Saturday, August 15, 2009

Africa Day Six...Sister Jeanne

Thursday dawned a bit warmer for us. I couldn't see my breath when I woke up. That was a great way to start the day. Today was a little different from Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursdays, our healthcare workers have a morning Bible Study, training and then an afternoon of paperwork. So, we went right along with them. We started our day singing with the healthcare workers, them in their language and us in ours. We were both singing praises to our King. What a great picture of Heaven.

Sister Jeanne then took over and began teaching out of Mark 2. It was neat to watch this woman of God interact with the healthcare workers she loves so much. You can so see that she has a desire to see them grow in their faith. We broke into groups with the healthcare workers and began to process through the passage. When the workers got up to answer the questions, Sister Jeanne probed and prodded to get more than the "Sunday School" answer out of her students. I was amazed at way of using simple probing questions to force all of us to think but not allow for discouragement because the "right answer" wasn't given immediately.

After Bible Study ended, we transitioned into a time of study on a particular health issue. Today's was mental health. Jeanne spoke at length about mental health issues and how the healthcare workers could identify them and encourage their clients to protect their mental health. We only think our lives are stressful. We as Americans have no clue the stress it causes to be hungry, have a sick child, an absentee boyfriend/husband, no job prospects, etc. We may deal with one or two of these at a time but most of the families we encountered were dealing with all of them at the same time. Most situations were like giant onions, address one layer and under it there's another layer and another and another. It was so apparent there is a need for Godly men and women rise up and walk alongside these healthcare workers, meeting needs and sharing the Gospel.

After the mental health lesson, we broke for lunch and then reconvened in the afternoon for a time with Sister Jeanne. She told us the amazing story of how Refilwe got started. She began her work out of the trunk of her car, dispensing donated drugs to people in need. (In 17 years, she has never had to pay for medications, God has always provided.) Over the years, God moved in other people to provide land, labor, buildings, and supplies to build Refilwe into a community organization that provides foster care, schooling, skills training, home health care and more. It is simply amazing to see how God has provided in this community. You can check them out at

After Sister Jeanne spoke, we headed back to Alabanza for showers before our dinner engagement. None of us had any clue where we were going for dinner. It was all a big surprise as we piled into the vans and started out. We drove for quite a while and then turned down a bumpy dirt road. I asked Steve is this was the Alabanza hazing ritual. :-) He promised us it was worth the bumps. Boy was he right! We pulled up next to a building with a path leading to the front door. The path was lined with tea light candles and led us into a giant room (pictures below) that had a huge fireplace with fire roaring, a long table set up and new friends waiting to serve us. As we all found seats, Steve explained that the staff of Alabanza was serving us tonight by cooking up some traditional South African dishes for us to enjoy. Talk about wonderful food!! We had a beef soup, cheesy bread, bacon-wrapped cherries (don't knock it til you try it), grilled beef, cauliflower and pumpkin fritters (OMG!). All of this was topped off by one of the top three desserts of all time, malva pudding. Let's just say it was divine!! It was such a pleasure to sit and fellowship with our new friends.

Here are some pictures of the day:

Sister Jeanne

Prepping for Bible Study

Backpackers Lounge


Main Course


More later...

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