KRB Update #2156 July 19, 2010
Keith R. Brinkman
Durban / eThekwini – South Africa
Greetings from Durban / eThekwini, South Africa. The reasons we are going to South Africa are for a technical work phase primarily though we will have some programmatic activities ashore. These may include an Eye Training Program, Mental Health training for local Christian leaders, and a Dental Clinic outreach. I am here serving on the Advance Team.
Mercy Ships will bring the ship to the city of Durban. Durban is also known by its Zulu name – eThekwini – which is translated as the place ‘where the earth and the ocean meets’. It is situated on the east of coast of South Africa, on the shores of the Indian Ocean. The weather is milder, subtropical climate with all-year-round sunshine (down here the seasons are opposite to us in the United States and Europe, so here we are in winter). South Africa has eleven official languages – though the predominant language in this area is Zulu.
Some of our tasks here as the Advance Team include finding accommodations for the crew who are not able to live on the ship while it is in the shipyard – that consists of families with children (51 children in total), couples, and singles (though about 80 crew members, primarily technical crew, will remain on board). We as a team (primarily Cathy) have followed up on many contacts and have taken hundreds photos and written reports so our leaders can review the options. Brenda, who is our team leader, continues to work with the government contacts.
At the same time, I am here on the Advance Team, I am still doing various aspects of my role as Programs Administrator for the Africa Mercy – doing that remotely has had its challenges.
A side note – the nation of South Africa hosted the World Cup 2010 – Soccer or Football depending where you are from. The excitement was in the air – flags were flying – South African flags and also the flags of the other countries competing in the World Cup. Even though South Africa was knocked out in the first round, the people are still proud of the team and the country for being able to host this huge event. We as a team have watched various matches on the television.
Prayer Requests: ** Technical work to be completed with excellence and on schedule **All the logistics for the crew who need to move off the ship during the shipyard phase ** Divine opportunities and appointments ** Remaining funds needed to pay for the shipyard phase
These are some of the young ones at a new church that I visited this morning with my friend Gabriel. During my short time of sharing in this church and the others, I shared about how we are all part of the Body of Christ and that you are my brother and sister in Christ.
Pastor Gabriel is a former day volunteer with the Anastasis back in the early 90’s. God has used him to plant churches in and around Togo in cooperation with the Pentecostal Church of Togo. He invited me to visit some of his churches which I did today. The photo is of the newest group who are meeting in his home. Gabriel is in the middle with the yellow shirt.
While visiting a past church plant here in Togo, I was able to present to Pastor Andrew a few copies of the Life Guide Bible in the French language – this Bible includes Psalms, Proverbs, and the New Testament – in addition, it has a section related to health. issues.
Mercy Ships first time in Africa was in the nation of Togo in 1990. A former crew member and friend was involved with agriculture training and construction of a school. This community had no Christian church – only idol worship. My friend and his translator were able to plant a Christian church there. I had the opportunity to visit and share with them this morning at Sunday service. This is a photo of the congregation.
Enjoying a short “ride” around the Durban harbour on a new catamaran with a former crew member from the Anastasis days – Chris. He lives and works locally here in Durban. It was an enjoyable time and break from the normal duties of advance team and programs administrator.
Today, we got a call from a former crew member who was taking a catamaran out in the harbour of Durban and wanted to know if we wish to ride along. So in this photo, I am out on the front with Brian as we start our ‘cruise’.
Last night for the Final Match of the first World Cup on the continent of Africa, we went to church and enjoyed a braai between the Closing Ceremony and the start of the match. There was a mixture of people – some for The Netherlands and others for Espana. I chose to cheer for Espana for the many different times I have been with the ship in Tenerife and more recently when I was in hospital in Spain in January and February plus we speak the same language. Many fouls and penalties but it was fun to watch and this brings a close to the most professional football/soccer I have watched on TV in my life!
Last night before the World Cup – Espana vs The Netherlands – we enjoyed a braai (barbeque) at the church here in the same community of the Advance Team. They have been very hospitable to our team. Though since I don’t cook myself that often, I sought the advise of Phillip and Marcel who helped with the meat we brought for dinner.
A view of the harbour in Durban, South Africa – the days are normally sunny, but it was hazy on this day – but I love the reflection of the buildings in the water of the bay. Durban has a population of over 3.5 million people. As an advance team we are staying just north of the downtown / central business district of Durban.