Our outreach was to a township called Sudumbili - I might not have spelt it correctly. We were based at the Methodist Church there. We arrived at about lunchtime on Thursday and settled into a rhythm of home visits during the day and church healing services in the evenings. We also had morning 'devotions' and some people visited schools, did funerals and there may have been some other things. Our original outreach had been cancelled (I'm not sure why) and this Methodist Circuit stepped in to help at the last minute.
We ate well. We slept in various homes in the township - I shared a double bed with a (female) colleague. We were woken by roosters at 3am! People were wonderfully friendly and helpful.
We also had a number of Evangelists and Biblewomen who met with us and worked with us. These orders within the Methodist Church cater for those who wish to work fulltime in the church, but not to enter the ordained ministry - usually because they do not have the academic background required. In black African settings they are very useful as there are not usually enough ordained ministers and they carry a lot of the pastoral load. You would recognise the Biblewomen by their blue uniforms with wide white collars. Evangelists wear a clerical collar with the stud in the front, to distinguish them from ordained ministers. I think that deacons do the same . . . I'm not sure!
The style and organisation was very black African and I did find that a bit of a strain. They call the preaching 'nyuka' preaching, or YMG preaching. It has a lot of shouting and passion, and for us westerners, little content. Not that there aren't preachers who can combine the two - I have heard some good (to me) sermons - but they are few and far between! I guess, though, that if this works for people, it's ok. Sometimes I can almost understand it, but I find it very difficult.
It has left me tired and a little discouraged, but it was good to be exposed to this way of doing mission.
Monday is a public holiday - time to recharge the batteries!