Sunday, July 26, 2009

Heavy Weekend

It's been a bit of a heavy weekend. I am tired! Yesterday was a funeral at Alicedale (50km from Grahamstown). It went ok, but there is some friction there between the stewards and it's going to blow up sooner or later. I had to rush back for a Wesley Guild General Meeting. This is a meeting that is open to all Wesley Guild members in the circuit - well, I suppose they are all expected to be there. It went on for three and a half hours and I really struggled to keep up because of the language barrier. I've managed to work quite well in small meetings where somehow the language isn't such an issue, but yesterday I saw again that working cross-culturally isn't just a matter of being willing. Language is really an issue. Also in a broader meeting like this you get people that need to talk because that is what they do at meetings. Two or three people will happily take the floor and keep talking while the rest of the meeting are visibly bored. And if my personal translator can't keep up, I can't really manage the meeting properly! I think at the end of the day, the meeting went ok. But I am discouraged.
Today I took a communion service at Paterson. We went the shorter route which is 58km down the main road to Port Elizabeth and then about 15km on gravel. After all the rain we've had the road was quite potholed, but it is worth it for the shorter distance. The Paterson congregation is bigger than most of the outlying societies and the service went quite well. They have a thing in the African church where a person called the igqogqa speaks after the preacher and does an altar call. I've only seen it done in special services, but one of the local preachers did it spontaneously today and I quite liked it. I am no good at altar calls, although I believe that it really helps people if they do come forward to make a commitment. In many ways today balanced out my discouragement, but there is more to ministry than preaching. But let me say this: God is good!

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