If I’ve ever had a more blessed outreach than this one, I’d have to think really hard. And I’m not sure how I will relate it, but I’ll try.
We left on Friday (27 Aug) morning. The bus took off at approximately 9am. Each one of us (we were about, rounded off, 100 on the bus) got a food parcel that was prepared for us by the ‘mamas’ as we call them, the co-workers ladies of the mission who work in the kitchen. Would you believe what was all in that package?! 12 slices of bread made into six sandwiches and the spreading varied from scrambled eggs, peanut butter and polony (if I remember correctly), 2 packets of cheese corn chips, a 500 ml bottle of flavoured mineral water, an apple and a 250 ml of flavoured yogurt. That was your food for the whole day. I was taken aback – such care that was put into each packet. The yogurt and chips were luxuries, but we got them anyway.
As the bus took off, these dear ‘mamas’ stood and sang for us. How the tears welled up in my eyes. A Zulu chorus, ‘May the Lord be with you as you take the Gospel out.’ Then the entire bus lit up with song, “Go out, precious new Gospel!”
I sat and counted myself privileged to be a part of this work of the Lord, and that He didn’t leave me out.
Half an hour into our journey, we stopped to pick up some of our colleagues from our sister branches. This is when our numbers totalled to 100.
The atmosphere was now lively, and we all sang – choruses of salvation and redemption and of God’s mighty work.
It was a long journey. About three hours into the journey, we stopped for a break, everyone got out, and there was a super long que to the bathroom (not to mention that two other busses had just stopped at the same rest stop as we had) and we all got something to chew on and something extra to drink. Then back into the bus, squeezed ourselves back in our spots and we were on our way again.
At one point, we began to practise our choir songs, and we sang wholeheartedly. Now you should know, that if you ever come along on a mission’s trip in Africa, you should prepare your voice beforehand, because singing will be as part of the trip as wheels are as part of the vehicle – we sing just about all the way.
Then, the older co-workers who were with us in the bus, stopped the singing and said that it’s time to chat. We began to speak about everything that might come our way as we are headed to the people of the Ndebele.
The questions were posed to us: (To each question, we had to calmly raise hands and give wise answers. We were soldiers of the Lord, weren’t we? So will we act like them?
– If we come there and find that we have no mattresses to sleep on, but that we have to sleep on the hard concrete floor, what will we do?
Answer: We will sleep on the floor without complaining because we are soldiers.
(Here I thought about the Lord Jesus, the King of Kings, when He was here on earth, and I mentioned to my friend sitting next to me on the bus, that He had not even a place to stay and had to lay down His head on a rock as a pillow.)
– If we arrive there, and we find that there aren’t any toilets, what will we do?
Oh boy, tough one this. The giggles amongst the girls rang around the bus. 😀
Answer: I can’t remember the exact answer that was given here because everyone was just laughing so loud, but it did boil down to the fact again that we are soldiers. Some said they’ll go into the bush, other’s had other suggestions and the elders just smiled. But God was good to us when we did arrive. More on this later.
– If we arrive, we find that they serve us food that we do not eat, or aren’t used to eating, what will we do?
Answer: we will humble ourselves and eat it. As a missionary, you have no say whatsoever as to what you must eat and what you mustn’t eat. You eat what is given to you.
And so the discussion continued with many other questions.
I’m going to cut this short and continue my report in a ‘part 2’, lest this become too long. Let me just say this: would you believe it, we ate meat the whole weekend. Every meal. God’s goodness is greater than sufficient. You don’t just get cooked beans with spinach, you get rice and a dilicious stew with veggies and a salad. Every meal. Whoa. May God bless those people abundantly there where they took from.
The toilet story was one to remember. I’ll share this in the next episode, including bath times. We ended up sleeping in a preschool, and for us girls (who were 67 in total), we had to share 1 bath, and 4 toilets. The bath and toilets were in one room, with only one door. The toilets had compartments seperating them, but they had no doors, so you either had to be super quick, or hope no one saw you as they walked past trying to see which one is vacant. Haha.
Bath times – we started bathing from about 1am in the mornings so that all of us can get through by 7am when we had to leave. Fancy that? And you had to take your friend along to provide some privacy for you with a towel.
How I love adventure! Especially if it gives you the time and space to share the Gospel.
More to come.