Apr-May Newsletter - 6-5-2013

The African Report Newsletter: Jerry V. Hogg, 462 Amanda Circle, Knoxville, TN 37922 Email: jvhogg@charter.net April-May 2013 Sponsored by: Sunset Church of Christ, Sunset International Bible Institute, 3723 34th Street, Lubbock, TX 79410 GOING INTO THE FALL SEASON While most of our family, friends and supporters are thinking Spring and Summer, we are feeling the cooler Fall climate below the equator at this time of year. We missed the heat of Summer here and have enjoyed some pleasant days in South Africa. During these two months, many things have been happening. April was the first full month we have spent in South Africa, arriving on 14 March. The first couple of weeks we spent unpacking, organizing what goes where, sleeping at odd hours because of the different time zone, and getting ourselves adjusted to the local scene. I did manage to attend chapel each day. HOLIDAYS IN SOUTH AFRICA This country has more holidays than the USA. In America, due to pressure from industry and the business world, (I guess to save paying for days when employees do not work), I think they strive to cut out more public holidays, or combine 2-into-1, i.e. George Washington & Abraham Lincoln birth dates, than this nation does. In America it is now, “President’s Day.” I liked that February 22nd holiday, ‘cause I always said, “George was born on MY birthday - 2-22"! I went online this morning and found that South Africa now has 15 public holidays, when most businesses are closed, and definitely ALL schools. The only 3 months of the year without any holiday are February, October and November. Some of these I do not know what they mean, what you’re supposed to do, or the year when they began. I DO know these have taken the place of the former names designated under the old regime. It’s perhaps more appropriate today. January 1 - New Year’s Day (Everybody has this one.) March 21 - Human Rights Day. March 29 - Good Friday (We all know this holiday.) March 31 - Easter Monday (Some companies in the USA observe this to make it a 4-day weekend holiday.) April 1 - Family Day (Here’s 3 in a row! We always said “April Fool’s Day” and played tricks on our friends. You could tell lies aplenty and finish it with “April’s Fool’s Day!” Got us out of a lot of trouble.) April 27 - Freedom Day. May 1 - Worker’s Day (Here and in other former British colony countries, we call this May Day, celebrated with flowers and the “may pole”.) May 25 - Africa Day. June 17 -Youth Day (Formerly, June 16th , not the 17th, was dreaded, due to the June 16, 1976 Soweto riots.) July 21 - Nelson Mandela’s birthday. August 9 - Woman’s Day. September 24 - Heritage Day. December 16 - Vow & Reconciliation Day. (Formerly named “Day of the Covenant” with long ceremonies at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria!) Voortrekker means those who blazed the trail (trek), or went before! December 25 - Christmas Day (observed in most places.) December 26 - Day of Goodwill (Previously called “Boxing Day” when every home gave boxes (or gifts) to household staff and those who rendered service to them, like at service stations, etc. Some gave money. We don’t know the customs today, since we aren’t ever here at that time of year. We spend Christmas at home in the USA.) Whether we understand all these special holidays or not, at SABC, because we are an accredited school of learning, we must follow the local schedules for holidays and other days off. Of course, our students love it! Gives them a chance to “catch-up” on assignments or just sleep-in and have a day of rest. Teachers need a break, as well. With us just coming into the country in the middle of a term, we must first obtain a school schedule from the office before we begin planning our own teaching and preaching times. Due to some plans made before we got here, Bill Elliott and I had many trips already set. I had told those who organize the days and times for classes at SABC that I would only be available for the second term. Therefore, Ann and I have our flight home again set at the end of November. This gives me sufficient time to complete a whole term of instruction at the Bible College. TRIP TO THE CAPE Cape Town is roughly 878 miles South of Johannesburg. Benoni is 20 miles East of the center of this metropolitan complex. This was about Ann’s 4th tripto Cape Town, but I had flown there many times to speak at certain functions. She was excited about a road trip that far away from our home-base in Benoni. Well, we both were. The day we left for CT was on Friday, 19 April about 1:00 pm. We stopped by the Hornes to see how Donna was doing and to bid them farewell for the 11 days we’d be away. It was raining very hard that day. All the way down the N1 going South towards CT, we had rain, many delays with road construction which meant one-lane traffic, long waits in places, rough bumps in the road, traffic calming devices (you know what those are, don’t you? - grids and bumps designed to slow you down) and a lot of traffic with folks going home for the weekend. Finally, we got to the designated spot where we had planned to spend that first night about 8:00. It was at a dam just east of Colesburg, a small town enroute to the Cape. The first hotel we checked at had a full house, and directed us to another large hotel across the road, but nearer the dam (which we didn’t mind) and they had a vacancy. In this country, most people like to stop BEFORE sundown, as it isn’t really safe to be on the roads at night, but we were trying to get as far as possible that first day, so we kept driving until we got to the dam. I am told this is the largest lake (or dam as they call it here) in the country. Needless to say, it is a big vacation spot, but this was the off-season when all schools are in session, and families stay at home. There would perhaps be hunters, fishermen, and retirees frequenting these kinds of places at this time. UNEXPECTED DELAYS We had planned to leave Benoni on the 15th or 16th of April to give ourselves plenty of time to drive south, stopping at several places of interest, such as, to see the BIG HOLE in Kimberly, where the Cullinan diamonds were discovered many years ago around the turn of the century (early 1900's). The largest of these weighs in at 530.2 carats and is named the “Great Star of Africa.” Is is now part of the British royal crown, as South Africa was a British colony in those days. However, I wanted to have our van serviced and checked out for the trip. As it turned out, we didn’t get the van back until after 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, the 18th. It needed a bearing and also a bolt had broken, requiring a specialist to be brought in to extract it with his special machine! Since Bill Elliott wanted to visit with a couple (Mike and Gail Jacobs) the West End church helps support in Cape Town, he agreed we could work the Vredenberg lectureship (pronounced “Free-den-berg”) into our schedule. It is 100 miles up the West coast of Africa, along the Atlantic Ocean. Bill and I both spoke at this lectureship during that weekend, as did four of our SABC graduates, and a current SABC student. Bill had flown to East London after the African Lectureship in Joburg to spend some time with the Keam Road church where he had worked as an evangelist and teacher for 5 years. Then, while we were driving South through the Karoo, Bill flew from East London to Cape Town to the Jacobs’, and then rode with us to Vredenberg. Our first Sunday in Cape Town, Bill preached at the Thicket Road church where Mike Jacobs is the minister, while I spoke at the Central church where SABC graduate Benedict Little has worked for many years. We were all well accommodated and enjoyed visiting that week with our host families very much. VREDENBERG WEEKEND WORKSHOP One of our SABC graduates, Terrance Sipika, had written me several times before we left the States about this weekend workshop (or lectureship) he was planning based on the book of Titus. Bill and I both were scheduled to speak during that weekend. Four SABC graduates also presented lessons. I was so proud of them. They were awesome! They are all now in leadership roles at different churches in the Cape. Other preachers from Cape Town came and spoke on Saturday, as most had to be back home for Sunday. One of these was Paul Gerber (uncle of Louis Gerber, Benoni elder and prison minister). Another was Phillip Hendricks and his wife, Pam, of the Athlone church, where our friend, Peter Manuel, has been a minister for many years. I understand he has now aged, but still in good health. All of these men have been speakers on the SABC lectureships in the past. It is always good to see them again. That weekend was the first time we have ever been in Vredenberg. It is such an out-of-the-way place. The people were kind and gracious. Bill, Ann and I, Benedict Little, and another couple from Cape Town stayed in the home of Sara, a Vredenberg member. We had the house all to ourselves and enjoyed her hospitality. She was busy preparing food and tea for the workshop. Believe me, we were well-fed. THE GREAT KAROO As we traveled home again on Sunday afternoon, 28 April, we had to go through the Hex River Valley, where the grape vineyards grow, hemmed in by huge towering mountain peaks. It was a marvelous scene. We stopped at a roadside “farm stall” and bought boxes of grapes and some delicious apples that we shared with the Hornes, Theo and Rona when we got home again the next day. Animals in the Karoo Desert are wild and free: Springbok, Gemsbok, Leopard, and Ostrich are some of the large species seen frequently in this arid area, also eagles, secretary birds, spike-heeled larks and many other kinds of birds. Flocks of sheep, goats and cattle are among the domestic animals on the vast farms along the way. Of course, they are fenced-in – mainly to keep them off the N1, causing accidents. Once, Ann thought she saw a white sway-backed horse in the distance, but with her poor eyesight these days, it could have been a hump-backed camel! TEACHING THE WORD After getting home from the 11-day trip to the Cape on 29 April, I barely had time to unpack, do my laundry, and re-pack before flying to Zimbabwe on Wed. the 1st of May. Bill and I spent 5 days preaching and teaching at lots of churches; morning, noon and night; in and around Harare. It was very tiring, but so enjoyable meeting new folks every day with Leonard Magayo, our guide, a SABC graduate. He has started a new church in the heart of downtown Harare. After preaching both at Avondale and the new Central church, on Sunday afternoon we drove to Mutare (a 4-hour drive southeast) and began teaching Monday thru Friday at the Mutare School of Preaching. It has been ongoing for the last 50-some years. Graduates are numerous. Friday afternoon we drove back to Harare to catch our flight HOME to Benoni Saturday morning at 7:00. We arrived around 9:00, washed up our belongings again, and drove to Venda to teach for another week in their pre-SABC training program. This year they had 15 students. I know so many of the brethren there. ************ I’ll have to tell you more about this in another report, as time and space is short here. I’m ready to go home again (to Benoni, that is). Your support keeps us here, teaching the Word! God bless those who keep the work of the Lord going. Pray that our efforts have not been in vain. – Jerry & Ann Hogg