Monday 1st August

We left port quite early this morning, so I have an extra hour or so this afternoon, so I will try and write at least some of the detail of the overnight…

Our group was to meet at our STEP-mum’s office at 3pm, and then leave, so I had most of the day (Friday) free to pack, write email, clean up, and other things that I needed to do. I wrote down some notes for a sermon, because I had been told I would probably need to do at least one. My first ever sermon, fun.

I chose Psalm 13, the one which goes something along the lines of:

How long, O Lord, will everything terrible happen to me?
Life sucks, I’m sick, I’m going to die,
Mine enemies shalt triumph over me,
I’ve got such a headache,
Yet will I praise the Lord,
For He has been good to me
Amen.

I picked it as it is one of my favourite psalms, many of the early ones sound too righteous for me to really be able to associate to, and the later ones are too long, and I hate jumping about from verse to verse to make a point.

Anyway, I figured I needed a story as well to go with it, so randomly looked about the New Testament for a good story to use, and found about Jesus and Peter walking on the water.

Cool, I thought, and found a way to link the two passages, talking about faith, and thinking “Well, if it needs to be a sermon to non-Christians, then I have plenty of room to maneuver it into an altar call (Don’t worry, I’m not getting that holy. heh.), and if it turns out the whole audience, er, sorry, congregation, are Christians, then I have something vaguely encouraging to say, ie, that even when life sucks, God is in charge, and will catch us if we fall.”.

So that was all O.K. I knew I would have a translator (probably), and so that would make it all longer too (I hate long sermons, but have been told repeatedly that culturally long sermons are required. I feel too tired to bother speculating on reasons why. Maybe some other time…).

Anyway, then after that, I put my notes somewhere safe, and then went to borrow the sailmakers thread and a needle. I could not find a good needle, but my shift leader lent me one of his, and said “hey, no worries, it’s too thick for anything I ever use, so if it breaks, cool.” or something like that.

Which is a good thing.

My beloved rucksack (backpack) had become unstitched quite badly where the armstraps are attached to the bag, and I wanted to repair it. So I got the needle and thread, put the needle through the material once, pulled through, fine! This was great! I could have my bag nice and fixed before going. I had 2 hours still.

I put the needle through again, and pulled… and pulled… and pulled… nothing. It would NOT come through! Odd… So I reversed it, and tried again, and snapped the needle at the eye. Wonderful. Now what?

So after staring at the beautific sight of a snapped needle, a broken bag, and a watch saying 1 and a half hours til I needed to go, I had a bright idea of seeing if I could borrow my Big Brother’s bag. I found him, and he said “Yeah! Sure.” And that was good. I also asked him if he could collect my laundry for me on the Saturday, again, no problem.

Anyway.

So after collecting mozzie nets, and all the rest of the various details, we left, and followed one of the volunteers out at 3.30pm, found a chappa (bus), piled in, and set off. After about 15 minutes of traveling, all squashed in this bus, we heard a strange sound, and then when we next stopped because of traffic, Jordan, the group leader had his head out the window and was shouting something.

Then we all heard it, a very loud “Hissssssss” from the aft of the bus. “It’s flat!” he shouted, “there is some metal thing stuck in it!”. Hm.

I was quite excited about the whole overnight thing, and so was actually not at all concerned. I was thinking “Oh, jolly good. I hoped something like this would happen. Something unexpected, Thanks God! Any chance you could do something miraculous? You know, keep it full of air until we get there, and then, like let the whole thing go totally empty and the bus fall over in a dramatic manner? That would be SO cool! Anyway God, if you want us to not arrive, that’s up to you, so …”

At about this point in my vaguely absurd cocktail of prayer and I’m-A-Spiritual-Person-in-Africa fantasy, the bus pulled over into a car repair yard, they brought an air-hose over, filled it up, did something obscure and mechanical to it, and we drove off again, the whole incidant taking perhaps 4 minutes from puncture to fixed tire and on-the-road-again. Wow…

I was feeling slightly anticlimatic, after all those grand ideas of meeting the public in some cool Divine Appointment ™, and we aren’t even delayed… “Um, Thanks God… That was pretty cool. Um… Yeah… For some reason I feel like I should be more excited than I am…” Oh well.

So stopped, got out, and started off walking down these mud alley/roads. Eventually we got there. A small compound type arrangement, one 6-room-house, one kitchen-block, one extra bedroom block, and one 5 metre by 10 metre hall, the church. Most of the rooms didn’t have glass in the windows, just a hole. The walls were made of concete breezeblock type things, with a corrigated iron roof perched on top. Mud floor in the church, and unadorned-concrete in the rest of the rooms.

We were expected to do a program at 2pm or so, apparently, but because we didn’t get there until about 4.30, so everyone had left already. O.K, no worries, and Vasco, our volenteer, (and now it turned out, son of the pastor,) would take us for a tour of the local area.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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