steven was stoned to death and focusing on the fact that it says Jesus was standing in heaven. So he had Ryan talk about what it looks like in his life to live in such a way that Jesus is standing. At the end of the service, they had the entire congregation come to the front and had the three of us stand in front of them and pray over them all at once. At one point in the service while we were singing, about half of the congregation started running up and down the aisle dancing and singing. The amount of passion that these people have for the Lord is something that I think I could use a lot more of.
After the service, we stayed and talked to the kids for a while and started to get to know them, and then we went down the street to somebody else’s house and ate with all of the men. Hein had told us to prepare ourselves for eating with them because you never know what kind of stuff they’re gonna make, so I was a little nervous at first, but it turned out to be amazing. It was quite a feast. There were sweet potatoes, sausage, potatoes, curry, lasagna, mixed vegetables, and lamb chops. It was great. While we were eating we got to talk to the pastor for a little while and learn more about their culture. It was very humbling. His passion and faith are amazing. He talked some about racial and class issues, but never complaining about his own situation (which in the eyes of many Americans would not be very good). Mostly he talked about how unfortunate and unfair things are for the “black” people (who are different from the brown people). He talked about how the slums that they live in, which consist of shacks all crammed together, is unacceptable and that as a nation they should not have so many people living in such poverty. This is a man who lived through the oppression of apartheid, and yet he does not focus on himself. He is currently a part time student studying law and wants to become a family lawyer to help out those in his community. I also love how communal the brown people are. Many times they will cook out on the street instead of in their houses so that people in the neighborhood can join them, and they will shut down streets to have big parties, and just generally share their lives together as a community. I think there is a lot I can learn from these people and I’m hoping I get to spend more time with them while I’m here.


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