Travel to another culture is similar to space travel. It was my childhood dream to be an astronaut and join the original seven who were introduced as the first Astronauts for the United States of America. At the age of eleven President John F. Kennedy announced that America would put a man on the moon and bring him back safely to earth by the end of the decade. My heart was electrified by that speech.
I remember watching Sputnik, the first Soviet satellite, pass over in the early evening from my front yard. The wonder and questions that were raised as a result of that event. The unknown of what could happen from that small satellite. Could it have camera’s or bombs? What did it mean?
When Cathy and I return to the familiar homes and roads of South Africa it is such a joy to see old friends and instantly make new friends brought here by the Spirit of God. On Friday we met new volunteers from Northern Ireland, Germany, Argentina and the United States. All of them have the electric expectations I felt in the early 60’s. Their life has taken a turn to the unknown. They are anxious to see God move and serve others.
I remember as a young boy my disappointment when qualifications for becoming an astronaut where announced. You could not even apply to become an astronaut if you were over six foot tall. As a young teenager I shot up to six foot and four inches. I couldn’t believe it. I was instantly disqualified as a candidate to fulfill my dream of walking on the moon. The romantic stroll I envisioned in my mind on the surface of the moon was to never be.
Many young missionaries come on the mission field with similar expectations and dreams. The first shock is that God is wanted to shape and change them for His purposes. When I met with them for the first time you could quickly see the gap between their expectations and the reality of what they are facing. One young missionary stated, the living conditions here are better than some places in my hometown. The mental picture of Africa is different than they anticipated.
Today I speak with Buyela at a church in the colored section of town. That is a term foreign to me and goes back to racial times of the sixties.
Tomorrow I meet with the local YFC and spend six hours training the new volunteers on Tuesday. We are off to a fast start and move to a farm in the interior of South Africa on Wednesday. I have had fascinating discussions with several missionaries. I have deeply enjoyed pointing out the great progress they have made since our last visit.
Pray that our love spreads wide and deeply. The weather turned cold and wet today. But it has been a beautiful first few days.
Four decade veteran of youth ministry in churches, Youth For Christ and now is the Founder and Executive Director of Deeper Still Missions. Danny and his wife Cathy spend most of their time mentoring missionaries in Africa, Europe, Central America and North America. Future opportunities include South America and the Asia Pacific area.