This has been another week in my life in South Africa. It’s really starting to feel like South Africa is home and this is normal, rather than Australia being my home. That’s all a bit scary as I have been feeling quite overwhelmed in different ways with just about everything since returning home to South Africa from Australia six weeks ago.
In Australia I have a very relaxed retired life where my days should never start before 9.00am unless there is some extraordinary event to be up for. Casual relaxed hours and days are spent lazing around the house, the garden or chilling at a café somewhere … anywhere and just catching up with a few friends here and there ….. Yep, it’s a very nice relaxed life back in Australia.
Home in South Africa, life is very different. Not totally different. My days still don’t start early, but when they do start they just go and go and keep going!
For the past six weeks now there has been this growing overwhelming feeling of just not enough time in my days …. Yes, I know I could start earlier. But why spoil a good story with some useless facts, because that just isn’t going to happen. Besides, I may be a late starter each day, but I’m an equally late finisher each day too.
The work that Barry and I put on pause when I returned to Australia for in May has gathered great momentum since my return. Speaking, preaching and visiting has become all-consuming, and for the first time since I have been here this year, I am feeling the pressure building. It is now becoming a real effort to keep ahead of things.
With a minimum of two speaking appointments every Sunday since I returned until last Sunday and a further 2-3 other structured speaking appointments during the week, this is now testing me beyond levels I have thought I had capacity for. I take pride in trying to keep my talks and presentation interesting and informative, but keeping ahead of the schedule is testing me and I can feel the walls closing in on me.
I purchased a small compact projector in Australia to use over here in the townships and churches to allow me to show illustrated talks and presentations. The first two or three after I arrived back went over so well, I have now created a situation that I find myself up late most nights trying to put together 2-3 new presentations each week. Now for the average joe-bloe that would be easy. But I’m not your average joe-bloe. With a two finger typing speed of 6 words a minute and a computer awareness brain the size of a pea, it’s a real slog. Trying to put together even the simplest power-point presentation is a long a tedious job for me, but I love it.
It’s also such an amazing learning experience, even for an old timer like myself. Going over lots of old familiar stories and Bible principles and putting them into picture graphics and presentations has been one of the most enjoyable experiences I have encountered. One of our little Bible study classes has grown from 4-5 to now 12-15 every week, and every week they sit, listen, watch and learn and express their genuine joy and appreciation for the visual presentation and the words they here. How can I stop … but how can I keep ahead? Don’t tell me to get up earlier!
This week we started on Tuesday night with our Genesis Bible Class, Wednesday is our Bible Education Class (BEC), this week I am concluding a class on Ruth, Thursday is the Life of Christ class and then on Saturday we are starting a new 6 Part Seminar Series, the first of which is “Current Events. Then to end the week we have a Sunday afternoon BEC class which I am doing something, but not sure what yet. During the days Barry and I are visiting some local Africans in need, some elderly brothers and sisters that we do bible readings and fellowship meetings with and on three other separate mornings, after I wake up, we are talking with three local Zulu people about “First Principles” in preparation for baptism.
As exhausting as that all is, somehow it all comes together and the enjoyment and joy that both Barry and I get is immense. The baptism classes are something really special as Barry and I both fight for air-time to make our points, often interrupting each other to improve each other’s point …. As fast and as long as Barry talks, I have learnt to wait until he eventually takes a breath and that is my moment to dive in to make my point. Barry’s side glances and the raised finger don’t stop me as I launch into making sure my point is made before returning the floor my senior partner!
There are times when I feel that I have bitten of far more than I can chew. There are also times when I feel right out of my depth here. There are even times when I question whether I have made the right decision to leave the comfort of my retired life back in Australia to come here. But then someone will tell me how I have really helped them … or how I had given them an answer to a problem that they had been worrying about for a long time. That’s when I know I am so blessed to be here. That’s when I am genuinely overwhelmed with a feeling of joy to be able to make a small difference, a small contribution to these very special people’s lives.