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Egypt and Returning Home

After spending one year in Zambia and travelling throughout Southern Africa for two and a half months it is nice to be in our home town of Spokane, Washington. Our last stop, prior to flying back to the US, was Egypt where spent four days in Cairo, with Ben and Emily Robinson. Ben is a PCUSA minister working at an Anglican Church in Cairo while Emily is a nurse at the American Embassy. It was great to be with friends and to see their life and ministry in Cairo. We were also thankful to have local hosts to show us around Cairo, a massive city of 20 million people. We first went to Coptic Cairo and visited some of the oldest churches in the world. With Ben and Emily, we wandered the old narrow streets of Islamic Cairo and climbed to the top of several minarets. These beautiful structures were fun to explore and provided incredible views of the city. We also visited the Egyptian Museum, the famous pyramids of Giza as well as the Sakkara and Dashur pyramids.

Mt. Sinai at sunrise, the Red Sea ... and home.

Posted November 24, 2010
The Island of Madagascar

When we moved to Zambia, fifteen months ago, we knew four people on the entire continent. I find it incredible that for the past nine weeks we have been hosted by eleven families, one of which we knew prior to arriving on the African continent. To further put this in context we have stayed in fifteen hostels/hotels since leaving Zambia meaning that over forty percent of the time we were being hosted people we had never met before. I told the Dimmocks who live in Lesotho that we may never be able to return their hospitality, but will show the generosity they showed to us to those we host in the future.

The Asukile family hosted us while in Madagascar and once again we were humbled by incredible hospitality. The Asukiles are Zambians working for Christian World Mission, formerly known as the London Mission Society. Hilda teaches English in various settings, leads Bible studies, occasionally preaches and is one of those people who exudes the joy of Christ in a way that makes you want to be around her all the time. Her equally wonderful husband, Jeff, works for the Church of Jesus Christ of Madagascar (FJKM), in their disaster relief department helping communities recover post cyclone. With the Asukiles, we visited the FJKM headquarters, met others from around the world working with the Madagascar church and overall gained an understanding of what God is doing in this beautiful country.

More on our visit to this beautiful island ...

Posted November 11, 2010
South Africa

South Africa has not disappointed in terms of beautiful scenery, fascinating history, cultural diversity, and the prevalence of the church. As Erin mentioned in the last post we briefly spent two days in Johannesburg then traveled to Lesotho for a week, before returning to South Africa. Upon our return, we rented a car and headed into the the Drackensberg Mountains for a brief reprieve. The freedom that came with having our own wheels, as compared with depending on public transport or other people, was welcome. After six weeks on the road and constantly interacting with people we took a short mid trip break to relax and to recharge. We enjoyed driving through the beautiful countryside passing through a couple national parks and several quaint mountain towns. The much needed rainy season started which was great for the crops, but a little unfortunate for us as we spent a day hiking in the rain and cold. The rain only lasted a couple of days and we enjoyed some more sunny hikes at Sani Pass where we also drank a beer at the “Highest Pub in Africa.” The Kwazulu Natal region was home to several battles during the English and Boer War and we visited a couple of the battle fields in order to learn more about the history and culture. After our time in the Drackensberg we drove three hours to Durban and spent the afternoon on the beach boardwalk. The next day we returned the car and flew to Cape Town.

Cape Town and beautiful photos of South Africa

Posted October 26, 2010

After a fantastic visit to Zimbabwe we headed to Johannesburg for a brief two day stay. We lodged at a backpacker hostel in Soweto and found ourselves in the midst of a neighborhood of history. Soweto was formed around 1900 as a racially segregated township for the black working force and later became home to many blacks who were forced to leave their homes, as a part of the Apartheid’s forced removal law. In 1976, police opened fire on students protesting against Afrikaanas as the official language for education. Hundreds of students were killed. However, several anti-Apartheid activists came from Soweto, including Nelson Mandela, is now home to Desmund Tutu and today its residents see their township as a beacon of hope for others who resist injustice. An excellent way to see Soweto is via bicycle which is exactly what we did, along with others and a Soweto native who gave us a great history lesson. We also squeezed in a visit to the Apartheid Museum and were blown away by the widespread injustice and violence of Apartheid, but also moved by the courage of the resistance movement captured in the story of Nelson Mandella.

On to Lesotho ...

Posted October 26, 2010

Rev. Nedson Zulu dropped us off in Harare on the 28th of September where we were graciously hosted by the CCAP Synod of Harare who are in partnership with Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. Harare is beautiful this time of year, with the Jacaranda trees in full bloom. We stayed at the home of Dr. Lamiel Phiri who recently received his Ph.D. in Servant Leadership. Lamiel was an incredible host. While in Harare, we conducted a three day workshop on entitled “Training of Trainers.” The course was scheduled to be held at Rock Haven CCAP Conference Center, but due to water challenges we held the course at Mbare Congregation in Harare, where we were generously hosted by Rev. Juma. We trained lay leaders from CCAP churches all over Zimbabwe. One participant even travelled 800km (500 miles) taking him 12 hours via bus to reach Harare The courrse was similar to the courses that we taught with TEEZ in Zambia, but with more of an emphasis on preaching and leadership. Many of the participants were leaders in their churches, but had little formal training and therefore were very eager to learn, and were full of good questions. English varied among the participants and we were very impressed by the way they helped each other translate the material. We had a lovely closing ceremony and we were able to present each participant with a certificate of completion.

A bit more about our stay in Harare and then on to Johannesburg ...

Posted October 16, 2010
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