A restful day in Mauritius

Trip Start Apr 02, 2014
Trip End May 07, 2014

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Flag of Mauritius  , Grand Port,
Saturday, April 5, 2014

For dinner last night I located an Indian restaurant, named Namaste Kathmandu, which was well reviewed, and not far off. I had chicken tikka masala, and a local beer called Phoenix, (which I always hope won't burn to ash and be reborn in my stomach….).

 I slept well but woke up early, and so enjoyed a restful morning. Friday, a strong wind blew all day, but this morning the air and sea were calm making for a wonderful sunrise and pleasant time to sit on the balcony and think. Small boats of fisherfolk, for which the town is known, were heading out to start their workday.

At 9:30 I started toward the Prodigue’s home. Since I don’t know Mahébourg very well yet, I made a few wrong turns, saw some beautiful coastal scenery, and lost a few minutes. I finally arrived at their home about 10:15, in time to start our service at 10:30. We were five: three ladies and two men.

We sang hymns in English since, we haven’t yet been able to finish or distribute a French hymnal, and the members here, though they prefer French which is closer to their first language, Creole, all do well in English. Sometimes people in the West can be condescending to folks from lesser developed areas, but most Mauritians speak at least three languages as do many people in Africa, for that matter.

After the hymns and an opening prayer, I spoke about the symbolism of the Old Testament sacrifices and what they represented, and how all that applied to this time of year. After the closing prayer we discussed the sermon and I answered a few questions. We talked about the sliding morality in the world, which is being felt in Mauritius too. I was asked about the chronology of the Passover: why did Jesus keep the Passover the night before the Jews sacrificed lambs for the Passover meal? Had Jesus made a change since the first, Exodus Passover, or had the Jews? [Answer: While we can’t be 100% certain, we believe the Jews changed the practice over time, and that Jesus observed the Passover with His disciples at the same time Israel did at the time of the Exodus]. We also discussed the significance of Jesus dying at the same time the lambs were being sacrificed before the Temple.

I was asked when the Church actually began, since Acts 7:38 refers to Ancient Israel as "the congregation [in the KJ: 'church’] in the wilderness". So who was the first member of the church? Was it Abraham? [My answer, short version: The NT Church was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20) – a term which certainly includes some Patriarchs like Abraham, “the father of the faithful”. So in one sense the church is the group of people with whom God directly worked or works at any time, but in a fuller, and the most important sense, the Church began on the Day of Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection].

We interrupted out discussion for an Indian/Mauritian meal of raw vegetable salad, rice and chicken in curry. When I asked if this would be considered an Indian or a Mauritian meal, I immediately received both answers! A discussion ensued to sort out the correct answer. The conclusion was that it was an Indian curry, but much less spicy that Indians would make it, so it was a Mauritian version of an Indian meal, and thus both were correct. I joked that Mrs. Prodigue was just being kind to me and sparing me the full magnitude of Indian curry, which can have an effect similar to that of a flame thrower.

After a scoop of ice cream for dessert, we continued our conversation. We talked about the Feast of Tabernacles and how they hope other will come to celebrate this happy time with them. I told them that I shamelessly advertise for the Feast in Mauritius as I travel around. It means a great deal to them that fellow members come to celebrate this festival with them (hint, hint – there I go again…).

One lady asked to talk to me privately about some personal questions, which I was happy to do. Our few members here must often wait months to have such discussions and ask advice from a church elder, so these moments are much appreciated. After that discussion we all moved out on the terrace to continue our conversation. The simple act of being able to discuss our mutual faith with someone “new”, and encourage each other is a precious opportunity.

In mid-afternoon we enjoyed a strong coffee to perk us up – I was feeling some jet-lag by this time – and allow us to continue enjoying our time together.

We could see the ocean in the distance, a deep blue contrasting with the lush green of the sugar cane fields. The weather was perfect, a pleasant warm temperature, probably in the mid-70s F, with a slight, refreshing sea breeze. They told me that it was getting cold, since winter was beginning. I smiled and said winter in north Texas was rather different. I asked how cold it could get in Mauritius in winter, I was told that except for the extreme mountain tops and plateaus, the coldest it gets is about 15 to 18 C, which is the low to mid 60s F, not exactly a harsh winter….

At afternoon began giving way to evening, Mme Prodigue and Mme Laroche prepared to head back toward Port Louis. I said goodbye until late July, when if all goes as planned I’ll be back to visit once again – a second visit within the year will be a special treat. I stayed and talked a while longer with the other Prodigues and then asked for some directions back to Mahébourg. Jocelyn gave me directions for a shortcut through the cane fields. It wasn’t too preoccupying, even if one gets lost on an island, one’s bound to hit a coastline sooner or later to get reoriented.

The drive back in the fading afternoon was very pleasant, and I didn’t get lost. When dinner time came around, I walked into Mahébourg for a quick meal at the Namaste Kathmandu. The views from the seafront of the sea and the jutting island mountains are a tropical delight. I noticed a large memorial text embedded in the terrace side-walk on the seat front that said the waters before me were the location of the only naval victory of Napoleon Bonaparte’s forces during his rule. Wars are sometimes fought in unimaginable places.

I believe I will sleep well tonight.
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Beverly Lofty on

Thank you so much Mr. Meeker :-) I so enjoy reading your blog and it makes me feel like I have been there too :-)

Doug Morgan on

So glad you are traveling safe. It must be a special treat to see such exotic places and visit with Brethren of like minds. Your blogs are so complete it is just like being there with you. Will pray for a successful trip. Thanks.

mary on

Hello, Joel. What gorgeous pictures of the bay, the fishermen and sunrise. It must be a great pleasure for the brethren there to meet with you. Thanks for including the questions and answers about Passover. You all must have enjoyed such a peaceful Sabbath in a beautiful surrounding.

Tess Washington on

Hi Mr. Meeker, as your usual humorous statements about the Phoenix beer and curry being like a flamethrower, I laughed loudly! Thank you for this delightful travel blog! Good to see our brethrens again in Mauritius! It is also good to hear the fellowship you had with them...so precious...take care...you are in our prayers.

Marguerite Evans on

Like others have said, the way you write your blogs makes me feel like I'm there. Also having been in Mauritius for the FOT, I felt even more there. :) Thanks for the update on our brethren!

Ted Franek on

Thank you sir for the great photos and your since of humor that brings out spontaneous laughter in me.
Am praying for a very profitable trip for you and all the brethren.

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