I had most of this written yesterday, with the intent to post it ~11 PM (5 PM CDT), but when we got back to the hotel, our wifi was out. Such is life in Namibia.
As is my custom on mission trips, I like to devote one of the posts to some of the things I learned on the trip. These were contributed by members of the team; they are not all mine.
- Bye bye family. It’s not exactly widespread practice, but it happens more than you may think: someone obeys the Gospel and the person’s father kicks him or her out of the house. It takes great faith to give your life to Christ if you know beforehand what the consequences will be. Of course this can and does happen in many countries, but it just seems more prevalent in Namibia.
- There is one bar (or "shebeen") for every 12 homes. Ok, I made up that number, but it does seem close to that. While walking through the neighborhoods, we saw a bar around just about every corner and in about every other block. This leads to the corollary…
- Alcohol is a huge demon in Namibia. It’s a huge demon that affects families, with the same results as anywhere. Some amazing statistics I found: more than half of Namibian adults consume an average of 10 liters of alcohol a week, Windhoek is the “drinking capital” (69.9% of the adult population). In the southern region the figure is 65.2%, and in the northern regions (including Ondangwa), the figure is a surprisingly low 26%.
- The roads here are better than the roads in Malawi. This is huge, especially if you do a lot of driving (which we did last year in Malawi). In fact, the Chariot is parked along a “B” highway (which would be like a U.S. route in America), there is a concrete strip along the edge, to keep the asphalt from chipping away (which is what caused us major problems in Malawi).
- Hope you like chicken, because that’s what’s for lunch. We have two real options for lunch. (A third alternative isn’t really an option, and that’s to go to our hotel or a neighboring hotel. It’s not an option because of the time it takes. Joel and I each ordered a sandwich for lunch on Monday at our hotel and it took an hour and a half.) So your two alternatives here in Ondangwa are KFC (chicken) and Hungry Lion (also chicken). Don’t like chicken? Go to Hungry Lion then, because they do have one thing besides chicken: soft-serve "ice cream".
- You cannot drive if your car horn is broken. The cars just cough and die. Well, probably not, but as many horns as we hear, it seems that way.
- Flashing lights and sirens on emergency vehicles — merely informational. Not necessary to move aside. No one does.
- If a man carries water in a jug on his head, it’s a disgrace. Everyone knows that’s a woman’s job. (A Namibian told me that “disgrace” thing; I didn’t make it up.)
- Camel thorn. These are amazingly large thorns. Bernard is one of the brothers from Windhoek who has relatives here. He told me camels eat these. Differing world views would look at that differently. One might say it’s a product of evolution, and the camel adapted, developing a stronger tongue, mouth, and digestive system to be able to eat these thorns. Another would say that’s how God made the camel, being able to eat what the animal needed to survive. Me, when I see them, I think of Jesus, and how he had these things mashed into his head. There’s no reference above to gauge how long these thorns are, but it’s not unusual to see them in the 1½-2” range.
- If a Namibian kid wants a toy, he’ll make one from whatever he can find. These kids learned the lesson yesterday about David and Goliath, which some of them hadn’t heard before. After the lesson, Diane asked if they thought they could make a sling like David’s. They went and got fan palm leaves, and did it. Impressive – and they worked!
- We would have been more effective with more advance preparation in Ondangwa. We knew this already, but two people at services last night told us this. They seemed to be (and may actually have been) upset that they didn’t know about the Chariot earlier in the week. One woman was appalled that we didn’t have an interpreter to interpret the services into Oshiwambo, the local language. This is definitely criticism that we (not just the mission team, but more importantly, GCM) need to take seriously. We believe we’ve planted some good seed here this week, and it will produce fruit after we leave, but what if we would have prepared better?
We had a total of 10 studies yesterday, and the same sized crowd as the night before (~20). So far, Mike preached Tuesday night, I preached Wednesday, and Joel preached last night. AFAIK, Tommy will preach tonight. We’ll see if we can twist his arm. As I close, I wanted to include a picture of Lena, who was baptized Wednesday night: