Africa journal entry #10


final service in the big tent

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

During the “Sunday School” time in the big tent at El-Shaddai church, several choirs from El-Shaddai and other churches were singing and dancing.  I noticed another instrument they were using.  It was a megaphone, of sorts.  It could be beaten with ticks, but also sang through like a microphone.  One of the choirs also brought a large drum, similar to a bongo, in that it was struck with the open hand.  Oh, and sometimes they used whistles!

IMG_20140803_124404_996Bryce spoke from John 1:35-51, in French.  He had shared his ideas about this text to me earlier, so I could tell where he was going, though I could not understand the actual words he was using at the time.  The idea was that Nathaniel was probably meditating on the story of Jacob’s ladder from the book of Genesis. But he had been having his private devotions “under his own fig tree.”  But Jesus knew what he had thought when he was alone before the LORD.  Jesus told him that he would see heaven opened, and the angels descending and ascending on the Son of Man.




The closing exercises included presentations of gifts to both Bryce and me.  The ladies whom Bryce had taught gave a gift (accompanied by song and dance) to him.  The elders I had taught gave a gift to me, and some gifts to Penny through me.




More songs ensued, and more dance.  Various people were introduced, and appreciated, before they asked me to close in prayer.  Then,more songs, more dance.  The service lasted five hours and ten minutes.  It was not your usual Sunday service. It served as a great send-off for Bryce and me.  We would be departing for South Africa the next day, and then back to Atlanta, where Bryce and I would part ways, and I would fly to Richmond. 

I found out while in Atlanta (by means of my cellphone which actually worked again) that I would be missing Naomi’s departure from Richmond, because I would arrive after she left.  That made me quite sad, but it is somehow appropriate.  Father and daughter, travelling around the world, serving the same Lord.

“And whoever has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29 NET).

Africa journal entry #9


under the mango trees

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

I was finally able to get back onto the internet this morning – only the second time since arriving in Africa.  I found that Penny had been having just as stressful a time back home as Bryce Whiting and I have had here.  I was sad to hear that, but thanked her for being my partner in life and ministry.  Nothing increases one’s appreciation for his wife like being away from her for a few days.

Today we were scheduled to meet at Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)  Advent Christian conference president Bertin Mwanya’s house.  A group of leaders of the conference met with us under two large mango trees.  We had conversations all morning, covering three topics:

  1. I gave an overview of the Global Training Initiative, sharing the variety of ways that we in North America might be able to assist DRC leaders in their leader development and ministry training.
  2. They asked me to summarize the distinctive doctrines of the Advent Christian denomination.  I had done this many times, in many places, but never without any notes.  An hour later, I came up for air.  I wish I had recorded the talk, French translation and all. It was amazing.
  3. Then the conference shared their plans for ministry in the coming years, and what they needed to accomplish those plans.  There were numerous projects mentioned, including the construction of a permanent building for the new church plant, a school, a medical clinic, a new well (which is already dug).



Bricks piled up and ready for the construction of the new sanctuary for El-Shaddai Advent Christian Church.





The new well dug for the community surrounding the church plant.






The current


of El Shaddai.


Afterward, we shared a meal together, and enjoyed fellowship with these men of God.  Some had come from hundreds of miles to participate with other Advent Christians in the week-long training event.  We were all very grateful for the opportunity to get together, form new friendships, and pray with one another under the mango trees.