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Personal Observations about the South African Trip

Oct 02, 2008

The first thing one notices when traveling abroad is that even when the people speak English as their first language, it is different from American English. We see slight variations in Canada and England, of course, and some Scottish people are quite difficult for us to understand. In Capetown, I met Ted Ward, an Australian of Scottish origin, and I had to concentrate carefully to understand his English.

The same is true in South Africa, though most of the people spoke Afrikaans as their first language. Some did not catch everything I was saying, as they were unfamiliar with some of the words. But most of them appreciated my clarity, since I did not talk too fast and did not use big words unnecessarily. But that is my usual style, even with an American audience. I did pick up a few words and sentences in Afrikaans, which my new friends taught me, but don't ask me to spell anything!

It is now Spring in South Africa, and they had anticipated warm weather. So did I, but I only saw about 3 warm days where a jacket was not needed. The weather was unusually cold and rainy. After a week of having to wear a suit coat to stay warm, I finally bought a warm sweat shirt at Table Mountain overlooking Capetown.

I also learned that nearly everyone drives fast. When moving from Capetown to Paarl, Pastor Boois drove 140-160 km/hr most of the way, even passing a police car at one point! That translates to 88-100 mph, driving on roads that are not quite as good as we have here. (The speed limit was 120 km/hr, or 75 mph.) The 3 Australian ladies were huddled in the back of the car, praying that the police car would pull us over. In that instance, their prayers remained unanswered.

In Paarl, I stayed at the home of Anthony, the city mayor's driver/bodyguard, but since he usually had to be at work, Pastor Boois drove me wherever I needed to go (usually in record time). I had some good times with Pastor Melvin Abrahams, at whose church I taught twice. He used to make a lot of money in the financial district in Capetown before giving it all up to go into the ministry. He arrived in Paarl for ministry some years ago with literally nothing but the clothes on his back. I recognized the divine pattern in this and knew him to be the genuine article.

Paarl means "pearl" and gets its name from a huge boulder on a mountain overlooking the city, which, after a rain, sparkles in the sun. One can either drive over the mountain or go through a 10-mile tunnel that is second only to the tunnel under the English Channel connecting France to Britain. Pastor Boois took us to the top of the mountain, where we had a breathtaking view of the sunset over the valley. One has to watch for baboons, as well, since they sit by the road hoping for handouts from tourists who might ignore the "Don't Feed the Baboons" signs.

Driving from Paarl to Uitenhage was about a 9-hour trip, so we stopped for the night at the city of George. Ron would call it God's home town, based on Jesus' words in John 15:1, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the Husbandman" [Greek: georgos]. Hence, he insists, on the authority of Jesus Himself, that God's name is George.

The overnight stay at George was fruitful. We stayed at the home of a family that was of Saudi origin. The woman's father was a Muslim, and her mother was a Christian. We got there on her old mother's birthday and thus participated in a birthday celebration. I think it was her 83rd birthday. I was thus able to meet her two brothers (one Christian and one Muslim). I had a good conversation with Lyndon Brown, her Christian brother, who teaches leadership skills to various company executives.

On returning to the sister's home, we stayed up past midnight talking about the middle east problem and how it all began back in Genesis. She was very interested, of course, and could not figure out why so many American Christians think the Jews are more chosen in their unbelief than believing Christians. When I got up the next morning, her daughter had already finished reading my book online on Old and New Covenant Marriage and had begun reading The 1986 Vision of the Two Gulf Wars.

Though my stay there was brief, it was a good contact which, I believe, will bear fruit in the time ahead.

On the way from George to Uitenhage, we had a flat tire after running over a nail on the highway, but we managed to make it in time for the first meeting, held in an Assembly of God church. There were about 100 people at the first meeting. This dropped to about 40 for the rest of the meetings, after weeding out those who had no comprehension of what I was saying. Yet to have 40 people with ears to hear is more than I find in most places, so I was happy with the response.

I stayed with Pastor Theodore ("Theo") Jantjies and his wife. Toward the end of my stay, we got to talking about more personal stuff. He mentioned that he was divorced, and that the son and daughter were his wife's children. I asked if she too were divorced, but he told me that she was a widow. Ah, yes, at last I found the widow! She was there all along, and I did not realize it because she was married again.

Later that day (Sunday evening), as we held our informal meeting from 4:00 - 9:30 p.m., they first wanted me to explain again the idea of Sonship, how we are all Marys being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit to beget Christ in us. I explained again the central truth that heaven and earth are in a marriage relationship, and that the end product is Christ--both Son of Man and Son of God. The women were especially impressed by the pregnancy cycle as manifested by the feast days from conception (Passover) to birth (Tabernacles).

They also wanted to know something about where we stood today in the big picture (the divine plan). I explained briefly some things as best I could without going into more detail than they could handle. Finally, I told them about last year's revelation about Elijah-John and how we were seeing the pattern emerging even now. At that point, I explained the pattern of the autumn feast days seen in the story of Elijah (explained in chapter 6 of The Laws of the Second Coming).

I then revealed how I seemed to be following the Elijah pattern by being out of the country until the Feast of Trumpets, and would be leaving South Africa at 6:00 p.m. Monday, the evening of Trumpets. Then I looked at the widow and told how I had been looking for the widow since I first arrived in South Africa. Her eyes got wide as she realized that God had called her as the sign of the widow in the big plan.

I had discerned in talking to her earlier that she did not think herself to be worthy to be an overcomer. But the widow revelation did wonders for her self-esteem and confidence, and I saw immediately that the Christ in her was being raised from the dead. This was literally the final significant event that night just before I was to leave the following morning.

The flight back to Capetown took only an hour, and I had a lengthy layover there until 6:00 p.m. The flight to Dakar (in Senegal) took 8 1/2 hours, and then another 9 hours to fly across the Atlantic to New York. After another 6-hour layover, I flew to Minneapolis, which only took 2 1/2 hours.

I read Segal's Edessa, the Blessed City on the way to Capetown, and on the return trip, I read A History of Christian Thought finishing it literally as we were landing in Minneapolis. It was nice to get at least two books off my backlog of important books to read.

Darla met me at the airport, and we lived happily ever after.

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Category: Trip Reports

Dr. Stephen Jones

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