I have to start out by apologizing for the late post everyone. This week has been action packed to say the least. Ill try my best to give as best a summary of what has happened so far, and our future plans for Thursday and Friday.
Monday was the big day for sure. There was concrete to break up and dispose of, sanding, painting, filling, concrete pouring, the list goes on! Busting up the concrete driveway was probably the most fun we have had while working. Swinging a sledge hammer is quite liberating and I recommend everyone do it at least once. The entire outside of the church was covered in old stucco with many many cracks that needed to be expanded, filled with putty and then sanded down before a fresh coat of paint could be laid down. Yes we are painting the entire church inside and out with new stain on the wood. We had a brilliant on the fly idea when we discovered a pallet of unused bricks from a previous job. Drawing from our weekend adventures we decided to build the church a good ole braai. Which is Afrikaans for “roasted meat”; so its a really good outdoor grill. We laid out the concrete foundation and it was poured Monday right before leaving. The most fulfilling thing about Monday was meeting the local guys we would be working with throughout this week. They were all so happy to see us coming to help build up their church, both literally and spiritually. We didn’t know it yet but these were some pretty special men in this group.
Monday evening Lance, Matheney, Nick, and myself returned back to the church for our first night of the discipleship workshop. That night was fairly simple and straight forward with Lance taking the lead and introducing us and then lead into the story of the gospel. At the time of response we had 3 people come up and talk to us and ask for us to pray for them. I prayed over a wonderfully sweet women that was concerned with her grand daughter not going to school. The big surprise about the night was the sheer amount of people that were in attendance. 50-60 people came from all over Rheenendal to listen to the message and every one took a bible. We were floored by the amount of bibles we were giving out and it was truly a sign of great things to come.
Tuesday morning came early and we had a lot of work to get done. We finished breaking up all the concrete in the driveway and started laying the frames that would be used to pour the concrete sections later. The interior and exterior walls finished prep and started painting and staining the window frames, doors, and roof pieces. The big moral boost was the finishing of the braai brickwork; it actually looks like a proper braai now. The whole community was enthusiastic about the idea of using it.
After working all day we zipped back to the B&B, cleaned up, drank a Red Bull and zipped right on back to Rheenendal for our second night of the workshop. It was another packed house that night, and I had the daunting task of telling the story of the conversion of Paul. Ill admit that I had spent days preparing my notes to talk that night but when it came down to talking I didn’t look at them at all. The only book I looked at was my Bible, which was the only book I needed. Nick knocked it out of the park with talking about the disciples following Christ, and Matheney captured their hearts with his personal testimony. We also heard amazing news! The women we prayed over on Monday came to us after the service and told us that her grand daughter had woken up that morning and went straight to school! Its just awesome seeing Christ working in the lives of the people we are serving.
Coming from Georgia, most would think we know what hot is. Y’all, you don’t know what hot is until you’ve experienced Africa hot. Today (Wednesday) was a scorching 113 degrees, no wind, and no escape. Despite my face tingling from slight dehydration, we all carried on, drinking plenty of water and hiding from the sun when we could. Y’all these men we are working with are superheros. They are tremendous workers, and the way their community is woven together is amazing. They rally together and keep each other going well past when 1 or 2 people would have stopped. They are talented too. One that I have been working with named Stuart took the bull by the horns and coordinated the concrete team in framing out and pouring 3 blocks today. He did get a big over zealous though and had to go home, but returned with his usual smile and happy dimener. In other construction news! The sidewalk was poured today, the walkway leading to the church is almost refinished and the braai is getting its finishing touches put in it while we wait on the grill section.
Tonight I didn’t personally attend the evening workshop because I was attacked by lions. That’s right y’all I was helping with the awesome team working with the children here in Rheenendel and I played Daniel in the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. The kids from our trip played the lions, Matt starred as King Darius and I played Daniel. Pastor Andre narrated the story in English and in Afrikaans and I generally made a fool of myself; but it was all in good fun. Each day we get more and more kids coming to sing, praise, do crafts and play sports. I can report on this evenings church activities though and the news is good. Evan Davis spoke about church membership and apparently was the light of the night, having everyone laughing and engaged in the conversation. Matheney was at it again y’all, this man is going to commit to coming every evening this week and work all day. He spoke on small groups and why they are important and effective. Lance put it perfectly I think when he commented that Matheney was his new go to man for small group discussions. The biggest news of the night was of a young Afrikaans women coming to know Christ and committing herself to the Lord tonight in a public profession of faith.