Monday, June 26, 2017

Trip to the Eastern Cape: Day 4

The majestic grandeur of the scenery along the route we are taking to George is indescribable. It will take poetry or a grand symphony to explain what we have seen today. Miles and miles of farmland rising up to the fantastic heights of the mountains all around us...landscape dotted with animals of varying species, both domestic and wild...ostriches, sheep, cattle, Bontebok, huge flocks of Guinea Fowl, Cranes and Egrets, even two Elephants...Elephants? Yup, there are a few small game farms along the way as well.

Once the sun was up and the folks of the small towns were visible, we stopped for apple pie and coffee. This particular bakery is known for its pies, but, being health conscious as we are, we reluctantly passed by the rest and bought two small buns instead for a quick picnic along the road...but that would have to wait as we were now approaching the town of Swellendam and we needed to have a chat with the Anglican Priest there about our work with GtC.

What a wonderful couple! Mario and Hester Hendricks lead four churches, the largest of which is over 300 strong. They immediately wanted to know when we can come to do the training! Well, as with all hierarchical churches there are hoops and loops through which one has to manoeuvre before anything can get done...but where there is a will, there is a way, and we will work it out. One of their parishioners, Rob also showed up and we had a lovely chat over coffee.

By the time we left Swellendam, the sun was just beginning to make its presence known and a good bask in its warmth was just the thing we needed to thaw the winter cold and get our fingers moving in the right directions again. So we stopped again, for a quick bite...ah, the open road...nothing like it.

We then drove straight through to our destination for today...George...a place that used to be a quaint town 20 odd years ago, but that is now a large city in its own right. Here we met Archdeacon Lyndon Du Plessis, a man I met last year December up in Johannesburg. Lyndon and his dear wife, Corine, met us at an upscale Mall...not quite what I was expecting to find here...and took us to Mugg and Bean for a bottomless Hot Chocolate. much hot chocolate can one drink in one sitting? But it was delicious and the fellowship sweet. These are hard working folk. They told us that when they got here, their church was dying...literally...a few older folks clinging on for dear life. But now their church is vibrant and filled with young folk too...over 3000 strong! But the majority of the parishioners are poor and struggling to make ends meet. That is a story one hears a lot in Anglican circles here...

We are staying overnight with parishioners who have just started up their own B&B...what a lovely little place and so nice to be staying with folks from the church. Tomorrow is the big day when we meet with the Bishop and his council, but there is still much that needs to be done tonight!

We went out with Lyndon and Corine to look at their church and the area in which they serve. It is a large and very diverse area with some very, very poor folks living right on their doorstep. We stopped at their church, St Paul's, and met with their choir and were blessed to hear them sing...outstanding! We finished off a wonderful day with a meal and fellowship...dear blessed saints, they are.

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