I hate disappointing people. Really…I am am such a people pleaser it just isn’t funny. But I have to tell you all that nothing out of the ordinary happened to us today. We woke up, did all the sorts of things we do normally, got into the Diocesan vehicle (which behaved itself nicely this time – no alarms and no stalling), and got to the church on time to meet all the new comers and chat to the old timers.There are ten people in the second group…larger than we anticipated…a good problem, I think. Up until now, Johannesburg Diocese was the flag ship of the LEAD program in the Province. After this weekend, I think Christ the King will be right up there with them. We first met with both groups and prayed with them together in the sanctuary. Then we split up, Louise continuing with Group One while I took Group Two down into the bowels of the church building – the dungeon as I called it, but in reality it is were the Sunday School classes meet and it is very comfortable and bright.
Our GtC Faculty returned with two more. Now we have our trusty and faithful Thokozani, Paul our Johannesburg coordinator, and Peter and Tsepo from Pimville (Soweto) who have just rolled out the LEAD program in their church with thirty people (!).
The Second Group is mostly made up of laity…Sunday School teachers and other lay leaders mostly. One is a Physiologist, another is a medical doctor…it is a very interesting group and they are all ever so engaged!
It is interesting to see their reactions as the teaching goes on…especially when we begin to speak about the four categories of people in the disciple making process: Lost Luke, Believer, Bob, Worker Wendy, and Disciple Maker Daniel. The penny usually drops with the study on the life of Peter…the impetuous Rock Star turned “failure” turned surrendered servant. That is yet to come for the second group…but the lights went on for the first group today: Without Jesus we cannot be disciple makers…regardless of how gifted we may be. We need to walk with Him in step with the Spirit if we are to reach the lost, build the believers, equip the workers, and mobilise the disciple makers.
We said goodbye to our first group today.
Louise and I are tired as we usually are on the second evening…tomorrow I will preach on the life of Peter and tell the church folks all about what they missed. Then on to the last few classes…we are on the homestretch.
Friday morning, 4:45 AM…my alarm goes off
reminding me it is time to take my thyroid meds. Sigh…way too much fun. It is
really cold this morning and even three cups of steaming coffee don’t help. A
warm shower does the trick and we are ready to roll.
The Diocese has provided a vehicle for our
use while we are here…equipped with an interesting anti-high-jack device. We
know how it works…or at least, we think so. Half way down the road an alarm
goes off and the car cuts out. A passer-by gives us a weary look and then just
keep on walking. I turn the car off, push down the unlock button, the alarm
stops, and the car starts again. Moving along.
The GPS does not take us the way Fr Erich
had told us to go, so we are off to an adventure on our own. Thankfully the
electronic genius takes us to where we need to be. Christ the King Anglican
Church, Mondeor. It is a large church that can easily seat 600 comfortably.
are bang on time and we start training a brand new batch of disciple-makers! 13
in total with one returnee and two faculty members, one from Johannesburg
Diocese and the other from Highveldt.
This group is very diverse in age and
ethnicity. They are made up of clergy and lay-folk…they are engaged and are all
participating well…in short, a great group. I am sure we will see a number of
this group go on to become key Growing the Church Faculty members.
Lunch is amazing…spicy Durban curry! YUM!
I receive the long awaited WhatsApp message
from Heyns to say they are in Amsterdam. A KLM angel bumped them up to economy
comfort and Amelia slept 10.5 out of the 11-hour flight. Praise the Lord! They
had also just heard that an extra seat had been blocked for their use in the
flight back to Washington.
4:30 PM and it is time to call it a day.
The feedback is very encouraging with some saying they have learned so much
this day. They have been challenged to take the church out into the
community…their heads nodded vigorously as we showed them from examining the
ministry of Christ Himself that a church-centred program is not the way to make
disciples. We need to go to where people are…just as Jesus did…into homes, work
places, schools, and wherever folks spend their free time. Then meet them where
they are at in life…walk with them…point them in the right direction…challenge
them to turn away from worldliness and to turn to Jesus…build them up in the
faith…and lead them on to maturity. Not rocket science as a good friend would
say…simply walking as Jesus walked.
Our homeward journey turned out to be
another adventure. The GPS decides to take us the scenic route through a rather
seedy looking, run-down area. But we are home and are well fed and ready for
bed…a few more things to do and then…zzzzzzz
Thursday afternoon, 4:30 PM. Time to say
goodbye to our youngest son, Heyns, his lovely wife Hanna, and our gorgeous
granddaughter Amelia. We have to leave them behind in our flat as we are flying
off to Johannesburg to train brand new disciple-makers in the Diocese of Christ
the King. They too are leaving Cape Town to return to the US, but much later.
So we say our goodbyes in the kitchen…somehow this unconventional method makes
the parting easier. It is difficult nevertheless and Louise fights back tears.
Trevor drives us to the airport and soon
his unique way of driving helps us to forget all that is sad about this
departure. At one point he does a U-Turn and nearly wipes out a skateboard
rider…colourful words ring in our ears as we move on.
Check-in is a breeze with Kulula’s extra
friendly staff. Even the security is a piece of cake, so a short delay does not
upset us at all. We have dinner at Mugg ‘n Bean and wait for a WhatsApp message
from Heyns to say they have arrived at their gate in the international
departure section of the airport. The message never comes…but our neighbour
lets us know they left and we believe all is well.
The delay does not alter much and we are
soon up in the air and on our way to Johannesburg…lullabied by one of our
nervous fellow passengers. As we descend to land at Lanseria Airport, her
singing becomes louder, but it remains sweet and melodious.
Fr Eric Ephraim meets us at the airport and
drives us to our home for the duration of our stay here. A lovely flat in a
monastery in Rosettenville, called St Benedict’s House. It is cold here in
Johannesburg, but we have enough blankets on our bed. Sleep comes quickly…
Thanks be to God, Agape Year 1.0 will start September 5th! Thanks to your prayers and financial support, we will welcome our first cohort, Caleb and Lucas, to Pittsburgh in just a few days. We’ll be in Pittsburgh September through January serving with multiple ministries around the city while studying just what this whole Kingdom of God thing is that we talk so much about.
February and March will see us travel to Thailand with our cohort to live, worship, and serve alongside our Thai brothers and sisters.
The last 6 weeks of Agape Year 1.0 will take us around the US, visiting churches, sharing the story of what we have done and seen, and bearing witness to the missional creativity of the Body.
If that sounds like a lot to handle, it is. We covet your prayers. We are still about $2000 a month short of our financial need. Were you waiting to see if we actually made this thing happen? Smart. But now’s the time! You can jump on board here.
“None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good” is such a simple yet profound statement found in the hymn, “Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy.” Listen now to the song in it’s entirety:
We sang these lyrics as a church family, coming together to witness and celebrate our sweet sister’s baptism. As the picture proves, there could not have been a more beautiful spot for this joyous service! To add to this, we were honored to host the Archbishop of Melbourne (Primate of Australia) along with his lovely wife, Joy, and their associates for this special occasion. His message encouraged us and the fellowship of believers from around the globe gladdened our hearts.