The following post is from a series of emails I wrote to my girlfriend at the time, whilst on a trip to Africa. She is now my wife, so I did something right.
Sunday. My last time at church. And the old pastor, Matthew, who I think is a fantastic preacher, was there. It was all good, and the preach was fun but good. Based heavily on the current power shortages, the idea that people and churches without God are like light switches without power. You can go through the motions, but ultimately nothing happens.
One bit he talked about was the story of when he went to get his driving license renewed. He turned up and was told he needed his photo taken. He was sent in a direction, so he walked that way. Soon enough he came to a man, sitting under a tree. The man said “photo?”, then jumped up and took a picture with a digital camera. Then he just ran away.
Matt assumed that there would be an office across the road or something, but then the man runs to a car, and gets in. By now, Matt is confused, and wondering if his identity is about to be stolen or something, until he realises that the man isn’t driving away.
Five minutes later, the man gets out of the car, holding photos. It turns out he has a whole printing kit in his car! At this point, Matt remarked “Efficient, eh? That’s the wonderful thing about Africa!”
I piped up (interrupting the sermon, as I like to do), “Hang on – so your argument is that the wonderful thing about Africa is that its efficient?!”
Everyone laughed, including him, and he explained “Hah! No, wait for the rest of the story. I meant the wonderful thing about Africa is the creativity of people”.
He then went on to explain how he was told to stand in a queue. A queue that lasted four hours. He said how someone remarked, 3 hours or so in, that he was a very patient man, and he distinctly heard God at that moment say “Not you. Me.” Because he had been going crazy inside, but it was the Spirit of God, a spirit of patience that others were seeing.
Anyway, twas good. Went to Makgolokoeng afterwards, and there was a little girl, holding her little sister, and crying because she couldn’t go to school – she had to stay and look after her sister, while her parents went out drinking.
It made me sad – I’ve offered to pay a year’s crèche to let the girl go to school. It’ll be about £70, not bad for 200 or so days lol.
Bible verse from the preach. In a pretty amusing way of presenting it, Matt only revealed the beginning of the verse at the end of his talk; “You worm Jacob…”:
“…I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD;”