Modern-Day Disciples

the Rooted in Jesus group
the “Rooted in Jesus” group

I recently attended my first Rooted in Jesus training, and the experience was amazing. On the outset, Rooted in Jesus may look like a simple course in Christian discipleship; but upon a closer look, it is a powerful and meaningful course, equipping Africans in their faith in a context relative to them. These disciples in turn lead Rooted in Jesus groups, making more disciples of Christ. I had the privilege to be one of the team leaders for the training.

There are several things I loved about the training, but what I enjoyed most was the relationships. Among the people I met were three who reminded me of modern-day versions of characters in the Bible. I would like to share their stories with you.

Uncle Peter—The Loving Father
Uncle Peter’s son was a drug addict. Because of his addiction, he lost his wife, his job, his health, his home. For two years he lived in the bush, and his family didn’t know his whereabouts. One Christmas Day he called his parents and asked to come home. Never giving up hope on finding his son and seeing him delivered from addiction, Uncle Peter had been waiting for those very words. Uncle Peter’s son has been clean for several years and has rebuilt his life. Uncle Peter still gets tears in his eyes when he shares his story. He told me, “I know that Jesus Christ is the Lord because I have seen what he has done in my son’s life.” Uncle Peter reminds me of the prodigal son’s father, who was waiting with outstretched arms to receive his son. (Luke 15:11-24)

Auntie Rosina and Uncle Peter
Auntie Rosina and Uncle Peter

Auntie Rosina—Anna
Three months ago Auntie Rosina lost her husband. The pain and grief are still quite real for her. She’s a quiet lady, but I detected an underlying wit, which was quite charming. She has a tender place in my heart, and I would appreciate your prayers for her as she continues to work through the grief of losing her beloved husband. Auntie Rosina reminds me of Anna, the faithful widow in the Bible who was able to hold our infant Lord. (Luke 2:36­-38)

Uncle Jos—Paul

Uncle Jos
Uncle Jos

Uncle Jos was a seaman for 45 years, sailing the world as a fisherman. In his words, he was quite a character back in the day and used to fight anyone who came along. All the other sailors were afraid of him. One day after getting arrested for fighting and having his wife bail him out, Uncle Jos decided to give his life to Christ; and with God’s help, he was able to turn his life around. Uncle Jos’s eyes still well up with tears when he talks about his “misspent youth,” but I think he is able to relate to sailors and to share the love of God with them in a way that most people cannot. Because of his numerous shipwrecks, conversion, and Christian witness, Uncle Jos reminds me of Paul.

*Note: In certain cultures in South Africa, the term “Auntie” and “Uncle” is a sign of respect and affection for older adults.

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Connected!

I finally have Internet at home, and I am excited beyond belief! I had to go through loads of paperwork to have a phone line in my name and to get a DSL service provider; but once all those things were in place, it didn’t take long for the companies to get me connected. Yippie!!! Can you tell that I am excited?

Boys Fishing in Gordan's Bay
Boys Fishing in Gordan’s Bay

I have been in Cape Town for nearly a month, and things are going well.  However, during the past few days, the mental stress of settling in has caught up with me. Each day I have spent loads of time trying to get Internet at home, a cell phone, a bank account, and a car. In a normal situation, these things can be time consuming; but as a foreigner, it seems to take triple the time. It can be quite exhausting. Plus, not having Internet at home has made me feel very disconnected from my family and friends. That feeling was definitely adding to my mental stress. I’m thrilled that my family and friends are now just a click away. Thank God for our marvelous technology.

I’m grateful, though, that my friends and colleagues at Growing the Church have helped me with all the settling in items that I named above. I can’t imagine trying to do this on my own. After experiencing such things on the “other side” as a foreigner, I will be much more empathetic and helpful to my international friends when I move back to the States. Moving to another country is truly like starting over. In a way, you have to rebuild your life—establishing yourself and unlearning a lot of things that may work in your home country but not in your adopted country. It is definitely a learning experience and not for the faint of heart.

First Few Days in Cape Town: Highlights

I have been in Cape Town less than two weeks; but in many ways, I already feel like it is home. My colleagues at Growing the Church have become my new family. They are taking such good care of me, and I feel like I have known them for a long time. Trevor, Estelle, Janice, Auntie Joyce, and Mike have welcomed me into their hearts and homes. I am blessed to have them in my life, and I look forward to being a part of their amazing work. In my short time here so much has happened. Here are some highlights:

1. The day after I arrived, Trevor (my boss) and his wife hosted an afternoon tea for me.
2. I started to work on my first project—helping to write and edit some sessions for the Anglicans Ablaze DVD study guide. (Anglicans Ablaze was the big Anglican conference Growing the Church hosted in Johannesburg last October.)
3. I moved into my flat, which exceeded my wildest expectations.
Walking the 5k 4. I walked my first 5K.
5. I went grocery shopping for the first time. It will take me a few more trips to get used to the  different foods and the method of shopping, but I loved buying fresh tropical fruit—mangos, avocados, lechi nuts. Plus, the eggs I bought are farm fresh and don’t have to be refrigerated; there were even a few feathers on the eggs.
6. I went to an afternoon braai (barbeque). My friends Estelle and Thurston braaied yellow tail and snook. Yummy!Estelle and Thurston
7. I learned the basic rules of cricket and rugby. (But I think I have forgotten them now.)
8. I had a lovely Sunday lunch with my friend Ali.
9. I attended Sunday morning service at Christ Church.
10. I bought a duvet for my bed.