Monday was the last day of the conference. It was a wonderful day, though bittersweet as it meant saying goodbye to so many new friends. My friend Katie and I started the day with a game drive and were glad to have Liesl as our driver again. The rhino and her baby were the biggest animals we saw. We did see a number of birds, though, and enjoyed the early morning scenery.
Some pictures from our worship and morning discussions.
Hannelie Groenewald was one of our speakers. She and her husband served as missionaries in Afghanistan, and while they were there, in 2014, the Taliban brutally murdered her husband and children and burned their house. She barely escaped with her life and lost everyone and everything she owned. Yet as she shared her story, there was no bitterness or hopelessness in how she shared. Hers is a story of hope and love. And she didn’t make herself out to be a martyr or hero at all. Yet after she was done, Teresa Conradie, who is a friend of hers, came up and told some details that had been left out by Hannelie. The Afghan government had made things very difficult for her to get the bodies of her family back to South Africa. They claimed they had no formaldehyde to embalm the bodies and once she provided that, they then claimed they had no one to do the embalming. She is a doctor and so she flew back to Afghanistan and did the embalming herself. What an incredible testimony she has. She is writing a book. Keep your eyes open for it. I am sure it will be well worth reading. She is the beautiful lady on the right in this picture. The ones below are some of the reactions of the listeners. I think we all had tears in our eyes listening to her.
In the afternoon, Henry Aoun took the Egyptian group outside to have some discussions on sharing their faith, while inside the room, Young Ho Lee spoke to the rest of us about the same topic. He called on Jeremy, who is also from South Korea and is on staff with Cru, to share a little about how he shares his faith. Jeremy shared about how he likes to open potential spiritual conversations by asking people he meets how he can pray for them. This was a blessing to me, because I find it easy to ask people how to pray for them, and it feels like a much more natural opening to a spiritual conversation than any I’ve come up with. The FLAG team share in the afternoon about materials available and how to use some of the tools they have provided. Below, Bob and Meg are sharing.
That final evening we had a special banquet. Delegates were encouraged to dress in their native dress. For the most part, people were dressed in suits and dresses, with the exception of mostly the folks from the DRC who were decked out in their native finery. The meal was beautifully served and the conference room we had been in all this time was transformed .
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng of South Africa spoke to us during the banquet. In addition to his role as Chief Justice, he and his wife are also in the ministry of the Gospel. His talk was titled “Mobilize and Maintain the Integrity of the Great Commission”. He is a fantastic preacher! He and his wife then prayed for us.
Some of the delegates from the DRC came to sing for us. And Samir, one of the Egyptians, jumped in to join them. If I can figure out the best place to upload the video I took, I’ll share it with you later on.
Tuesday was a day of cleanup and rest. I think most of us on the team hibernated as much that day as possible. Wednesday morning we took an early morning game drive for 3 hours and then headed off to the airport. I will share those pictures in a few days once I have time to catch up.
Meg, who is on the FLAG team, and I flew to Cape Town with Rebecca, our emcee from the conference. Meg and I are on holiday together until next Monday. A staff friend has friends here who have a beautiful guest house on their property which they invited us to stay at for our trip. It is in the suburbs and is far enough away from the places we are going that we rented a car. We were greeted at the airport by a lovely Cru staff couple Rebecca knows, Leon and Melanie Best. Melanie drove Rebecca to the apartment she is staying at (on the same property as Meg and I are on), and Leon drove us in our rental car, which was such a blessing due to the lateness of the hour and the lack of energy and brainpower we were both dealing with.
This morning was a very quiet morning, with us resting and recovering some more. Then we drove into Cape Town to Greenmarket Square to do some shopping at an African outdoor market and to eat Thai food at a restaurant owned, as we discovered, by a 4th generation South African Indian. 🙂
Meg took the driving shift, which she said reminded her of Boston driving. I navigated and we did pretty well. It did take both of us to make sure we drove on the correct side of the street, and I have to say that Meg did a fantastic job!
Tomorrow we head down to the southernmost tip of Africa. It is around 3 hours away, and we are probably insane for attempting it, but it would be a shame to be so close and not go there.
I should have some more updates later, maybe tomorrow night when we get back. The goal is to return no later than 5 so we can eat dinner and get home before dark. Please pray for our safety on the road.