We had dinner with a Zulu family the other night. They live in one of only two un-gated homes we have been in. Their chief source of security is God and their black lab mix that might very well lick you to death or maybe swat you with his wagging tail.
We sat around their living room (too crowded at their little table) with Mom and Dad and their three beautiful children. They are still very connected to their family in the north eastern part of South Africa and spend every holiday there. This family personified the shift in socialization in South Africa. Mom and dad came to Jo’burg to escape a poorer rural life with few chances for advancement. Mom finished her high school education and was able to get a job in banking and, being bright and ambitious, she has been able to advance some in her career without further schooling. Dad, who never finished his high school education, was able to get training as the equivalent of a nurses’ aide. His work consists almost exclusively of giving enemas. But he is happy and grateful for years of a steady income that together with his wife’s salary has enabled them to own a modest home, provide for their children and vacation back in their homeland on holidays. The oldest girl is in graduate school working toward an advanced degree in accounting. The younger girl in in her second year of university majoring in , and their son is a senior in high school.
The children are truly the bridge to a new generation. They can speak some Zulu, but their English is flawless, their dress as contemporary as any American teen and their world views are sophisticated. They never experienced the hardships of Apartied, although they know the sting of occasional prejudice. Still, they speak eloquently of the injustice of reverse discrimination now that blacks are in political power and whites are suffering rejection on the job market, poverty and homelessness. They speak of visits to their parents’ homeland with an amused patience with old traditions and inconveniences. They have high ambitions for their future and the proud support of their parents for their dreams.
As dinner progressed, a violent storm came up and the electricity went out. We finished our meal by candlelight and enjoyed that ambience and the timpani of the rain and thunder and the spectacular display of lightning.
They told us that even without a storm, they had scheduled outages to extend the power supply to an overloaded area. Their modest neighborhood had experienced growth too rapid to be supported by existing supplies of power and so, without warning, their electricity goes out for a few hours occasionally. They have worked around this problem by installing a propane water heater and a small gas stove top and keeping a supply of candles on hand.
As we ended our visit and prepared to leave, they gave each of us traditional Zulu shirts (picture Ron and Linda in matching sleeveless leopard skin tunics) exhibiting the amazing generosity and warmth of everyone we’ve had the privilege to share time with here.
Welcome to our 2nd Annual Northwest Singles Retreat, TRUE GRIT. Our singles ministry in Seattle will be hosting this event May 27th through May 29th. Last year’s retreat in Spokane included singles from ICOC churches all over the Northwest United States and Western Canada: Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Spokane, Boise, Missoula, Anchorage, Portland, Ashland, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg… even a few from Boston and Los Angeles! We are expecting well over 200 singles this year. Come have fun, grow your faith, make new friends and maybe fall in love. One of the couples who met at last year’s retreat were just married on February 26, 2011.
For more information including schedule and how to sign up CLICK HERE
As a church, we have decided our theme for 2011 is “Grace.” I suppose we could make it our theme and focus each year for the rest of our lives, and not truly grasp how incredible it is to be loved by God unconditionally! On the Eastside, this last Sunday we started a 4-week series entitled, “Encounters With Jesus.” We are looking at four different people, each touched by Jesus’ love in ways that resonate deeply with us today. At the end of each sermon, a disciple from the Eastside is presenting a dramatic dialogue, giving us a idea of what it must have been like for the people whose lives he changed. We will post the video of these presentations each week. In order, they are: 1) The woman caught in adultery 2) The lost son 3) The woman at the well, and 4) the thief on the cross. We hope you enjoy these, and pray that each of us will gain a deeper understanding of God’s amazing grace!
Week 1: The Woman Caught In Adultery, John 8:1-11
It’s “O” week on the university campuses here and the whole church is abuzz with the excitement of it. “O” week is the equivalent of our first week of school in September. The daily outreach to set up Bible studies and invite students to church is relentless.
The one year challenge for young people to commit themselves to spending a year here as campus interns has gone out to churches worldwide. Currently, three recent college graduates (and one on the way when he gets his Visa requirements straightened out) have delayed careers and graduate school, paid their own way here, and are accepting the hospitality of disciples here for room and board. Sam, Poursia, and Elizabeth have come for the great adventure of seeking the lost on campuses throughout the greater Jo’burg area.
This week the University of Johannesburg, which has 6 disciples as students there, had 37 visitors at Bible talk and set up 20 personal Bible studies. Other universities here have had similar victories. The church as a whole is experiencing great impact. The first Sunday we were here we worshipped in a region with 370 disciples and over 880 in attendance. This was not a special outreach Sunday—just wonderful evidence of God at work in the church here!