Sunday, April 19, 2009

Trip to Johannesburg

I left on Wednesday afternoon to go to Benoni (a suburb of Johannesburg). I needed to take my car back to the mechanic who did some work on my car in February. He had replaced the tire rod ends but told me I needed Upper Arm controls and lower ball joints for both front wheels. I had to get them in Swaziland because my car is a direct import from Japan, which means that some parts are different. Swaziland is one of the countries that allow with direct imports because the cars are cheaper. South Africa doesn’t deal with direct imports so they can’t get the parts that are different.

The sun was setting just as I got to Benoni. The sunset was an awesome display of God’s glory. The sun was a bright red ball and there was a single white and grey cloud covering the top of the sun and then the most beautiful rays of the sun shining upward from the top of the cloud. Everyone says that nowhere in the world are the sunsets as beautiful as they are in Africa. I certainly agree with that statement. They are incredible.

Thursday we (Richard Bosart and I) took my car to the mechanic and then I met with the new Bishop of the High Veld and Swaziland District of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. After that Richard and I drove down to visit with Siphiwe in his new church which is about 45 minutes south of Benoni. It was so good to see Siphiwe. His two year stint in Swaziland was up at the end of last year and he was transferred to a white church in SA. He was like a son to me when I first came to Swaziland and I miss him very much. But, he’s doing well and seems to like his new post very much. It brings challenges for him, especially preaching in English, but I know he is up to those challenges.

On Friday we ran some errands. I had a list of things I can't get in Swaziland that wanted to get while in SA. We had lunch at McDonalds! There isn’t McDonalds in Swaziland or Nelsprit, South Africa. In the US I rarely eat at McDonalds. Over here, whenever I go to Johannesburg I look forward to having a Quarter Pounder and French fries because it is a true taste of America. PLUS over here they have Choccochinos which is coffee with hot chocolate, and I LOVE it.

Friday afternoon we called to check on my car and the mechanic told us that when they went to put on the parts they discovered that the CV joint on the right wheel was broken. Luckily he was able to locate one in the Jo’burg area and install it by the end of the day. He said he couldn’t believe I drove all the way from Swaziland with it broken. I said Thank You to God for keeping me safe and prompting me to get the car fixed instead of waiting longer. I, of course, didn’t know there was anything major wrong. The car just wasn’t handling quite right. But it was that nagging feeling deep inside that prompted me to get it fixed now instead of waiting until May when I drive to SA to pick up the first team from the US.

Saturday, after a fantastic breakfast taco (Richard is a great cook!) and two cups of caffeinated coffee (I haven't had an ounce of caffeine even in chocolate since February) I headed back to Swaziland, stopping by McDonalds for one last choccochino to drink on my way. Traffic was light and the day beautiful. I returned safely to Swaziland in what is probably record time.

Today I went to church at the International Church in Ezulweni and then went to my friends Mary Beth and Ron’s house for dinner and visit. Tomorrow is King Mswati III’s birthday so it is a holiday which means I will spend the day at home reading a good book and maybe watching a movie on my laptop. I will stay as far away from the crowds that may come out to celebrate and away from the soldiers and policeman with machine guns who will be patrolling the areas that he will be in or driving through. I’m not sure I will ever get used to policemen and army personnel riding in the back of pickup trucks or walking down the street with their machine guns. It is always leaves me a bit unsettled, especially when I think that most of these guys are probably not very educated and probably don’t speak English. If I happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time they’d probably just as soon shoot me as try to communicate to me to get out of the way or to move elsewhere. So I think my plan of staying home is a good one.


Harwick Family said...

Chris, I dont post comments often, but check in on your blog regularly. I want you to know that many of us at FUMC RR are very thankful for your mission work and the example you provide for others. Terry and Sabrina recently presented to our Sunday School class their recent mission work. The open invitation is there for you too when you return.
Do you need anything?

Brad Harwick
Lay Delegate to Annual Conference

Judy said...

Yeah for McDonalds! Once in a while it must be nice to have just a taste of home here in America. The sunset sounds truly amazing, thanks for sharing it with us .
Glad you got your car fixed at just the right time.
Judy Frazier