As I write this, I am beginning the final week of a 28-day journey in South Africa. When you read this, I will have been home for about nine days. The Lord has allowed me to see so many things.
There is no way that I can tell you everything that I have experienced on this journey, but I will hit the highlights. This journey has taught me many things about the people group that we are working with, known as the BaPedi. They are predominantly located in the Sekhukhuneland District of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. A people group that numbers 2.2 million in Sekhukhuneland alone.
Of the six times that I have been to Limpopo, this is the first journey that took me all the way around Sekhukhuneland. We started this journey with a team from Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Colonial Heights, Missionary John Putman and myself. This team would move beyond where we had worked on every trip prior to this one, namely Diphagane. It took the first five trips to build trust among the people. Trust and relationships have been a major emphasis on each of our journeys.
We have lived among the people, more this time than any time past. Living among the people has caused us to live outside of our comfort zones. Except for a few days in Rustenburg, we have had no running water inside of any house that we have been in. At the house that I am presently in, there is a faucet between two houses. I use that water to bathe and to wash dishes. Bathing is done with a rinseless body wash. It is normally done in a plastic or metal tub, with the water heated in what looks like a coffee urn. I cook food on a two-burner gas cooker that the missionary brought. I only have a freezer, so we made a refrigerator out of Tupperware and ice bottles. There are no heaters or air conditioners in these homes, so you either get under lots of covers at night or stay in the shade when the sun is hot.
This journey has introduced me to people who live in difficult conditions, but who serve and love Jesus. They have beautiful stories of how they came to know the Lord. They are happy because of who they are in Christ. It will be a stark transition to come back home. Here, we had the opportunity to speak to 2,000 students, in their opening assembly, about Jesus. We have had people that have prayed that we would be compelled to come to them. We have had others seek us out in the community, so that we would pray for them. Maybe it is because we are different in looks, but there are many that believe that God sent us. I cannot say that this happens in America. In fact, it seems that we are getting further and further from the Lord.
We have one more important leg of this journey and that occurs on September 12. It is on this date that we will gather with South African pastors from all around Sekhukhuneland, in an effort to discuss the gospel going forth among the Pedi. Again, by the time that you read this, that meeting will have already occurred. Our hope and prayer will be to encourage these pastors, learning about their challenges, while challenging them to equip their people. Whatever happened, to God be the glory!