Monday, May 20, 2013

Delayed. Blessings.

During my three week delay in South Africa, I was hosted most generously and lovingly by Calvary Chapel Johannesburg. Although I had originally planned just a two day lay-over, they took it like champs every time my departure got pushed.

In fact, they took it like Africans --which means they laughed and goodnaturedly slapped me on the back, saying, “This is Africa my friend. You might as well get used to it now!”

Some weeks that was easier than others.
    --Oh Africa!

Heather & Chad Naaktgeboren
But as I look back on this long delay, I cannot help but be thankful. For in it, God gave me time to tie up loose ends (update my immunizations, cut my hair, regulate my bank accounts). But He also made sure I got some much needed rest.

I didn’t realize it until the jet lag passed, but I was exhausted. That last month in the States sent me deep into my energy reserves. I was spent.

And so when I got to Jo’burg and was informed it would be some time before I could make it to Mozambique, I took advantage of the time to rest.

“What did I do with my time?” you ask.

Fabio, Jonathan & Deon
Good question. Let’s see...

I spent almost an entire week devouring the 2011 Calvary Chapel Missions conferences CDs. Some sermons I listened over and over again until I had them transcribed. It was like being at my own personal missions conference. God met me every day!
    --What a blessing!

I shopped a lot for things to set up my household. Cups. Cutlery. Cooking pots. Honestly, I’d forgotten how much was needed to have even a simple kitchen in place. I was tempted to get a knife and a cutting board and be done with it... but in time I was persuaded otherwise.

I hung out a lot with the CCJ staff and church body. Praying. Drinking coffee. Chatting. God allowed some amazing friendships to develop and I count it as the biggest blessing of the delay.

Hannah & Deon Bothma
In fact, let me introduce you to a few of them now.

The pastors, Chad and Heather Naaktgeboren, are American born but slowly blending into the South African way of life. They say, “Ya-AH” and “Ya. No. But....” and “Is it?” like pros. But it’s clear that they won’t be losing their American accents anytime soon.

They planted CCJ six years ago and are seeing some beautiful fruit. Their church has moved from location to location over the years, but it is currently held in a tent on an expansive property in the Honeydew area of town.

Mickie Horst
Chad is a gifted teacher, and he has surrounded himself with some dedicated staff. The assistant pastors are Deon (who also leads worship) and Fabio (who heads up the singles ministry).

Heather (Chad’s wife) and Hannah (Deon’s wife) both work hard in women’s and children’s ministries. And Mickie (a missionary sent from So. California) works mostly with discipling ministries and an outreach to the nearby slum, Sandspruit.

Brendon Kelly
Others that stayed at the house were Brendon (the guy who took me on my first taxi ride, ha ha!), Jonathan, and Enwea (Sorry dude, if I spelled that wrong! I'm also sorry I could not find a picture).

And of course you cannot forget sweet Sofie, the house help. She was the bright smile of welcome every morning!

And last but certainly not least... were the delightful Naaktgeboren children! If everyone had kids like you guys, this world would be a better place!

I won’t bore you with the minutiae of my days there; suffice it to say that it was a truly blessed time. In fact, I got all weepy when it finally came time to leave. My heart was so happy there... it was like leaving home.

Sofie & me
So here is a huge THANK YOU to all those at CCJ who loved on me and encouraged me and welcomed me so well! I miss you all so much! And I cannot wait to see you in Cape Town in September!