We drove almost four hours to a remote community in Mpumalanga. This would be our first visit to this isolated area near Swaziland and KZN the homeland of the world famous Zulu tribe.
We walked into a combined church meeting in a structure that seemed unsteady. It was a patchwork of boards attached to poles, metal studs and a second brick construction. I wondered how it stood.
My first step into the building was on dirt instead of wood or concrete. Then a series of overlapping carpet was covering the uneven and rolling dirt floor. I had to consciously watch my steps as the carpet walk was uneven.
Music was blaring and the people were singing at the top of their voices. Their rhythmic movements reflected the Zulu culture and traditions. I recognized the distinctive Zulu dance that I had seen so many times here in Africa. They danced and sang with tremendous gusto and energy.
Their love of Christ was clearly evident. When I shared from God’s Word the pages of their Bibles rustled like paper fans. They seemed eager to hear the truth and excited about the tall white man from America who shared. What a privilege to visit their house of worship.
We met a new group of missionaries two days before and spent hours sharing and getting to know one another. Each story was unique but laced with similar experience and understanding. Our hearts opened to one another and it seemed that an instant bond was forged.
I walked into Elukwatini two days before that meeting and saw the faces of so many pastor friends from last year. The tribal community center where we met last year had a familiar feeling of home. I noted the single light bulbs that provided dim light once the sun went down.
I was amazed by the answer to a very simple question. What do you remember from last year? There were no hesitations, reviewing of notes or confusion. They immediately began recounting our Bible studies from last November with great accuracy and fondness. I realized that the movement of the Holy Spirit I saw last year had left an indelible impression on their hearts.
On Saturday night Cathy and I visited Badplass to continue talking with a new missionary couple that we connected with at the retreat last weekend. Our engaging discussion went into the darkness and I was to speak the next morning in Graskop.
We had a arduous drive home over the mountain passes between Badplass and Barberton. The journey was complicated by heavy fog and a misting rain. Visibility was only a couple of meters in front of our car. Our hazard lights flashed and reflected in the deep fog. Our car slowed to a snail’s pace and I struggled to keep a clean view of our lane in the road. Cliffs surrounded the road.
Then the thought hit me. This stressful drive was a clear picture of the spiritual battle here on the dark continent. We are continually recognizing that our ability to communicate Christ is limited by our thinking and their complicated traditions and folklore.
The fog of confusion is only lifted by the power of the Holy Spirit. We must admit that we feel spiritually clumsy at times. But God is blessing our continual contact with so many people. Our schedule is moving at light speed. We are humbly dependant on the Holy Spirit to guide, correct and make each encounter meaningful. Please continue to pray.
Cathy and Danny Sartin
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