Hard to believe our time in Namibia draws to a close tomorrow. The past week has been exceptionally busy as we attempt to “finish well”. By God’s grace our leaving has coincided with the closing of most of the ministries we have been involved in as school holidays begin and the majority of people “go back to the farm” for the month of December. Most of our ‘farewells’ have taken place in the context of end-of-year Christmas parties.
Our church had a Praise & Worship evening last Friday with around 100 in attendance. This was predominantly a youth event, however there were a number of oldies other than ourselves present. Different choirs & gospel singers endeavoured to outperform each other with the event finishing around midnight (after four hours). Our African brothers & sisters love to sing praises to their God!
Sunday School Christmas Pageant
Our last Sunday at church was the annual Sunday School Christmas Pageant. This is a big event each year & we had in excess of 200 people present. The children did a great job reciting their memory verses, singing their songs & performing their Christmas drama. Mike was fortunate enough to preach on this occasion & chose a passage from Matthew 2:1-12. In this narrative we looked at the three responses to the birth of Jesus (King Herod, Teachers of the Law / Pharisees & the Magi) & were reminded that wise men still seek the king today. The service lasted for three hours (which was not reflective of the length of Mike’s sermon as he was told to keep it short).
Mike preaching at Katutura EBC
On Monday & Tuesday morning we worked at the Namibian Evangelical Theological Seminary (NETS) in Windhoek. It was hoped we would spend a number of weeks working here, however time got the better of us. It did however provide a brief opportunity to have a look around the college & meet some of the staff & students.
NETS (Namibia Evangelical Theological Seminary)
Tuesday evening was the Christmas Party for our Bible Study Group. Being a member of this group over the past three months has been important to us as it allowed us to get to know a smaller number of people more intimately than was possible after church on a Sunday. It was a great blessing to explore God’s word together & to understand its application in daily living.
Bible Study Group
Wednesday evening we headed back to the School for Disabled for their Christmas presentation & prize giving. During our three months at the school we really had little interaction with the students other than with two or three that stopped in to say hello to the two white folks tucked away in a small office. Some of the students have physical disabilities, some have mental disabilities & some have both.
We were delighted upon arrival when these three students all recognised us, & came up for a big hug. We found out on the evening that the name of one girl who we got to know (& who always had a large smile on her face) was Happiness. A very fitting name! Despite all the challenges these young people have, they performed very well on the night & humbled us all by their love & enthusiasm.
Yesterday we had the Christmas Party for the After School Program. As we spent more time on this project than any other, it was always going to be hard to say good bye to the leaders & students. In particular we grew quite close to a small number of children that gravitated towards us. We were so blessed by the hand made cards they made for us to say goodbye. After lots of hugs & well wishes, it was time for us to go for the final time.
Grade 3 & 4 Class rehearsing their Christmas song
Kate & "Twin Sisters"
We spent the morning today at FHS in the informal settlement area. Once again it was their end of year Christmas celebration & there was probably in excess of 250 children & adults present. In the poorest part of Windhoek where most of the inhabitants live well below the poverty line, it was wonderful to see the joy in the children’s faces as they arrived for their Christmas party. The birth of Jesus was central to this celebration & the children were clearly told that each & every one of them was special to God. Whilst many of FHS activities close for the next six weeks, the daily feeding program continues. Life goes on & children remain hungry even during the holiday period.
Bouncy Balls handed out at Christmas Party
We learnt today that one of the children being sponsored by FHS had recently died. One thing we have certainly found during our time here in Namibia is the constancy of death. People are dying all the time (many well before their time), & attending funerals is a very regular occurrence. We thank God that many have found salvation in Christ Jesus & know the certainty of their destination.
After twelve busy weeks our time in Namibia has just about come to an end & we leave for Johannesburg tomorrow where we have a three night stopover before flying home. We have experienced so much during these three months that it will take some time for us to process it all.
God brought us to Namibia for a purpose & it has been a wonderful opportunity to learn & to serve.
We have met so many people with amazing life stories & we have been humbled & inspired by them.
We have struggled with the poverty & difficulties we have witnessed by so many Namibians. Where unemployment is so high & life expectancy well below most Western nations, life is tough for many in this developing nation. HIV & AIDS is often lurking in the background.
We have been greatly blessed by the children of Namibia who have been warm & welcoming to this strange white couple. Their smiles, love & hugs have kept us going.
We have also so greatly appreciated our African family who we have lived with all tis time. They opened up their home & we have shared the ups & downs of daily living with them. We still have this farewell to go tonight!
God has been good to us as we have sojourned in this place. He has touched our hearts in so many ways & we look to Him for our future hope & direction.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart & lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, & he will make your paths straight” Proverbs 3:5-6
Our African Family