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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Couple Of Guys...Part 1

After a brief, 3 month hiatus, The Life and Times of Louis and Amber makes its return to the blogosphere.  In this post we're going back further than the 3 months, though.  We're going back all the way to 2008.  That's when we met the Jakuja boys.

I'm still unclear as to exactly how many Jakuja boys there are.  In South Africa relationships (and even genders) are a bit vague.  It turns out that any male relative, and even some close friends, are "my brother."  Since we were so new here in 2008 we had yet to learn this nuance of South African culture.  So most times a new guy would show up to our Bible Study they would be introduced as "my brother." It wasn't until I expressed surprise that the Jakuja's had more brothers than the O'Tools that they explained which ones were cousins, uncles, 2nd cousins, 1st cousins once removed, and friends.  And it's still a little jumbled sometimes. (As for the vagueness of genders, "he" and "she", "him" and "her" are used interchangeably.)

Funny story, although not particularly germane to the topic of this post, involves on such relative.  After meeting the three main Jakuja boys - DJ, Sam and JT - we were introduced to a fourth.  DJ introduced him as their brother Henry, who I later learned was actually a cousin.  And 3 years later we all learned that his name isn't Henry.  It's Andrew.  But for some reason even his own "brothers" had been mistakenly calling him Henry all this time and he never thought it important enough to let us know.  Which is reasonable.  I expect that Henry is every bit the quality name Andrew must be.

Anyway, this past month we had a chance to be in touch again with both DJ and JT.  Both have been attending University in other cities the past few years so our chances to visit have dwindled.  But spending time again with them recently has been such a blessing and uplifting to us.

DJ had received a potential job offer this past April and worked through the decision whether to finish school or take the job.  God closed the door for him to accept the job offer, but since then it seems God has opened up several other doors.  I won't go into detail because it isn't my business to do so, but we are praising the Lord for the opportunities that are before this young man.  DJ appears to be showing a lot of maturity and foresight, both of which are qualities that tend to run in short supply in young men here...who are we kidding, that's true of young men worldwide!  For those of you who know DJ or are friends with him on Facebook, send along a note of encouragement.  And for everyone else, keep lifting him up in prayer that he would continue to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness..."

As for JT, we haven't seen him in about 9 months but I was able to speak to him via Skype this past week.  It was one of those conversations that didn't have a specific purpose except just catching up with one another.  Here are a few quotes from that conversation that were encouraging to me as we observe the Holy Spirit working in his life and producing discernment and maturity far beyond his years:

-I deleted my Facebook account, What'sApp and I'm getting a dumb phone because I need people in my life who make me holy, not keep me busy.

-In relation to the condition of churches in South Africa, particularly the African cultural churches: We like the Scriptures, but only the Scriptures that we like.

-Regarding our constant tendency to turn away from God and pursue our own pleasures and interests: It reminds me of the story of the father and the son.  The son went away, lost everything, but instead of going back right away he tried to do his own way first.  Why waste time when the Father is waiting for you, wanting you to come back?

-Speaking of things in life that seem so important to us, like money, jobs, possessions, he related it to cell phone airtime.  Most people in South Africa use prepaid phone plans so once you're out of airtime, you're out.  He said that when you have airtime you're constantly thinking about how to manage it, you have people asking you to call them and you don't know if you should.  But once it's gone, so are your worries.  We don't want to give things up because we are afraid we won't get it back.  But God is so much better anyway, why would we care about those things.