We didn’t go directly to Joburg. JT, one of the guys from our Bible Study had phoned on Monday to say that there were some things that were really getting him down. He is at university in Potchefstroom, which is only about an hour or so out of the way from Joburg. Ben had met him earlier in the trip, and this was a good chance for us to stop by for some counseling and for Ben to say goodbye.
When we arrived at Potch I learned that the problem was, in the grand scheme, relatively minor. It was one of those issues that at the time seems like it might be the end of some hopes and dreams, but once confronted and given some prayer and meditation quickly dissolves into one of life’s little bumps. JT is a young man of wisdom, and generally handles himself with great temperance. We met him and took him to the local McDonald’s for breakfast. There I sat with him for about an hour and discussed the biblical viewpoint for resolving his problem. Praise God for his willingness to come to Scripture and submit himself to the Word. I think we both left greatly encouraged and thankful to our God for His direction in our lives.
After Potch we headed to the chiropractor in Joburg. I needed an adjustment to help with my illness, and all of us were long overdue. After that we headed to a local craft market where Ben was able to do a bit of African-style shopping. By that I mean that all the vendors are trying to rip you off, and you get to play the bidding game. Ben did great, although if you are ever going to dicker with someone at a local market, you need his sister Ellie. I’ve never seen anyone cut the deals she did two years ago when she was here.
Finally, we couldn’t drag it out any longer and had to head to the airport. A quick bite at KFC, and then we pulled up to the curb at OR Tambo International Airport. We unloaded Ben and Meredith started crying. My problem is that whenever I see my mother, my sister, my wife, or my daughter start tearing up, I start to lose it too. We got Ben into the Delta check-in line, and before I left we prayed together. I had to defer to him for prayer, because I probably wouldn’t have made it through, what with the sobbing daughter and all. Finally, we shared one last hug and said goodbye. Meredith proceeded to cry for the next 45 minutes. Amber and I did everything we could to distract her but with no success. All she kept saying was “I’m sure going to miss Ben.” Please remember to pray for our kids in this whole adventure. God has put us in an amazing ministry for His name, but I know it weighs on our children sometimes. God is always faithful.
Since we were in Joburg, I’ll let you hear about the construction side from the guys who were actually there:
Wiped out tonight! We dug out the footings for a second foundation today. The plan is to build Brian's house, then two children's houses, Louis’ house, then a mission team house. In time they will have 10 children's homes built with 60 orphans. The digging took all day, after we spent an hour filling the brick molds. Dusty spent the day in bed fighting sinus problems, but is up and feeling better now. After a hard day at work we went to Brian's house and had chili and corn muffins. We're going to call it a night early. We haven't had much of a break the last few days, but we are happy with the progress. We didn't come here for vacation. We are blessed to be the Lord's hands and feet!
When we got back I couldn’t believe they had finished the whole thing! Again, a testament to the attitudes of some young men dedicated to making a difference for the Lord. Thanks to all who made their trip possible. They have represented their families, communities, and themselves in an impressive manner. It is a pleasure and a privilege to host these young men.