Thursday, June 19, 2008

6/13/2008 – Friday

Dawn got a second chance to do Godly Play with the pastors. The first time was at the end of the first day, when my voice was on the way out, but the Creation Story fit well with the Biblical themes in Biblical Stewardship. This second time was just to tell the core story of the Good Shepherd. With lively interchange the first time, this time the group was extremely reflective, but very attentive. She receive good conversations over several evenings.

Then it was off to a game preserve across the main road. Dawn got to see her first giraffe’s in the wild. There were the usual assortment of venison, with and without horns, including a heartebeast. Wildebeast, warthog, elephant and some serious birds filled most of the remainder of the morning, but then we went in search of …”The Cheetah”…. The question was who was stalking whom. Petted and licked Dawn walked away with her hand still in tact. See pictures. I may be able to put the movie of the purring kitty on as well.

6/12/2008 – Thursday

Practicing the liturgy and addressing the questions took the morning, when we weren’t watching the monkeys entertain us. After lunch we met another missionary couple. Rob and Eshinee Viegt from Washington State are in Botswana as Lutheran Bible Translators. Rob was addressing the pastors on Music in the Bible. His specialty is the use of media to preserve and contain the Biblical translations in oral form as many languages with a small group of speakers may never increase in the size of the readers of the language, but they may continue to speak a language without its being written.

My presentation followed the Bishop’s deputy who faced many of the serious questions about the survival and thriving of pastors in difficult settings. The discussion was animated and had input from a wide variety of the participants. ELCB is a small church which is struggling to find its mission as well as seek opportunities for growth.

6/11/2008 – Wednesday

Twelve hours of Biblical Stewardship is the assignment. As of this afternoon I have completed ten of the hours. The challenge is how to address three pages of questions that have come form the gathered pastors and church workers. The practical realities of the how this all functions in parish life is the challenge. The Biblical challenges are much more easily met. The Bible study seemed to be eye opening, but the questions are how to make it work in an environment that has seen a change in funding patterns without the associated learing and education to the parishes that life will be different and more is being expected of them.

The second part of their Church Worker’s Retreat is on Liturgy. With the assistance of a Finnish born musician, the church has been working on an order of worship that reflects past patterns, but also attempts to prepare the church for some changes. While much of the work is based on LCMS materials, the sung liturgy is in Tswana and is using a young local composer to direct the writing and learning by the church workers. Once again we experience the power of a cappella singing the African context. All week long the counter-point to my presentation was a rehearsal of a liturgy in Tswana. IT was sung at the final service prior to departure for most of the participants. It is in the audio section. Enjoy.

6/9/2008 – Monday

Sunday found us alone at breakfast again, but that was the start of a day literally spent at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. We took a long time wandering through the exhibits and the special collections on Stephen Biko and the celebrations of same sex marriages and same sex led households allowed under South African law. Soccer on TV finished off Sunday night.

On Monday we began the day with a dual breakfast and moving our luggage to a storage closet, before heading off to see Ambrose Moyo. He was already in meeting with Bishop Manas Buthelezi. It was good to see old friends again. We got a promise to make sure that the projector [still in our possession] would make it back to LTI.

The drive to Botswana took longer than the estimated three hours that had been suggested. It took nearly an hour to clear customs in SA and then immigration into Botswana. The drive through Gabarone in rush hour made the day complete. Finding Woodpecker, the Lutheran Seminary in Botswana was relatively easy with the directions from the General Secretary. The flat we have been assigned comes complete with a sauna. The languages of communication are Tswana and English, [as long as I don’t mumble.] More later.

6/7/2008 – Saturday

Friday there were tears. In the past three days we have had dinner at the Konkol’s, dinner with the Calder’s [the Presbyterian pastor around the corner and a meeting with cell group at his home], lunch with the students [where I was the subject of a semi-roast], dinner with the Farisani’s, and an early morning flight to Jo-burg. Being the only resident’s at the Bonaero Park Bed and Breakfast, we were hosted with extreme hospitality, before heading off to the Hector Pieterson Memorial in Soweto. A dinner for two was awaiting at the Bed and Breakfast upon our return, and slowly the reality of my departure form Pietermarizburg sunk in. Soccer on TV finished off the night.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

6/4/2008 – Wednesday

A week goes by quickly, especially when you are nearing the end of program. My travel to Pietermaritzburg ends this Saturday, when Dawn and I head to Johannesburg for a couple of days, then we travel to Botswana for 4-5 days with Pastors from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Botswana. Cosmos Moenga, a doctoral student at LTSP is the Bishop. Biblical Stewardship and a bit of administrative planning are on tap for the 12 hours of presentation I’ve been asked to lead.

The phone has had a lot of use in the last week. With My Mother’s surgery and now recovery, and planning for her stay in a rehabilitation facility, I’ve done a bit of calling to the US. Old family friends have provided hands on care and physical presence for mom, and have kept me informed of their perceptions of the nature of her care. Obviously she is anxious to see us.

This final week is a week of Good-byes. Until we meet again is a common experience as we have visited with a faculty family and their children, the Tonsings. Coffee was the liquid refreshment with Rob and Pam Calder, the pastor of the nearby Presbyterian church. He offered good conversation at a couple of points in my time here in PMB.

The students, starting with the six who accompanied me to the airport, are saying good-bye to in palpable ways that tug at heart strings and tear ducts. Lunch on Friday is to be a seminary event. Other faculty have stopped in the office to share a moment or two. One had me teach him how to set up a blog [I didn’t know that Internet Explorer doesn’t automatically give a tool bar in Blogspot]. He also had me do a demo for his class in powerpoint.

Dawn and I are doing day trips Museums, scenic places, Natal Lion Park [more pictures], rain today, so time was spent at the International Student Exchange Office to see what we might do with students in the future. Tomorrow is Durban and a foot or two in the Indian Ocean. Yet to come are good-bye with the Konkol’s and the Farisani’s. I am sad, but it is time to head toward home.