Friday, April 17, 2009

Easter Sunday

Easter this year involved less work for us than in previous years. Levi was still recovering from a major illness and we had also found ourselves burned-out and not prepared to minister to others. We attended a local church at which we had no responsibilities and spent the day as a family, with some friends over for dinner.

The boys were semi-shocked to find chocolate for breakfast on Easter morning.

Isaac prepared himself for church.

Levi looked healthy again and wouldn't let go of his chocolate.

One of the things about being strangers in a strange land is the automatic connection you have with other foreigners, merely by virtue of your common outsider-ness. Be they Scottish, Malawian, or Pakistani there is a feeling of shared experience. We ate Easter dinner with our friend Jesse, an American/Canadian who has been in Mthatha for almost two years and 2 Scottish, 2 German, and 1 Austrian volunteer. After dinner, Joe and Jesse played music for us.

Moses and Laura took a lot of pictures together.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

institutional loyalty

In March, we met with the Bethany Bible School executive committee in order to discuss the future of the school. The school meets four times a year in Mthatha (a central location) and three times a year we also travel to four 'branches' in more rural areas.

However, the numbers at these branches have not been good and we were asking the committee to consider other ways to use the time and money that we currently spend in that travel. Or to rethink the ways in which those branches are done, how they can reach out to more people. The discussion was very painful as it continually came back to more commitments to try harder at doing the same old thing.

At one point the former chairperson named the underlying issue: "we are afraid that the school will close down and that is why we pretend that we don't see these that these numbers are not good."

We have observed this institutional loyalty in institutions in America and elsewhere; we hold tight to the institutions that are important to us as if they, and not the Kingdom of God whose purpose they are supposed to serve, are life itself.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

family vacation

Unwinding in the jacuzzi after a day of unwinding on the beach. We stayed at a backpackers on Umzumbe beach. Backpackers are low-budget accommodations, a step below B & Bs, which are a step below hotels. Backpackers are frequented primarily by single, young-adults from Europe and America sightseeing across South Africa. If you don't mind a little extra noise (from the bar--this one was quite tame) no-frills accommodation, and sharing a kitchen (this can be the most annoying part when others leave a stack of dirty dishes), they are a good value for price. Most backpackers that we have lodged at serve tasty evening meals; this one was no exception.

One day, we took a trip inland to a private game reserve, Lake Eland park. It features a long suspension bridge across a deep gorge. Moses was unfazed. The rest of us also did fine, although I (Joe) had to fight not to let my mind get the best of me.

This was the typical day: the boys playing for hours on the beach, especially in the tide pools.

burying Moses in the sand