East Africa Update #4
God is good all the time! And all the time, God is good!
It has been quite a full and varied past two days. Yesterday (Thursday) we slept in a bit to kick off our “day off.” It was much need and much enjoyed. After breakfast we piled into two vehicles and headed across the island to check out some several different attractions and sites. Our first stop was off one of the main highways. On a good day you are supposed to see dolphins swimming in the distance. Well, yesterday was a good day. We saw quite a few dolphins not too far off of the coast. The team scrambled down to the water’s edge to get better pictures.
From there we headed up to the some rock formations. We parked the vehicles and hiked about 20 minutes up to these natural rock towers. It is really hard to describe the view and the wind at those rock formations. What a tremendous reminder of God’s creation of the world. Who else could so majestically put this all together? One could see for miles around, with blue water as far as the eye could see.
After hiking down we went to a beach where a local believer rents out cabins on the beach for retreats and various groups. We had a great lunch of rice and chicken before hitting the water. The water was so incredibly clear and warm, with soft white sand for the feet. We enjoyed some frisbee, swimming, and launching people in the air. It was great just to hang out together as a team. And when I say “team” I mean the PTR team, our host workers serving here, and several of the very few local believers in this place. We praise the Lord we have meshed so well together!
After swimming we came back for a time of praise and worship near the beach. Again, what a tremendous encouragement for us to be able to worship with this man and one of his closest friends who is also a believer!
We got home in the early evening, enjoyed dinner, and had some more time together in prayer, sharing some testimonies, and getting ready for Friday. Everyone was pretty well exhausted by the time bedtime rolled around.
This morning (Friday) we were back at clinics, but at two new locations. We split the team up into two groups, but mixed up the two groups so that different people could be working together. One went north up into the mountains to a small village while another team went south to a village. Both villages have basketball teams, but basketball in their communities is a relatively new concept.
Both clinics went extremely well as we enjoyed meeting 45 new kids in the north and 80 new kids in the south. They enjoyed the basketball part, but everyone really gets into the relationship-building. This culture is all about asking questions and building relationships. It is awesome! We had fun but today was blazing hot! Push The Rock was here a number of years ago and it rained (aka absolutely poured) every day. This year we have experienced nothing but sunshine and sweat. We praise the Lord we have not had to cancel any clinics due to rain.
We met back at one of the houses for lunch as we always do and enjoyed a study of Gideon and how God used him in a mighty way to be a “Game Changer” for Him. After team time we headed back to one of the villages from the morning to play a game against their team. It was really hot, but there was a large crowd waiting for us. The guys played really well in the heat and it was a game that went back and forth. We ended up pulling the game out with two free throws with 5 seconds to go. But that was not the exciting part.
The atmosphere for this game was crazy. The court was inside four cinder block walls and they were charging people to come in. So the inside of the complex was crowded with fans lined along the walls while there were plenty of others sitting on top of the walls and perched up on their balconies to catch a glimpse of the game. At half-time they brought out the large drum, which they incessantly beat until the very end of the game. There were pounding the drum and dancing non-stop for the entire second half. It was awesome!
After the game we mingled with the townspeople before being taken on a guided tour of the new high school they are building on top of the hill. They were very proud to show us this and wanted very much for us to come and see it. We were very happy to see what all is happening in the village.
We went home for dinner and showered up in anticipation of the English Club that was meeting tonight. There were 17 people that came for English. It was such a great 90 minutes together of asking questions and getting to know one another. One of the questions we asked each other was around what we believe and what holy books we are reading. As you might imagine, this opened some doors for some pretty interesting conversations. Our team answering the questions one way and our new friends who are learning English answering questions in a very different way. We met some great people from the island and are excited about what God has in store for the rest of our time here.
We are having a blast! We are tired and hot, but it is well worth it. We head back out to the same two villages for clinics tomorrow (Saturday) morning and then both the men and women play tomorrow afternoon.
Thanks for praying for us! We could not be here without you!
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