“You are now in the Kingdom of Swaziland. You do not speak until your elders have given you leave to do so.” A quick lesson in cross-cultural ministry…
I was, of course, watching the clock and when it indicated that we were already half an hour late and all our trainees were still not present, I dove in and began teaching. But thankfully, I am not completely thick and I stopped to ask what I had done wrong…I was supposed to wait for the Bishop to welcome us and give us her permission to commence with the classes. But she was so gracious and loving and kind. She said my zeal was commendable and so I was forgiven.
I successfully suppressed the urge to hyperventilate and mentally instructed my nerves to behave themselves. But oh, I do tend to say the stupidest things when I am anxious and after the word of welcome I asked the dear Bishop to open us in prayer…but please, not in English but her own language. I thought the archdeacon was going to fall off his chair laughing. This is why I love St Peter so much…change feet, insert deeply, and bite!
Our group is made up of Deans, Archdeacons, and Priests…one of whom is currently working on her PhD. But the LEAD disciple-making course is a great levelling field because it is biblical and practical…even though the actual content appears to be elementary, the concept of making disciples as Jesus made disciples is profound to most Christians who have grown up in attraction model churches. As we begin to show from the Gospels that most of Jesus’ earthly ministry was not done in the Synagogue or the Temple, but rather in the fields, the market places, people’s homes, and public gatherings, the idea that we might not be doing ministry the most effective way begins to emerge. From this point on, everyone is listening attentively.
Food here is in abundance…so I will not be returning home a few pounds lighter. Swaziland is obviously doing well. There are multiple construction projects going on all over the city…a city that is relatively clean. Louise and I went for a walk up the steep road in front of the conference centre for a bit of exercise before stuffing more delicious food down our gullets, and we could see over most of the city centre. We watched some children playing football in a field below us and had a chat with a “Reformed” Christian who came up and introduced himself to us. Perhaps he thought we were likely candidates for his church.
We had a few good responses around the dinner table tonight...always good to hear that.