Last week was a remarkable week. It was a week like I had never experienced before. I had come to South Africa particularly excited this time, because I was going to be working with Barry in a very true and real mission preaching style experience.
The opportunities in South Africa for mission workers are absolutely amazing. In fact they are incredible, exciting and in many ways beyond belief. There are so many varied and different types of projects and works a volunteer can get involved with everything from young children in Crèche programs, junior school “Brain Gym” teaching projects, Therapy in physically handicapped schools, after school sports, teaching, youth programs all under the umbrella of Kingdom Youth Projects, Gospel Girls and Mighty Men classes, feeding programs for the sick, poor and disadvantaged as well as numerous bible and study classes that fill and overflow each week in our lives and time here …… but it is the meeting, teaching and talking with the locals about the things of God and the Kingdom that has really appealed to me …. the simple, simplistic message that the local people here crave to here ……
Barry and I have been visiting and meeting with many lost and isolated brethren & sisters. We are also meeting and caring for many of the elderly black and white members of the churches in and around Durban and KZN. Barry is older than me (ages are not permitted to be specified in this blog) but we wander around Durban and KZN very much like the odd couple. We jokingly refer to ourselves as “The Baz & Chaz Show” or the Baz & Chaz Travelling Circus” …. So when we come to a house or hall in your town, it becomes a bit of a circus as we both fight over the “air time” available to us !!!
But last week we were both humbled and taken back by three separate incidences in which during discussions with total strangers we were invited and encouraged to come to their three different churches to teach them about the Kingdom of God. As I write this, there has been another three more separate requests this week for similar help in churches around Durban. Margate and Candu in rural Eastern Cape of South Africa.
One of these invitations came from a young women serving me in Woolworths as I purchased some polo shirts. Barry was also purchasing some items at another check out and soon joined me. Barry was wearing his “Kingdom of God” tee shirt and the woman (Bongewi) asked me if we were Pastors. When I replied yes, she immediately responded by asking us if we would come to her church and teach them about the Kingdom of God. We greed and swapped phone numbers and went our way.
Within 30 minutes I sent a text message to her and thanked her for her invitation and within the next few hours text messages were swapped and a phone conversation was had with her father and Pastor to come to their church in Kwamashu, north of Durban the following Sunday at 10.00am. We readily agreed after which Barry advised me that he had commitments on Sunday and he wished me good luck with my baptism of fire !!! Thanks partner.
I arranged for Funo, a Zulu brother and very good friend to accompany me. I felt more confident that Funo could and would accurately translate my thoughts and comments than perhaps an overzealous member of their church would for me. I certainly wanted to avoid being caught up in an over enthusiastic group of revivalists misunderstanding my message and responding by calling on fire from heaven or some other natural disaster that may result in my South African visa being withdrawn 🙂 !!!
When Funo and I arrived. we were welcome by Bongiwe at the front of her humble home which had a large allotment next door with a large marquee tent set up with a rather large concrete stage. As we approached the stage the all to familiar sound of seven Zulu singers with microphones and the biggest, loudest and noisiest sound system that would wake the dead was blaring out accompanied by a man pounding on an electric organ to the great joy and excitement of most of the whole state of KZN !!!
As we made our way down the centre isle, Funo and I looked like a nervous bride and groom on our wedding day as we were introduced to the master of ceremonies and “Pastor” whose name was Thomas !!! Suddenly I felt very under dressed. Choosing to take the middle ground of dress standard on this day in an endeavour to avoid causing any offence, I had rolled up in a nice pair of grey slacks, complimented with a neat “short sleeved” white linen shirt with a pair of casual slip on brown scuffed and unpolished shoes which I had felt completely comfortable in, until suddenly I was confronted with “Pastor Thomas” ……
Neat, Sheik, Aplomb do not adequately describe Thomas. From the top of his neatly shaved and oiled head to the tip of his shiny polished shoes, Thomas was there to impress ….. and impress he did. His perfectly fitted manicured suit, complete with matching handkerchief in his top pocket, cuff links, perfectly pressed shirt …. and those shoes ..… they were so shiny they sparkled …… and could those shoes dance !!!!
After a number of upbeat Zulu gospel songs and a very gracious introduction and welcome, I was invited to speak to the congregation gathered under the marquee tent. There were about 50 people there and for about 20 minutes I spoke passionately and excitedly of the coming Kingdom of God. I took them step by step through some of the significant changes that Jesus would bring to the world by the Kingdom of God.
They all seemed to receive my message well and invited and encouraged me to return again soon ….. As long as I brought the word of God with me, I was most welcome I was told as I took my seat and breathed a huge sigh of relief …..
Despite our clear cultural difference, there was a genuine desire by all of us to know and understand God’s will, God’s ways and God’s plans about His coming Kingdom. Thomas then spoke for a further 20 minutes, mainly in Zulu, bringing to the members minds many other aspects of the coming Kingdom of God.
These were simple people who wanted to learn and be taught the simple message of the Kingdom of God ….. and as we left they again asked us …. Please come again and teach us !!!