Sunday, November 4, 2007

Johannesburg, South Africa

I just got back from a few days in the Johannesburg area in South Africa. I left Wednesday, October 31st around noon and arrived back in Swaziland about 3:00 Sunday afternoon. Johannesburg is about 4 ½ hours from Manzini. About half of the trip is on a hilly two lane highway through the countryside and a few very small towns. The rest of the trip is on a divided toll way through rolling farmland until shortly before reaching the greater Johannesburg area where everything is as different as night and day. It is much like driving through the Austin area, minus the flyovers – the traffic is heavy and there are houses, apartment complexes shopping centers and industry everywhere.

I had a fantastic visit with Richard from SAMVIM and then Gill from Khanysilie. They spoiled me tremendously and I enjoyed every minute of it! What joy to sit down (on a couch!) with good friends and talk for hours. On Thursday I spent the day at Northfeld Methodist church where the Bishop has his office. I had great meetings with the Bishop and the director of Missions for the District as well as a few other people. Northfeld was having their Christmas craft sale which was fun. In addition, they have a wonderful little bookshop and coffee shop at the church. Therefore, most of the day was spent in the coffee shop talking with one person or another. I was amazed at the people who remembered me from when I was there about a week after coming to Swaziland. Richard and I had stopped by there just after I took my best friend Laura to the airport to return home to the United States the week after we arrived here. I wasn’t doing so well. Those that remembered me were very glad to see that I was doing so much better than I was after that first week.

I went with Richard on Friday to Dalmis, the site of future UMVIM teams. This community is one of many that were greatly affected by apartheid. The black people who lived there were forced to relocate during apartheid. They have now been able to come back and there are is a lot of development going on and being planned for the future. They are preparing to build a church to accommodate the growth. It was an exciting couple of hours in the gorgeous sunshine and perfect weather visiting with the minister, the circuit steward and the current circuit superintendent who will actually be moving to the Central circuit in Swaziland the first of January. This excursion gave me an opportunity to not only learn some history of South Africa and be a part of an exciting meeting, but I was able to do some planning with the future superintendent as well. It was fantastic.

Gill and I went shopping on Saturday so I could buy a few things I needed for my cottage and a project with the schools. She took me to a store called Makro which is kind of a cross between Wal-Mart and Cosco, without the clothing. I kept getting whiplash looking back and forth at all the things on the shelves. I felt like a kid in a candy store, or someone who had never seen a big store.

This morning I worshipped at Primrose Methodist Church with Gill. It was a wonderful service and an absolutely beautiful, crisp morning after a good ole thunderstorm rolled through about 6:00 AM. It was a great couple of days. Now I have a lot to do before I leave to come home to the States for the holidays.

For those of you who may not know, I will be leaving Swaziland on December 3rd for Austin, arriving on December 4th. I will return on January 15th just before the new school year begins.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Thanks for the good work you are doing. Lynne Moffat sent me a note about your work and the Emmaus experience you had in Africa. God is indeed good, all the time!

De Colores,

Rev. Tom Albin
Dean of The Upper Room Chapel