Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

June Java

Hello! Its good to be back from the land of dead power-cords and no blogging! Todd’s parents have arrived and brought with them lots of goodies from America. One of those goodies was a new power cord (and a back-up, actually) and so I am back online once again and have a connection to the outside world. So, lets see what can I offer from the last few weeks to update you on what has been going on in this dry, dusty land called Okahandja.

Friday, June 3rd marked the start of our coffeebar ministry - an open place we want to offer as an alternative to the people, rather than going to the clubs, bars and shebeens to hang out, have fun, listen to loud music, and dance on Friday nights. Our first night open we had a turn out of about 15 people, which was pretty good I’d say, considering we didn’t advertise – just did things by word of mouth – because we wanted to start small. We served coffee, tea, and cooldrink. Drinks were free the first night, and we told everyone we would begin charging a meager fee the second night of the coffeebar –
N .50c for coffee and tea, and N .20c for cooldrink. To give you some perspective, that’s about USD 8cents for coffee/tea, and about USD 3cents for cooldrink. The second Friday went very well also. Saw some new faces, had some good conversations, sold a lot of coffee, and cookies! Erin baked peanut butter cookies and sugar cookies and sold them for N .50c a piece. They were a big hit. One great way of getting to know the people who come, and beginning to build relationships with them is simply by gathering at a table in the coffeebar and playing a game together. I saw a few people sitting quietly, not interacting much and I decided to see if they wanted to learn how to play Phase 10. An hour later we were all joking and laughing and having a great time playing and getting to know one another. Here are some pictures from the coffeebar:

Clinton dancing to the music:

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People playing games:

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Hanging out at the coffeebar:

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The new Preaching/Teaching Gathering...aka PTG

We have had two Preaching/Teaching gatherings so far. The PTG happens every Saturday night (the night after coffeebar). It’s great having it the following night, so we can simply invite people to whom we’ve been talking, back the next night. Many people we talk to are interested in what we are dong here in Okahandja and we’re able to say stuff along the lines of, “We are here to teach people about Jesus and the Bible. If you want to know more of what we do, come tomorrow night.” The first night there were about 15-20 people in attendance. The following week the numbers were about the same, but with some new faces again. The second Saturday there were several Hererros who came to check it out. In the second picture you can see two of the ladies in their traditional dresses.

Here is Todd teaching from the book of Jude:

Preaching Teaching Gathering Nau-Aib

PTG #2

Monday, June 12, 2006

Teen Rebellion is the Same Everywhere

The Coffeebar closes around 11pm, and clean-up begins. The first night Buddy, Maveja, and I got home around midnight after putting everything away, mopping the floor, and wiping down tables. Around 12:20, I heard my name being called from the street outside. I went to the door and I saw two of the girls who were at the coffeebar, and also attend the after school Bible study at OSS. “Can we come in?” Curious as to what in the world these two teenagers were doing out past midnight, when they left the coffeebar at 11:00, I went out to unlock the gate and let them in.

“We ran into kind of a problem at home.”

The girls told me they had arrived home after the coffeebar and found the house locked up and no one would let them in. They asked if they could stay the night at my place. I made up beds for them and gave the sleeping clothes, and they went to bed. The next morning, I woke the girls up early, since one of them had a netball game that morning. I asked one of the girls, “Were you supposed to be home at a certain time last night?”

“yes,” she answered.

“What time?”

“after the coffeebar.”

“and did you go straight home?”


I started thinking that I might need to go talk to their mother and find out what was going on. I gave them some breakfast and sent them on their way, assuming that they would head home. I heard nothing from them the rest of the day until around 5pm when I found a note slid under my front door:

“My mother doesn’t want us to stay at her place. So she kicked us out. We have nowhere else to go, but to come to you. We will be back later and tell you everything.”

I was on my way to the PTG when I found the note, so I left one of my own:

“Come to the MPMC and we can talk. I will be there tonight.”

They arrived around 8pm and after the gathering was over we started talking. I started to feel a bit apprehensive. There were tings that weren’t quite clear in their story. And apparently, when they left my house on Saturday morning, they hadn’t even gone home! I called jenny and asked that she meet up with us in the morning so we could talk all together, and so that she could hear their story in Afrikaans and perhaps make some more sense of it. By now it was late and so I let the girls stay a second night, until we could figure it out. On Sunday morning Jenny came and we all sat down to talk. It soon became apparent that I had not misheard – the girls had not yet been home since Friday! Then it began to come out, the girls had been lying – lying to their mother, lying to Jenny and I. They had not even told their mother they would be at the coffeebar on Friday. Their mother was at home, but instead they told their sister they were going, knowing that their mother would not let them go, because of their poor grades last term. When they arrived home after the coffeebar, they could not find the key they have been using to come in, when they arrive home late in the evening. They tried to get their sister to let them in, but she would not, stating they needed to get the key from mom. They asked mom to let them in and the mother was in bed and basically conveyed this thought to them, “I’m tired and if I have to get up and let you in, you’re going to get a hiding.” So, rather than face it and take responsibility for deceiving their mother, they left and came to me, leaving out very important details, of course.

Jenny and I explained what they needed to do. We told them they must go directly home and admit their lies to their mom. Not only had they lied to her, but also taken advantage of us, which ended up pitting their mother against us as well, because they have used our names before – saying they were with us, when they really were not. We gave them 20 minutes to talk walk hoe and told them we would call to make sure they got there. We prayed with them, they would be humble and tell the truth, admitting their lies and asking forgiveness. We prayed that their mother would listen and that she would not hurt them. We prayed that God would give the girls the strength to face up to their choices.

We called 20 minutes later and the girls had indeed arrived, but their mom had not listened, or the girls had not fully explained, probably both. Their mother was furious and her anger was coming out at us for “letting them stay” with us. jenny was on the phone with her, trying to explain that she had not even been at home when the girls had come by, but the mom could talk to me. I was handed the phone and it became very clear she didn’t want to talk to me. It was like I was back in Dayton at my old job as a mental health case manager dealing with irrational and angry people. Since she wouldn’t speak to me on the phone, I decided to go to her. I called Todd and asked him to accompany me, for safety and witness sake, just in case. As we walked we prayed. The talk with the mother went very well. She had calmed down by the time we got there, and she listened to what I had to say. I explained that the girls had lied to her and to us. Their mom seems like she is at a loss. She can’t handle the girls and says they just come and go as they please and come in very late at night and she doesn’t know where they have been. It came out that they often use Youth Club, Bible study, and spending time with us, as their excuse. “Jesus” became their alibi, which in turn had made mom angry at “Jesus”. I made sure that their mom has both Jenny’s and my cell number and asked her what boundaries she has set for the girls so that I am clear as to what they can attend and when they need to be at home. Praise the Lord for opening this kind of conversation between their mom and me. If we have seen one thing here in Namibia, it is that lying is SO commonplace. The overall impression is that lying is simply a means to an end, and if you can get away with it, “than good for you!” Pray that I know how to deal with the girls from here on out – with forgiveness and grace, yet setting clear boundaries and challenging them to honesty.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Random snapshots from my life

A few of the neighborhood kids that come to my house daily and ask, “is it come today?” which means, “can we come play today?”

my friends

A hang-out we had at the house for the Youth Club kids

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Netball practice

netball practice

Me INSIDE my house. BRRRRR!

me freezing in my living room

Sylvia and Deborah at the Woodcarver’s market

Sylvia and Deborah

Jaxx, spending a few days at my house

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He’s huge now! (but still pretty goofy)

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