Sunday, September 10, 2017

Gauteng, Swaziland, and Beyond! Day Eighteen.

Shades of Gambela…there was a slaughter house right outside our gate in Gambela where people would gather after sunset and catch-up on community time until late every night…loudly. Finally the din would subside, but by 5 AM the noise of passers-by would pick up again.

Last night, two dogs decided this was their time for sweet fellowship, all the way until midnight. Then at 3 AM fellow residents at the Guest House arrived after an obvious long night of looking rather too deeply into the whiskey bottle. That was the end of our night’s rest. By 6 we had read the Scriptures and prayed, breakfasted and showered and were ready for the day…way too early for the church though.

We met Eugene and Ria at St Peter’s earlier than arranged…but it gave us time to set-up for the
introductory talk in the church hall before the service started. Ria has several churches under her…this would be the first of two for today. The service was conducted completely in Afrikaans…not what one would expect in an Anglican Church in South Africa. This made me quite nervous as I had never given this particular talk in Afrikaans before.

The sermon was outstanding…I haven’t heard such powerful preaching in a long time. Ria drew parallels between the enslavement of Israel under Egypt and the enslavement of local children who had been abducted from the area to work as slaves on a farm in the Free State. Someone had tipped off the authorities and the children had been freed, but there was much that still needed to be done to help these victims of abuse. Apparently, sex trafficking is high here. I simply cannot understand how anyone in his or her right mind would want to harm a child, especially in this manner. To me this is the worst sin of them all.

After the service, we had about 20 people show up to hear about the Disciple Making course, LEAD. The interest is high as many are worried about the dwindling numbers in their respective churches, especially among the young. There are many “signs and wonder” churches springing up every day promising quick wealth and health…for a fee, of course. What I always say is lead people into a real, life changing, liberating relationship with the one true God and they will not go looking for thrills and fads.
After the talk we went to visit the Moffat Mission Station…this station was started in 1799 by the London Missionary Society and is still going strong. Robert and Mary Moffat and David Livingstone are the most famous names connected to this station. The church still has the original dirt floor and some of the original pews. This is where David Livingstone recuperated after being attacked and mauled by a lion…nursed by Mary Moffat Junior with whom he fell in love, proposed under an almond tree, and subsequently married in the church here.

The graveyard tells many a sad tale of infants dying of smallpox and other preventable diseases. Life was hard back then and missionaries made real sacrifices to bring the Gospel to the indigenous people. Moffat and Livingstone were rejected by those who still wanted to enslave the local people, but the persevered and won the day.

From there we drove down to Kimberley…thankfully not a long drive. The Diocese has put us up in an historic home…hopefully we will get some rest tonight! No dogs or imbibers please!  

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