African Adventures #3
So what is it like, being a student missionary in a strange country, half-way around the world from home? Well, to tell the truth, not that much different from being at home. We have times of laughter and times of sadness, joys and trials just as anyone anywhere in the world. But sometimes, these come with just a little twist…
Take, for example, the “bloody funeral” we attended a few weeks ago–from
which a certain team member bares scars to this day. Or imagine driving 8
hours to the nearest Wal-Mart (it’s not Wal-Mart but the closest thing to it
in Namibia) and having 20 minutes to shop–knowing it may be months before
you return. Or the fun of having a telephone that works only one way–out…
Oh and have you ever tried entertaining 20 pre-school children for an
evening–without being able to speak their language? It’s interesting, to say
Oh we have other “trials” to deal with, too… Like having to eat sweet, fresh mangos because they’re the cheapest fruit we can buy. Or fresh avacado on toast instead of margarine. Imagine being able to take a short walk up a gentle mountain path to a secluded spot, and watching the sun set over a breath-taking mountain panorama! Or driving down a country road and having to stop for giraffe and ostrich to cross…
I suppose I should explain myself a bit better on one point… No the
funerals here don’t have some kind of “bloody rituals.” At least not usually.
This funeral was for an infant cousin of a church member and close friend,
Kapitango. (Kapitango is also the one recording the English lessons,
mentioned in my previous e-mail.) After a short service at the church,
everyone piled into some VERY crowded trucks (I was riding on the tailgate)
and drove a short distance to the graveside service. The only thing I found
exceptionally unusual was the interesting rock structure that the men built
over top of the grave. Back at our friend’s house, everyone ate a meal and
visited. I ate with the men under a small canopy beside the house, while the
women ate in another place in front of the house. Just as we were finishing
the meal, I heard a savage growl and looked up in time to see Pam battling a
dog! (Gideon and Pam are the missionaries I’m staying and working with.) The
dog had been lying under a tree where a number of women had gathered for
shade, and apparently felt threatened and suddenly attacked Pam. She had a
deep bite on her leg as well as cuts on her hands from trying to force the
dog to release her leg. Gideon rushed Pam to the hospital, leaving me to
visit with the men. The discussion soon turned to spiritual things and I even
had the chance to share with them and pray with them before we left that
evening! Praise God–who would have thought that a funeral, turned bloody,
would ultimately end in a witnessing opportunity? Pam and Gideon soon returned
from the hospital and we all went home. Pam’s leg is healing well, too, so
that’s another praise!
As I mentioned, Kapitango and I have been working on recording close to 60
English lessons for Himba and Herero speaking people. Each lesson is roughly
10 minutes long, and we’re hoping to be able to put the lessons on sets of
tapes (or CD’s) to distribute to people at a minimal cost. This past month
has been busy with recording, editing, and testing, and by God’s grace the
recording is nearly finished! We’re hoping to have the masters completed by
the time the Petersen’s leave for the states at the end of April. This Monday
for the first time I went out to Onganga, the location of the previous
English school and the target group for testing the English tapes. On the way
we saw large herds of springbok and ostrich, as well as other wild animals
and birds. It was like going on a safari!
So what is it like to be a missionary half-way around the world? I’ll tell
you–nothing compares to it! But it’s not so much the fun of watching the
ostrich and springbok bounding across the plains, or even the thrill of
camping deep in the African bush… That’s exciting, of course, but nothing
truly compares to the simple joy of sitting with these people, talking to
them, hearing their stories and testimonies and teaching them more about
Christ. That is the real reason we’re here–to bring the Good News of Jesus
and His soon return to a perishing world. Thank you again for all your
prayers, e-mails, and support. Without you, this mission would be impossible!
We are His hands to touch the world around us.
We are His feet to go where He may lead.
We are His eyes to see the need in others.
We are His voice to tell of His return.
We are His love burning in the darkness.
We are His love shining in the night.
As usual, there are plenty of photographs online at
Please send me an e-mail sometime and tell me a bit about life in America!
I promise to read every e-mail–even if I don’t respond personally to every
one please know it is appreciated and I will try my best to respond! Thank
you once again for your prayers and please continue to keep me and the
missionary team here in Namibia in your prayers!
In His Service,