Thursday, June 3, 2010

5 More things I've Learned about South Africa

1) A monkey in a church will inevitably get poo on the one piece of exposed sound equipment.

A monkey we have named Herman has moved into our grounds in the last few days, and Tuesday he managed to sneak his way into the church. This was hilarious and a little frightening, because we didn't know if he would get violent if he got cornered. Still, he did a spectacular job flinging poo everywhere. I haven't been able to snap a picture of him yet, but I'll get one soon. MONKEY IN THE CHURCH! Africa is awesome.

2) Greg lied to me and made me believe there is a bird who is afraid of heights.

The hadeda ibis is a ridiculously loud bird. They're named that because they say "HA-DE-DA, HA-DE-DA!" really loud while flying. Greg convinced me that they're afraid of heights and don't like to fly. Part of me feels stupid for having believed him, but I like the idea that they're afraid of heights because they yell the whole time they're flying. I reject the reality and substitute my own.

3) It is important for the safety of those around you to stay on Twitter during a staff meeting.

Monday morning we were sitting in staff meeting and Bruce (our associate pastor) falls over laughing. He said, "Marcel just posted to Twitter: "If anyone is reading this at Eastside, I'm stuck in the bathroom. Can you please come let me out?"'
Marcel, one of the Ignite interns, was in fact, stuck in the bathroom stall because the handle on the inside had broken off. However, this story gets more ridiculous because Marcel was the 3rd person to get stuck in that bathroom. A 10-year-old boy got stuck on Friday and an American guy named Nate got stuck an hour after arriving in South Africa. Marcel wandered around telling people not to get stuck and we posted a sign, only to get himself stuck and tell everyone in the land of Twitter about it.

4) In the grocery store, you can buy a frozen bag of chicken heads and chicken feet. They are called Walkie Talkies. (I'm not joking about this... the name is ridiculous... and the chickens still have beaks and eyeballs.)

5)Nothing in ministry is final until it has already happened.

I am now at the point of assuming that all things will change constantly, and anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Still, the World Cup starts tomorrow whether we're ready or not - so hopefully God's got the rest of the details in His hands =)

Keep praying for the orientations and send-out of our first teams this weekend!

I Consider Myself Repremanded

Annie - Your white girl american fans are awaiting a blog update .

Alright, as the 6 of you reading this demand... here's Africa post #3! I've already broken my commitment to post once a week, but I'll try to be more consistent from here.

So what am I actually doing here?

Well, this is what my days look like.

First, this is the view I wake up to. (Admittedly, the polution adds to the beauty of the sunrise, but it is still a spectacular panorama of Pretoria.) Our apartment (aka "flat") is in an area of town called Queenswood which is a decent drive from Eastside, but it's spacious and comfortable, so no complaints. Right now I'm living here with Kelsey and Christina, two other American interns who arrived about 10 days ago.

The three of us commute in one of two vehicles. #1 is the Bloubessie. She is a spunky, electric blue (her name means "Blueberry" in Afrikaans) Daewoo Matiz packed with a 0.9 Liter (yes... less than 1 liter) engine. There is NOTHING power in the car, no power steering, no power locks, no speakers, no radio, not even a working overhead light. Greg calls her a motorcycle with a roof. But, I do not complain. She has been excellent transport. The other vehicle I drive is the polar opposite of the Bloubessie, a Volkswagen Kombi named Tannie Aster ("Tannie Aster" means "Auntie Iron" in Afrikaans). In a land of small cars, this is a mega-soccer-mom van. It's nice for transporting people and stuff, and people always let me merge on the highway, but it's obnoxiously big.

40 minutes after leaving our lovely flat, we arrive at Eastside. The grounds at Eastside are beautiful. When they bought the land (4 years ago, I think?), everyone said it was a horrible place for a church that nothing would ever grow on the land. But alas, we have amazing grounds guys and the flowers are still blooming in what is quickly becoming winter. (I don't know the name of this flower, I just think it's really neat looking. I'll ask one of the guys and see if I can find out the name.)

Mornings always start with quiet time and prayer meeting, and 2 days a week we have workout club. After that, the day is filled with meetings, emails, phone calls, and general preparation for connecting our teams with the churches we're working with around the Gautang area (Gautang is the province we're in).

It seems unbelievable that I've been here almost a month, and more unbelievable that the World Cup is only 8 days away. At times this task seems insurmountable, but each day God has given us a new reason to trust his faithfulness. This morning for example, Joint Aid Management (JAM) Food Ministries committed to donate as much food as we need to feed every kid we meet on ministry. That's between 3500 & 4000 kilograms (7700-8800) pounds of food free of charge. With portions around 100 grams per child, we can provide 40,000 meals over these 4 weeks. Pretty incredible.

Thanks for all your prayers, please keep praying as the teams begin to go into ministry in the coming weeks. If you want to follow more about the ministry, we're now launching a website where you can follow more of what's happening when I'm not consistent updating my blog =)