A perfect beautiful day!

Trip Start Jan 07, 2013
Trip End Jan 22, 2013

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Where I stayed

Flag of South Africa  , Gauteng,
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The past week has been intense and with great gratitude to God, nothing has gone wrong, lost, messed up or in any way gone different than what is expected.  In fact, this has been a week where I have been pleasantly surprised about all aspects of our working in southern Africa both from the church and humanitarian aspects.  I am so pleased to see us have 190 people attending our churches in Malawi as well as more than 430 in Zambia in eight viable congregations.  In Zimbabwe we have 51 and with the Kingdom of God seminars and Good News and literature distribution, it promises to rise.  All this is so encouraging.  Now, I turn my attention on South Africa.  

I had to fill out a breakfast requisition before going to bed.  All the forms were in Russian. Why was this?  Maybe the Wallis's who arranged this place mentioned that I was Russian.  I checked off the items I wanted and asked for 8 am.  

When I awoke, it was 8:50!  I hardly EVER oversleep and this was so uncharacteristic.  At home I always get up at 5:00 am and never have trouble waking up.  But, my body may have told itself that it was time to let up and so it happened.  The kitchen had my breakfast saved.  

I met Maddy, who is the daughter of the owners Johann and Anna.  They have a beautiful Guest House.  He is a woodworker and has built all the nice bookcases in the rooms.  Very nice people. Good strong Internet, too.  

Maddy apologized forthe Russian menus and said she'd bring some English ones. She did, but they were still in Russian.  So, Russian I will be.  I found that they had a lot of Russian clients here as the Russian Embassy is close by.  Pretoria is the capital of South Africa.  

The news on TV was Aljazeera, the Islamic news network.  It was well-produced...as well as FOX or CNN, but with a Middle East and Islamic center of reference.  The news ranged from fighting and killing between Pakistanis and Indians in the Kasmir, to an "in depth" coverage of President Obama's upcoming inauguration, to more violence in other Arabic areas.  Pictures on TV show the typical thing you see about the Mideast.  Rock throwing at vehicles, bombings, RPG's, crying women.  The same thing over and over again.

I really need this day to regroup.  I went for two walks.  The streets in this part of town have strange angles, so you can easily become disoriented. But, I had two great walks, each about 45 minutes.  Bev and I really like to walk and talk and I particularly missed her as she would have enjoyed the balmy 85 degree sunny weather and all the beautiful flowers and greenery....and the tree-lined roads.  Where Bev is there is an ice and snow storm and wind chill temp of 17 degrees above F. Quite a contrast from here.

Jason Webster picked up me at 3:30 and we went over the Isella and Neil's home.  Isella is Monique's mother and great worker in the church.  She manages the church office and all the matters dealing with subscriptions, literature fulfilment, letter answering and more....and she does a terrific job at doing so.  They have tried to reduce the Good News subscriber list and it has gone down only a little....people really want the magazine and we are looking to fruit to be borne as the church is regenerating.  There are over 40 people each week in church attendance and more than 50 that come overall.  Each week there seems to be a new person coming. We are so grateful for that. 

We had coffee and then went on to Jason and Moniques for dinner.  They live five minutes away. I played with their kids Tahlia and Daniel and read a story to them...twice.  They are so much fun and reminded me of my grandchildren.  

Then Jason, Monique and I talked for about two hours....and would have gone longer.  We discussed the future of the church in South Africa....we are very optimistic about growth in every way.  

What impressed me was the extremely high value of the printed literature we offer.  While people get connected via the Internet and the seemingly cheap and easy online portal, there is still no substitute for credible, attractive literature that fills in holes, that can be tool for reflection and grounding.  I found that in Zimbabwe and now here in South Africa.  The United Church of God has a fantastic media mix, a game that should not be changed.  This past year (2012) has been a great year for growth in every way.  

From Webster's I was able to call Bev for the first time on this trip.  

That's it for today....tomorrow Isella and I are going to go around waiting rooms in hospitals and waiting rooms to distribute the Good News.  I like to do hands on things!
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sixto on

Thank you for sharing. It is nice to read the good news about your trip in Africa. While reading your account, it's like travelling with you. Have a safe & fruitful trip.

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