South Africa! It is such a beautiful place! We got to fly into the Cape Town airport around sunset and I will never forget that sunset. It was the reddest red I had ever seen. Absolutely stunning. We landed in the evening and met our contact in the parking garage of the airport. There wasn’t quite enough room in the cab of the bucky (that’s what they call pickup trucks there) for all of us to ride so I quickly (but without trying to show the full extent of my excitement) volunteered to ride in the back with the luggage. I wasn’t the only one who got to, and it was a fun rid being stuffed in the back. We got to the house we were staying at and, as we unloaded, we noticed the stars. It was a clear night and the stars were amazing; we could even see the milky way.
The next morning, we got to see our first glimpse of the city and the ocean. This also was spectacular. From the balcony of the house we were in we could see the ocean. It was only about a ten to fifteen minute walk away. One of the first things we did was go on a prayer tour of the cities. I say cities because we stayed in Kommetjie and we did things in several other townships. We were on the far outskirts of Cape Town. We started by going to the township of Ocean View. We went to a spot that we could see much of the city from and we prayed for the city of Ocean View. This was also one of the corners of the city. We decided to go to the other three corners of the city and pray of it at each location to essentially surround the city in prayer. Before I continue, let me give you a little of the background of the South Africa. Apartheid had only ended twenty years ago. Much of the city and surrounding townships were designed for this segregation. Kommetjie was built by the whites, Ocean View by the colored, and Masiphumelele by the blacks. Colored and black are not racial slurs or the same thing here. The blacks are the ones who were here to begin with, the natives so to speak. The colored people are the ones who intermarried with the whites. From what I remember, they are the ones outcast by both classes. Even though Apartheid has ended, the social structure created by it has not. The townships are still very segregated. The second corner of Ocean View where we prayed was kind of like the end of a subdivision. The third corner had a kid’s school that we got to visit. We played with the kids for a bit and then we prayed again. From there, we went to the final corner of Ocean View, the police station. We then headed into the town to a believer’s coffee shop called Praise Cafe. There we got to meet one of the police detectives that is also very much involved in one of the local churches. It was very nice cafe and we went back several times.
We continued to tour around the southern cape and along the cost. We stopped and got some awesome and fun pictures before we headed on to Simon’s Town which used to be an old naval base. We stopped at an old artillery gun at the top of the mountain and got out and prayed over the city again. We continued back to the other side of the cape and went a little farther until we came to point near Chapman’s Peak. There we got out and wandered around a bit. We were told of a small cave that was a short climb down the face of the cliff. So naturally, we climbed down a bit and checked it out. Safely, of course. There was another guy down there and we began chatting with him. His name was Louis. It turns out that he was in South Africa for the same reason we were, missions. We talked a bit and prayed for each other. I still get his email updates about every week or so. I believe he is still in South Africa. It was very encouraging to meet another missionary. After that we all gathered at the top of the cliff and prayed once more over the city.
We then headed to Masiphumelele. This is like the slum area around here. We saw the church that they had started in the middle of the township. Everyone there knows and respects the church people. After we saw the church, we went to get lunch at a shop down the street. We chose the meat we wanted, they handed it to us, we took it to a window, and gave it to the cooks. They prepared it and cooked it for us. It was some of the best meat I have ever had. We had beef, pork, and chicken and it was all so so good. They did not serve anything else other than the meat, so we brought bread to go with it. We also had to use the bread as our napkins. FYI, if you ever travel to South Africa, napkins are called “serviettes”. To them a “napkin” is an adult diaper. Just a fun tid bit for you. We had a wonderful meal and then headed back to the house.
Our time in South Africa was different from other locations. Here we had another week of schooling to do. Because we had left a month earlier than the other DTS, we had to make up those extra four weeks of lecture on the road. We crammed two of those weeks into one here in South Africa. We took care of the other two weeks differently. So for our first week in South Africa, we got up early each morning, had breakfast, prayed over our day as a team committing it to the Lord, walked to a taxi stop which took us to the train station, took the train to Muizenberg, and walked to the YWAM base there. I believe we arrived by 9 or so each morning. We learned about spiritual warfare and how our most powerful weapon against the enemy is obedience to God. We had great teachings and got to eat lunch with the other students on that base. Later in the week we discussed Biblical worldview where we looked at our own worldview and saw how well it did or did not match what the Bible says. It was very good! During that week we did a couple of things after we got home from the classes. We did laundry and went to beach. We also worked on our Ephesians Bible study that we had been doing to satisfy one of the missing weeks of lecture. Quick side note, Ephesians is amazing. I really love that book even more now. One of the first things we did in the Bible study was back in Ecuador when we read the entire book out loud in one sitting. If you never have, I would encourage you to pick a book of the Bible and read it out loud in one sitting. Most of the books were written as letters and were meant to be read all at one time. It was so neat to study such a rich book. Anyway, we also got to explore Muizenberg a little too. We walked to a nearby store to get some ice cream during a break once and we saw these people under the bridge. We stopped and chatted and went on to the store. Amber and Caleb bought some bananas and other food and we went back to the people under the bridge and we spent time and talked and prayed for them and we saw several of them get healed of different pain that was going on in their bodies. God loves everyone just the same, rich or poor, and He loves to show His love. We enjoyed spending time with them. Another day we went back to Masiphumelele. We walked around and sought how we could pray for or love on people. Another day, we took a walk around Kommetjie to see a light house on the other end of the city that was by the shore. It was a beautiful walk and we went up the side of the mountain to get back to our house instead of going the way we had come. It plateaued at the top and made for a fun walk. At the top, we found an old look out station that was abandoned. Caleb and I climbed up on the roof for the fun of it and decided to see if we could both stand of this giant pipe like thing on the roof. As you can see in the pics below, we did it. hahaha We also found an old brick house and we were able to take some beautiful and fun pics in it. We even got a great team pic out of it.
At the end of our week of lectures, we had a free day. We decided to go into the main part of Cape Town and explore a market down there. So we left for the train station and took the train all the way to central station in downtown Cape Town. It was about an hour and a half train ride. As we made our way out of the station, we began to explore the city; I had downloaded a map for offline use before we left so we would know where we were. On that map I saw what looked like a castle so we tried to find it and we did. It was very neat; it even had a moat around most of it. So from there we began to walk south-west toward a market that we had been told about by our contact. You see, I “knew” where it was because I had the map, so I led. We walked and we walked and we walked. Then as we examined the map closer, we discovered that what I had thought was our market was not even a market, it simply had a similar name that I did not think was far enough off for it to be something different entirely. So we asked a local where the nearest market was and he said several kilometers south-west, which was the direction we were already going. So we decided to flag some taxis and rid to the market. When we got there, it was still not the market we had been told about but it was a market of sorts. It turns out however that we met one of Carmen’s old friends from Circuit Riders (an evangelism training school) there. It was the craziest of meets. God had been directing us all along to encounter these people here. I mean, what are the odds that on your trip around the world, while getting lost in the bottom of Africa, that you meet someone you know. He was one of only two Circuit Riders in South Africa and the one that she knew was the one that we met. How cool is God! We ended up having a good time there and at one point, either on the way there or on the way home, we say a guy with a broken or sprained leg. Carmen stopped and we prayed for him and his leg got healed. He was able to walk on it before we left. We also walked past the crew of some popular US TV show filming; I forget which TV show. It was an exhausting but very good day.
After the nice day off, we began our next week. We had been contacted while in Ecuador about a kid’s club, kinda like a summer camp thing, called Holiday Club that asked if we wanted to be a part of it and help out and even take a day to share with the kids whatever we wanted. So we all prayed about it and decided to do it. So our second week in South Africa was dedicated to the Holiday Club. We would get up even earlier and trek to the location in Westlake (a kind of slum on the outskirts of Cape Town). Several hundred kids came each day. We basically played games and helped watch over the kids. We were given a day to speak but it was cut quite short. It wasn’t quite the event that we thought it was, but we made the most of it. It really stretched us in a lot of different ways. The main theme was anti-bullying. They had a leader from a anti-bullying organization come and speak on one day. They even had the local police come out with their canine unit to give a demonstration. That was, well, intimidating. haha They told us not to move or make loud noises otherwise the dog might attack, and I believed them! At one point, the kids got loud and the dog began to look around and sit up and the handler yelled at the dog and made everyone get quite fast. There were several kids, however, that really warmed our hearts. Like many kids that age, they just want someone to value and love on them. We got an opportunity toward the end to help them make dresses and tuxedos out of trash bags and paint for a fashion show. We also helped them come up with short anti-bullying skits to perform. We broke into smaller groups to do that and by doing so, we got to know some of the kids a little better. One kid really liked the music I had on my phone that we were using for the drama. Once we learned our drama, we just had fun playing Simon says and goofing around. That was my favorite day with them. That little boy just needed an older guy to value him and spend time with him. I mean, we had fun. haha I was falling all over the floor and they dragged me around and I picked them up and spun them around in the air and they laughed and giggled the whole time. Overall, the whole thing was a great learning experience. We even learned a new drama ourselves before the last day called “Family.” It is a very very powerful drama about broken families. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to perform it there. I’ll post a link to that drama in a separate post after I post about India.
During that week, we still tried to do some stuff once we got home. We had some really long days that week. We had kitchen crews while in South Africa too. So half of the team would cook one night and the other half the next night. The team I was on, we called Jambro’s. We combined all of our names, Justin, Amber, and Fanco. We made Jambro’s fun. Andy even put some piano instrumental music on in the background for us and because the light over the table was burnt out, we used our phone’s flashlights for lighting. We joked about how we could only afford a piano player that knew one song and about the dim lighting. One time we even set the table all fancy. We did our best to make it as high-class as we could. haha On a different day, Kaso took the chalkboard we had and made it into an encouragement board so we could encourage each other. We would write funny and serious things every once in a while and it was a really good way to help keep unity and keep out spirits up. Amber even made us all monster cookies a couple of time. They were sooooo good!
So after the Holiday Club, we had one more free day before we left South Africa, it was actually a day or too before we left but we had stuff planned for those days. So this free day, Carmen went to hang out with her friend there in South Africa to take a nice day and night of rest; she stayed the night at her friend’s place. Andy, Kaso, Franco, and I decided to go into Cape Town again to actually find the real market. I also wanted to visit the A21 Campaign field office in South Africa. I have been supporting them for several years and I had to visit their office there because I was so close. I had never been to one of their offices before and I had really wanted to get involved so I thought this would be an awesome way to connect with them and learn more. So we left earlier than before and walked to the taxi stop and couldn’t get a cab. So we decided to walk further. Then one of our friends drove by us and stopped and offered to take us to the train station, so we all piled into the back of her car sitting on top of each other. It was comical. We took the train all the way in and went the opposite direction as last time and we were at the market within twenty minutes. We couldn’t believe we had been so close before and missed it. We thoroughly browsed the market and then found a cab to take us to this indoor mall that Andy had found out about online. It worked out great too because the A21 office was right next door. We ate in the mall, which was huge and very pretty. After we ate, Kaso and I headed over to the A21 office. It closer than I thought, only like a ten minute walk. We got there and the door was locked. I was so bummed because this was the only opportunity I would have. I had been emailing with them for the last week and they said they would be there that day and that it would work to come visit. As I stood there though, a guy came to the door and opened it for us and asked if I was Justin. It was awesome! It was their volunteer day, when the basically celebrate all their volunteers, so they had most of them there. They were watching a drama about human trafficking that is about three hours long and is on YouTube. I had seen it before, but we stayed and watched it for as long as we could, about 45 minutes. We then met with a couple of the leaders and talked about volunteering and what that office does and stuff. It turns out that they actually work with the YWAM base in Muizenberg. It was an awesome experience and they said that we were welcome back anytime. We headed back to the mall where I decided it was time to get a real hair cut. It was a good thing too; I really needed it. Later, we took a taxi back to the train station and rode it all the way back to Fish Hoek, then we took a taxi home. About an hour or so after we got back, Jenny came home. She had been wanting to get her hair braided by a lady in Maziphumelele in the traditional style. So she came in with her new hair do that was quite different. It was really neat. Later, I was able to FaceTime with my family back it Arizona. It was really great to get to see them.
The last night we were there, we cooked a soup and headed over to our contacts house and had a really nice dinner with them and their family and got to say our goodbyes to everyone. The next day we began our journey to India!