Shrocks on the Rock – Fall 2009
We are celebrating because we’ve been in South Africa for 2 years! As we have people visit from the U.S., we are reminded of the initial culture shock we experienced that we have become accustomed to. So journey to South Africa with us as we share some strange but true differences about living here.
At the airport, you get a trolley for your luggage. When shopping, it’s also a trolley, not a cart. You must be careful if you let anyone assist you, as they may be trying to pinch (steal) something. Cell phones are owned by everyone even those who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. In order to keep them safe, some women use their “African purse” or bra to hide them. After loading your luggage in the bakkie (pickup truck), the driver gets in on the right side. If driving a car you put things in the boot (trunk) and check the oil under the bonnet (hood). You drive on the left side of the road and all the controls in the vehicle are opposite. So if you’re not careful when doing the turn signal you will get the windshield wipers instead.
At the robot (stop light), we turn to go to the garage (gas station). We wait in queue (line) for petrol (fuel) and the attendant fills the tank, cleans the windows and offers to check the oil and water (wow flashback to the 70’s). After giving a gratuity (tip) to the attendant, he gives a thumbs up and says “sharp” (pronounced shop) which means good. As we travel on, we notice that McDonald’s and KFC are the only drive through fast-food restaurants. After ordering food, we ask for serviettes (napkins) and say baie dankie (sounds like “buy a donkey” and is Afrikaans for thank you very much) or siyabonga which is thank you in Zulu.
We arrive at the base, which is out in the plots (country) on a dirt road not tar road (paved). If the lines have not fallen (electricity is on), we can easily see to move in. In the summer, a mosquito net is a must to get a good sleep. There is no heat or air conditioning in the average houses. You will also be living with a host of companions such as lizards, skinks, frogs, bats, mice, house snakes and ants. The ants are a daily battle (the ants even get in the refrigerator). The only other wildlife around us are cobras, weasels, and Goliath frogs which have teeth. To see lions, giraffes and such, one must travel hours from Pretoria (the capital city) and go on safari. You can then get really close to animals in the wild and hear the lions roar from miles away if you camp overnight.
Everyday the nationals love to eat pap (pronounced pop) and can’t believe we don’t have it in the U.S. It’s white maize called mealies (corn) that is ground into flour. You add water and it’s cooked for about an hour. It is generally served with gravy made from braaing (frying) vegetables in oil. Cooked spinach or fried cabbage may be served on the side and you eat with your African spoon (fingers not silverware). On a good day we may have some random chicken parts with the meal like chicken feet, necks, gizzards, or heads. Also bones or “necks & knuckles” (truly bones with very little meat) may be stewed and poured over the pap. Wors (pronounced vors) is a popular sausage like bratwurst.
African church is very different than most things we have experienced. It is usually 3-4 hours in length. The worship part is several hours of singing, dancing, greeting, and praying. There is much joy expressed even as they dance to the front to give the offering. We all pray at the same time audibly and corporately. It can be very loud. If the church has electricity, watch out as the speakers are turned up all the way. Also if you are a guest, you are treated like royalty and you are put in the front row usually right next to the speakers. The churches we attend are very Spirit filled and we have seen healings and answers to prayer. However, there are a lot of cult churches, sangomas (witch doctors) and the black culture is deep into ancestry worship.
Lastly, we’ll leave you with some African sayings. When in Malawi, I (Karen) was playing a learning game with a group. While waiting for his turn, one young man was so excited he said, “My heart is under my feet!” It made me laugh and has stuck with me and helped me to understand how much anticipation and excitement they have in learning. It is so rewarding to see the eagerness and hunger that the children and adults have to hear about God. Another favorite saying that one of our former national staff told me was “When you wait on the Lord, you get there faster than your feet.” Our feet have landed us on African soil—Zambia, South Africa, Malawi, and, Lord willing, to Mozambique for a visit soon. We do love the work the Lord has put before us and are humbled that He chose us. Thank you for your prayer and support as we wait upon Him for continued direction for the ministry in 2010.
Praise and Prayer points:
• Pray for more staff and wisdom in leading the ministry
• Pray for protection of the students running Motorcycle
Sunday School Mission
• Pray for our SA Boot Camp in Dec-Jan.
• Pray for good leaders and lots of teenagers.
• Praise for good health since swine flu and measles are going around.
• Praise the Lord Jennifer has relocated and is now a missionary teacher in Suriname and is slowly adjusting to the heat (116 F).
• Praise that our son, Brent, turned 25 in September.
Grace and Peace
Jason, Karen, Joy and Jolie
Blog: tmishrock.blogspot.com (pictures available by clicking on Shrock photo album link)