My first week in Noordhoek, Capetown has flown by and I thought I’d share with you some of my first impressions and a glimpse into life here at the All Nations base…
My team consists of eight people. We live together, learn together, and reach out together. We are a very international team – one South African, two Malawians, three Swiss, one American, and one British (although I have been mistaken for Indian!?!) . It’s been a real privilege to get to know them and have a laugh over some of our cultural differences, including this conversation…
Swiss: Can you organise us a lift for tomorrow for church? You have the contacts.
Malawian: (shrugs shoulders) Maybe
Swiss: No, you need to organise us a lift. Text someone and ask them.
Malawian: Maybe we can walk, maybe we get a lift
Swiss: We are NOT walking. I’m going to wear a nice dress. Please could you arrange for a lift.
Malawian: (completely ignoring the increase in anxiety in the tone of the swiss) I can try, if not we can walk
Swiss: (exasperated but trying to remain good-natured). Thank you, please try
….a few minutes pass….
Swiss : Well, have you organised a lift…
Malawian: I think Michael can take us
Swiss: (relieved) Great, when is he coming, what time do we need to be ready?
Malawian: We will see
Swiss: I need to know what time to be ready!
Malawian: Maybe 9, maybe 9 30. If not we walk.
Swiss: gives up
And I’ve watched with astonishment as the two Malawians have got up at the crack of dawn to mop, clean, sweep and tidy every single morning to serve our team. I’m sure I’ve got much more to learn…. including that shop opening hours look a little different here:
I’ve been blessed by the staffs’ desire to see us learn, grow and be challenged – and also to care for us and treat us as family as we adjust to life in South Africa. The first week was mainly introductory but we still covered diverse topics such as conflict resolution, the trinity, creation and an introduction to cross border outreach – we’ll be sent to either Lesotho or Uganda! Lots of info to process and respond to. They also organised an ‘Amazing Race’ event where we were split up into teams and let loose in Cape Town to accomplish tasks such as asking strangers to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ in a foreign language, finding a mosque and praying for the area, and doing a South African dance – you can watch our skilled dance moves below! I struggled to reign in my competitive side but we had a lot of fun in the process and got to know Cape Town a little bit. I also ended up with a beetroot coloured face under the merciless South African sun!
I got a chance to return to the two townships I visited in 2015. It was great to hear of baptisms in Masi, and the start of Hopetown in Ocean View, a ministry with a building space for classes, tutoring, hanging out and bible study for young people. Ocean View has a lot of broken families with fathers in prison, a high level of unemployment, and a culture of gang violence and drugs. Hopetown’s tagline is ‘life with passion and purpose’ and has a great vision to introduce young people to Jesus and equip them for the future and change this culture. Some of the young people are pictured on the blog title image above. I just need to remember not to call Ocean View ‘Ocean Terminal’ by mistake, which you Edinburgh folk might understand! 😮
I’m thankful – and challenged – to be learning here and excited for what is next. If you’d like to receive my prayer points, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be in touch! And if you’d like to know how you can support me financially, there’s more info on the giving page here.