It has been a fortnight since I boarded the plane and took my leave from the presence of Steve and Pat Zimmerman and an African minister, Sam Jacobs, who were there to see me off. It took about a week to get over the effects called “jet lag”. That condition does not improve with age! This past two weeks has provided the time and opportunity to reflect upon the people, places, sights, experiences and conversations of the month I was there. If you’ll permit me and be a bit patient, I’d like to share some of that with you. This will be the conclusion of my trip monologue.
The trips were long. Each way, the flight time totaled about 21 hours. When the waiting time (2 hours for domestic flights and 3 hours for international flights) plus the additional time involved because of scheduling delays are considered, the total elapsed time averaged about 30 hours. Since I wear hearing aids, flying is noisy resulting in either poor or no sleep. I watched movies I wouldn’t have otherwise and I read a lot. I find it is interesting and amusing to watch people, especially in airports and on planes. And then there is flight food (or perhaps fright food). One is well advised to neither ask nor wonder what it was before it was served. It could have been a tree or perhaps a cotton plant. Delta is Delta, but South African Airline (SAA) is a pretty good way to fly.
I think the most impressive thing that I found was the dedication, hard work and amount of time spent by both Steve Zimmerman and Thompson Ntobie for the Lord and His people. They take very little personal time for relaxation or recreation. Obviously, they need to take time for home and family, but that seems to be minimal. Results of their efforts are obvious when considering the number of Bible studies led, Cape Bible Seminary classes taught, numbers of new church starts and sermons preached. Now, a new dimension has been added – libraries in churches and schools. This will require additional time and lots of hard work because of the heavy books involved. Steve has had to ration the number of trips made and churches visited because of the price of fuel.Since returning, I have spent some time downloading pictures from cameras onto my computer. I will soon have some of them ready to show and more as time goes on. One of the subjects will be about Thompson Ntobie, his new office, his computer, book binder and the brand new Cannon photocopier we were able to purchase for him while I was there. He is currently working on a Xhosa language book on the subject of the church in the Bible. This will be essentially a text book and will show that very few of the SA churches follow the Bible pattern. For that matter, very few of the churches in the USA follow the pattern, as well.
During the month I was there, I spent parts of three days doing “touristy” things. Along with some of the group from Colorado, I went to Cape Agulles which is the south-most point on the African continent. I went to the Table Mountain base and Signal Mountain to take pictures of Cape Town and environs. And, I went to Cape Point, the location of the Cape of Good Hope and the place where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.
In closing, I’ll answer two questions frequently asked: yes! Yes – I’m glad I went. Yes – I would go again if it is God’s will. I have one very important comment. Every church should demand a written, detailed report from every missionary they support at least quarterly. In addition, every church should visit every supported mission in the field at least once every five years. It is obvious that most churches don’t do this and they have no way of knowing how well they are doing as stewards of the Lord’s provision. I will be happy to come to any church and report on the work of the South African Christian Mission. Call 317-576-0076 and we’ll make arrangements.
Yours in the service of Jesus Christ, david