Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day 3 - Mamelodi, Ribelanaka & Freeman

One of the subtle but stark differences from Michigan to SA is the variation of bird sounds in the morning.
That and I woke up to the sound of a chainsaw.

Today started out with some peppermint tea and hanging out around the breakfast table w/ the band and Brandon Petersen (tech/sound for Hopefests, leads worship at Collin Creek Church in TX). Around 1pm, Bonaventure (staff member at R4L SA) picked us up in the R4L VW bus. We certainly draw attention to ourselves for not only being white but driving around in a orange/white bus with "Reach4Life" painted on it. First we went to a house in Mamelodi (suburb south of J'burg) and listened to Lolo's band rehearse. They have about 8 singers, 1 bass player, 1 drummer and Lolo plays keys and sings. They were incredible. Harmonies and everything. They even sang a Kirk Franklin song! Never expected that. While we were listening to them rehearse, one of Bonaventure's friends, Freeman, came up to me and we started talking. His story blew me away. He is 28, and 2 years ago he moved from Mozambique as a result of political problems and oppression. Him and a group of other adults were promised jobs and work opportunities in Johannesburg. After being here 2 years, he still has no job and has instead committed his whole life to serving Reach4Life and telling people of Jesus. He said that at first, he did not want to help w/ R4L. He explained it like this to me: "I was standing at my life and trying to play the piano and I was playing my own song and then Jesus took my hands and taught me how to play His song". I'm not totally sure if that was the best possible analogy to use, but his point got across to me. He also said "Jesus does not want your abilities but your availability." Anyway, after listening to Lolo rehearse, we packed up in the R4L bus and traveled to Ribelanaka High School where are Tuesday Hopefest will be held. It had a huge open courtyard with no trees or shade and supposedly is going to hold up to 1600 students on Tues. After that, we loaded up with petrol and drove to Mamelodi school and checked out the set up. The same as Ribelanaka, lots of sun and no shade. On our way home, Freeman got a call from his pastor telling him to come to the local park to play soccer. Freeman explained that as part of his churches' ministry, that the men started a local soccer club to fellowship with the community. We decided to go and check it out. Their team needed one more person, Freeman invited me to play. It was awesome. Me in jeans and a t-shirt and sandals, greatly outplayed by my African friends. After the game, we traveled back to the World Hope HQ. Elska and her husband, Jacku, put on an awesome meal for us. After dinner, we all sat around talking and sharing songs with each other over an old Ibanez acoustic guitar. Tomorrow, we are visiting a church in Tibesa (the expected service length is 3 hrs.) and meeting with the Hopefest team to finalize details. This brings me to here, sitting at the table listening to music and writing. I am truly blessed to be here.

keep praying.


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