MY SECOND WEEK IN SOUTH AFRICA

Oct 17, 2022 | Gilbert's Journal

MY SECOND WEEK IN SOUTH AFRICA

 

After a meaningful couple of days in Johannesburg, I arrived in Port Elizabeth for the second leg of a 3-week trip to Southern Africa.

My dear friend Neil, welcomed me to their beautiful city as he picked me up from the airport and the rest of the day was spent in great conversation with his warm family, jogging together along the beach and over meals. He was very thoughtful by giving me a day to rest before speaking at the midweek service on Thursday evening.

Meeting some members of the Port Elizabeth church family at their nice meeting venue, confirmed the good impressions that had formed in me through a series of online lessons taught mainly during the lockdown.

In addition to sharing “the gathering of the nations” from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, the interactions that followed were very insightful and helpful. I have been equally learning a lot on this trip from my wonderful audience.

Friday was a full and fulfilling day with quality time spent over breakfast with a married brother, extensive time with Neil visiting parts of the city, praying together at their holiday beach house, studying the Bible with a young flight student from Zambia, and time spent with the Youths – a group made up mainly of campus students and single professionals.

We then left early on Saturday morning for Mthatha on an almost 7-hour road trip to another part of the Eastern Cape.  The scenic views richly fed both my eyes and my soul as we drove past vast expanses of grazing land, hilly for the most. The road network is great, the weather was sometimes rainy and very foggy. Most of the landscape reminded me of the North Western Region of Cameroon, in which I was born.

The first lesson taught to a small group of relatively older disciples upon arrival focused on the different Seasons we all face in Life and was followed by an introduction to the book of Hebrews. On Sunday, we then delved into the book with a lot more depth.

Some of the lessons I will remember from this trip to Mthatha include:
• The healing and refreshing power of time spent contemplating God’s creation – He definitely knew that I needed some time out in nature, away from the noise and busyness of big city life. This has helped reconnect me with my past and in very profound ways – as a child, I grew up deeply in touch with and immersed in nature.

• The blessing of spiritual hunger  (Matthew 5:3) – the brothers and sisters in Mthatha devoured God’s Word with profound eagerness, joy, and gratitude. Their hearts remind me of the need to resist a sense of self-sufficiency; reminiscent of the Laodiceans (Rev 3:17-18) – a topic to be further explored this Wednesday as I prepare to teach the Soweto Region on “the seven churches” (Rev 2-3).

• The need for a rich spiritual diet – our churches, especially those in distant or remote parts, need to be supported with deep Bible teaching on a more consistent basis.

• Our need for spiritual soul mates –  extensive time spent driving and sharing with my brother, fellow student, and teacher of the Word.

 

Thanks for your prayers as I fly back to Joburg, speak in Soweto and continue to Cape Town over the weekend for the last leg of my trip.  Thank you, my South African family, for your warmth and incredible care.

 

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