This work is nothing like factory work. It is not even like an office job. I keep trying to develop a routine because routine helps with efficiency. But it is hard to develop a routine. I remind myself often of the words made famous by Henri Nouwen, “I used to complain about the interruptions to my work. Then I learned that the interruptions were my work.”
April is a month of holidays in Eswatini. Banks, government offices and a lot of businesses close from Good Friday through Easter Monday. This year they also added the Tuesday as well, making it a five-day weekend. It was the King’s birthday. This week we had flag day, so once again many offices and all the banks were closed.
A couple of the churches planned a lectureship for Good Friday through Sunday. Some of the lessons were good, some not so good, but we tried to take in as many as we could. It was good to see a couple of our former students giving lessons (those lessons were among the good ones, of course ☺). When we heard lessons that were not so good, that indicated areas we need to address in developing textbooks. So, it was always good to be there.
While no week is typical, this is how this week is going.
On Sunday, I preached at Timbutini. Sunday evening, we hosted worship at our house.
Bob and Annette Whittaker
On Monday, Dr. Bob Whittaker, long-time medical missionary to Nigeria and Eswatini, turned 75. He still treats patients 4 to 5 days per week – praying with every one of them. His wife bought the materials, and I built a hall tree with shoe storage as his birthday gift.
Tuesday morning, we drove to Mbabane to get Chery’s driver’s license. In December, she had been told that it would be ready in March. Now it turns out that December licenses will not be ready until June. Tuesday afternoon I prepared messages for use later in the week. Tuesday evening, I taught a class at the Fairview church. The class went well. It was, however, interrupted by some women who came bringing their mother for prayer. She was not terribly ill, but the family is learning to seek prayer more readily. Nearly everyone in the family has been ill, and one has died.
Today, Wednesday, I will work on the textbook project all morning. In the afternoon we will attempt our weekly grocery shopping.
Thursday and Friday I should have all day for writing.
Most Saturdays I travel to Timbutini to teach an outdoor Bible class. But this week I will give the sermon at a wedding in Mankayane. I am not legally allowed to join couples in marriage here. But they often have one person to do that task and another to preach a sermon about the meaning of marriage. I think that I have a real humdinger ready for them.
This coming Sunday is our once per month visit to the Fairview church.
COVID restrictions are gradually being lifted, but we are still hampered by them. At Timbutini we are struggling to get Sunday Bible classes going again. Our building has no classrooms, no doors, no windows. Donald Baraball donated a portable generator. Chery and I donated a projector. So, we project songs and scriptures onto a bare block wall. It is modern technology in an unfinished concrete building. Unless it is raining, the children go outside and have a lesson under a tree while I teach the adults.
We still plan to complete volume two of God’s Mission Begins by the end of this year. We are running ahead of schedule at this point. We have debated what book should come next. The current consensus is that it will be The Climax of the Mission (a study of the Synoptic Gospels).
African Textbook Ministry
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