Today was the first day that I was in church office all morning without my 'boss'. It was actually good. I found that people quite happily accepted me as the minister in his absence (even though I'm white, female and still studying). And for once I got a feel for what happens in the life of this church.
I also got to do my first hospital visit. They had hoped that someone would take Communion to the patient, but I am not yet allowed to do that and Rev Mathiti was away. So I offered to just go and pray and that was accepted.
I found Settlers Hospital quite easily, surprisingly enough, as my instructions were vague and I had no idea where it was. It is being revamped so there is construction activity everywhere. Fortunately people are helpful and I found a door in and also someone to take me to the patient although he was not in the ward that I'd been told. Actually he was in a sort of enclosed veranda area - which would have been quite pleasant had he been not so obviously ill. Settlers hospital is a combined private/ public hospital (and the only hospital in Grahamstown). It seems like a good idea. But the lady helping me was momentarily taken aback to realise that I was visiting a black man in the public section of the hospital. This cross cultural posting thing is a good idea for changing people's attitudes.
The odd thing for me was that I tried to speak Xhosa to the patient. I normally stumble over greetings, but when I realised this man was conscious but unable to communicate I found myself attempting Xhosa. Amazing. I managed to tell him that I was a minister from his church and that I had come to pray for him. About a third of the prayer was in Xhosa too. I guess if anyone wants to be understood badly enough, they will make an effort.
So, I was glad to actually feel like a minister just for the morning!