The team consisted of Alan Noble, Charissa Noble, Doniwen Pietersen and Ross & Muriel Bartholomew. Marianne de Klerk was also part of the team as a special surprise for Tish so that she could spend time with her while the team was there.
The trip came about due to the need for Alan Noble to meet with the Church of England in Namibia churches to convey the discussions from Synod regarding the proposed name change, as well as draw their attention to the main beliefs and standards of CESA which apply to all churches.
It would seem that many of the leadership view much of what the Scriptures teach on morality, as a matter of custom, and often think that it doesn’t apply to them. Doniwen and Charissa joined the team for the experience. Ross & Muriel had a deep desire to be able to spend time with some of leaders and their families, to encourage and draw alongside them for growth in Christ.
The team travelled from Cape Town to Okahandja on the first day and then on to Ondangwa on the second day. The return journey was from Ondangwa to Grunau on the first day and and then to Cape Town on the second day.
We all joined together at Christ Church Ondangwa where Alan preached. There were about 30 adults and 30 children in attendance. This was a very good turnout compared to the recent weeks where the numbers had declined significantly. This was followed by a meeting between Alan (with Denys Nande interpreting) and the leaders of the congregation, detailing the name change and the standards of the denomination to them. There were 18 in attendance of which 4 were men, Rev Ben Paulus, Timothy Kanime, George Jeremia and Casimiro (surname unknown at this time).
Later in the evening Tish, Marianne, Timothy & Hertha Kanime and George & Ida Jeremia joined the team for a braai and discussion. This proved to be a most beneficial evening of getting to know each other and talking about the future of the work here. Both Timothy (Chicken) and George were of the feeling that they needed to be taking a more active role, especially in the light of the advanced years of all the clergy. Ross gave them each the book by Ian Coffey called Working it Out and also the small book by David Helm called One to One. He also arranged to meet with each of them for 30 minutes every week, via Skype. He wants to start working through Scripture together, and to be able to serve and encourage them in their walk, and then, to encourage them to start doing this with other men they know.
Alan, Ross, Charissa and Doniwen joined Denys and went to St Peter’s in Onamambili for the next meeting with the church leaders. There were 12 in attendance of which 6 were men. The suggested name change was well received and the group seemed pleased to be consulted. The working through the beliefs went well and there was some accompanying discussion.
Lunch was back at Nakambale and Denys joined the team and gave us a very interesting historical background to the early days of the churches split from the Anglican Church. This was most fascinating.
In the afternoon Alan, Ross and Doniwen joined with Denys at St John’s in Indungungu for their meeting. There were 16 in attendance of which 8 were men. The name change discussion was well received but there was some concern over the costs that this would involve, especially with regards to things like their flag. The issues of morality also raised some debate as this was very close to home for them. Questions like, what to do if you make and sell beer for a living?
Alan and Ross accompanied Denys to St Luke’s in Omungwelume. This is a very out of the way church and the road is in a very bad condition. The meeting was attended by 6 women and no men. These ladies really like the proposed name and said it was much better. There was also much discussion on the other matters raised but they were generally accepting of the information.
In the afternoon we went on to visit St Paul’s in Ohangwena but no one arrived as the minister, Rev Jeremias Wilhelm, had not been contactable and therefore none of the congregation had been contacted.
This was not a huge problem as another matter needed attention at one of the other churches and this meant that we could attend to that.
In the early afternoon, Doniwen took the voluntary Bible hour at Proffies school. Tish, Marianne, Muriel & Charissa attended as well. They were greatly encouraged by the learner’s grasp of the Scriptures and their solid beliefs. The ladies joined Tish as she held a Bible study later for some of the teachers. They were encouraged by the interest shown and some of their interactions.
This was a more relaxed day. Alan spent the day at camp preparing & reflecting. Ross, Muriel, Doniwen and Charissa went into town to meet with Chicken in order to setup Skype so that the weekly meetings could take place. Chicken arrived a little late and then we found that his computer and browser were too old to use Skype so Ross will need to phone via Skype-out for these meetings. Muriel, Doniwen & Charissa spent some time at the market which was very interesting. They then went on to Eluwa where Ross met with the Principal, Eva Shakujungua, to encourage a connection between the school and the Christian Blind mission. Thereafter he chatted briefly with some of the teachers to see if there were any specific things that they would like the teams on mission in mid-year to do. They identified Alphabet and Number charts which were needed. While Ross was talking to the staff the rest of the team spent some time with the children and enjoyed the interaction.
This was a most fruitful visit, with much learnt, many relationships strengthened, much discussion and the way ahead starting to take shape. We all give thanks to God for His abundant grace and protection and also to all who sponsored the team and helped make it possible.