Easter Conference

I was trying to put my thoughts together in writing about this past weekend, but sooo much happened that I’m finding it a difficult process…..so here goes.There are 3 vehicles driving up to Popa Falls, Namibia for the weekend: myself pulling the mission trailer, Micheal pulling his trailer, and the truck with the 50 youth.  Since we are camping, we have LOTS of equipment to take….tents, cooking supplies, sleeping gear etc.  It’s going to be an adventure! 

packed.jpg 

Friday:  

5:30 am….our meeting time.  We all load up and like typical African style, we end up leaving at 8:00am.  At least we are leaving!  The truck is completely overloaded and some of the kids have to stand the whole way there.  It begins 🙂

 9:00 am…I receive a phone call from Micheal saying that his vehicle broke down; the radiator cracked.  He now has to begin driving back to exchange cars….yikes!  This means we have to take all the tents he is carrying in his trailer and put them on mine (which is overloaded as well).  

 snapshot-2008-03-26-13-00-00.jpg snapshot-2008-03-26-13-02-00.jpg

4:00 pm….We finally arrive at our destination!  Time to set up camp and begin the festivities.

 7:00 pm….Our first session.  What I love about having services out in the bush is the simplicity of it all.  Imagine having service outside under a huge tree, looking up at the night sky with the light of only the moon and thousands of brilliant stars shining.  It is the most amazing atmosphere!  We sang songs with the Namibians who joined us, and Gary gave a welcoming greeting to the youth.  Looking around me, I felt so blessed to be a small part of God’s commission. 

 night.jpg

Saturday:

7:00 am…Wake up time.  The youth are already making noise so I guess that’s our cue.  Breakfast is at 8:00 and the morning session begins at 9:00, where we will be preparing the youth for hut-to-hut ministry.  They are split into groups of 5 with each having a translator.  Then we send them out into the village to go to the huts and visit with the families, sharing the gospel.  The kids are extremely nervous, most of them have never done anything like this before.  As they set out, we (the leaders) go with them, roaming from group to group, checking on their progress.  

 walking.jpg praying.jpg me-with-kid.jpg

12:00 noon…We all meet back at camp to share how it went.  The kids were all so pumped from the time they had out in the village.  Many have amazing stories of what happened when they visited the families.  One group led 13 people to Christ in one setting.  It was pretty great!!!

2:00pm…We decide to take the kids into “town” for a treat.  There is only one small grocery store, but they don’t care.  They stocked up on sodas and chips and were super happy when they returned.  I think the store was pleased as well.  It was probably more business than they make in a couple of months 🙂

7:00pm…We showed the film, Passion of the Christ.   We had brought up our dvd player, projector, and screen to show the film.  I would say we had over 300 people there from the area, and not a single dry eye after it was all said and done.  Even though the film is not even in their language, the power of the message was displayed through the movie.  It was a powerful night.

Sunday:

9:00 am…We have our Easter Sunday service with everyone together; adults, children and youth.  There was literally 3 hours of singing….Micheal didn’t begin preaching until 12:15.  Then he gave the message for another hour and a half, and by 1:30 we were all completely exhausted and hungry!  It was pretty awesome though, to see all the different village churches coming together and bringing worship from their churches.

 service.jpg

3:00…Our last session (which was mine).  The theme for our youth was The Great Commission, and my part was tying Obedience into it.  I had prepared a “digital scavenger hunt” for them to participate in.  Each clue was an act of obedience in the Bible.  The groups had to read the story, answer questions, and re-create the act of obedience required in each.  They then took a picture of the scene, and the task was completed.  There were 10 assignments in all, and they had a great time doing it.  My personal favorite was Abraham sacrificing Isaac….they really went all out for that one 🙂

7:00 pm…Our last night together.  We had a worship night with our youth, and it was amazing!  Even though we were all completely exhausted, all of a sudden we were all singing, dancing, jumping around.  It was so great.  Some of the youth gave testimonies of how this camp impacted their lives and we all truly bonded as a group.  

9:00 pm…We packed up all but the tents, as we were leaving at 6:00am the next morning.

Monday:

5:00 am…Wake up and dismantle all the tents.  

6:00 am…We leave for our game drive.  We didn’t see many animals on the drive, but we were all so ready to get home that I don’t think anyone really minded.

8:30 am…Border crossing 

9:00 am…Breakfast back in Botswana and ready to return home!!!

11:00 am….Our first setback.  A tire on the truck busted so we must pull over and put on the spare 😦

breakdown.jpg fixing-truck.jpg girls.jpg

11:45 am…Back on track

12:00…We get a call from Micheal.  Judah (his middle son) has left his passport on the truck (He rode back with his family).  We decide to send the truck ahead and I drive back to the border for the passport exchange.  

1:00…We arrive at the border to find that Micheal’s van will not start.  He is stuck on the Namibia side and we are on the Botswana side.  He has to walk over, get the passport, and try to figure out how to fix the van.  We head back on the road.  It is now 7 hours later and we are back where we started from.

3:00 pm… We get a call from the truck: 2nd tire has blown!  Here is our dilemna…we only had 1 spare tire.  They are only about 70k’s from Maun, so they decide to re-arrange the tires and drive slowly.

5:00 pm…We catch up to the truck at the Foot and Mouth Disease stop.  This is where everyone must exit the car and step on a patch of cloth in some special liquid (which I am convinced is only water).  It’s a painfully long excursion, but we make it through.  It is getting dark, and the trailer I am pulling has no lights on it….I’m getting a little concerned.

7:45 pm….We finally arrive in Maun.  After 3 stops of dropping off kids at different locations, we arrive back on the plot at 8:30pm.

9:00 pm…I am finally home!!!!! I take a long awaited shower and fall into bed.  It has been 13 hours of driving and I am exhausted!  The trip was long, grueling, and tiring….but completely worth it 🙂

 kids.jpg (me with some of the local kids in a macoro boat)

 

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About Maureen Hochdorf

Writer. Editor. High Techi. Non-Profit Founder. Traveler. Sports Lover. Star Wars Fanatic. Tel Aviver. Michigander.... View all posts by Maureen Hochdorf

5 responses to “Easter Conference

  • alece

    holy crow. sounds like it was great, but tiring!

  • Mom

    Thanks for the detailed account. Sounds like there were some frustrating setbacks (what’s new, TIA!) but a great time in spite of them. I’m sure the teens had some God-moments that they won’t forget.
    Keep spreading God’s joy and good news!

  • Andrea M.

    What an awesome, detailed account! I love it!
    I had a great time enduring all the “TIA” moments with you this weekend. Thanks for being such a great driver and tent-mate!

  • Reggie Goodin

    MO…you are having too many fun adventures in Africa without me…what’s up with that??!! I loved the post…I felt like I was there the entire time. I am so excited about all God is doing in you, the youth group and the outreach. really exciting.

    am finally over my jet lag…it took me about as long to get home as it did you, but i was coming from 1/2 way around the world!!!

    hope all is well. let’s connect soon!

  • Katherine

    Nossa!!!!! 🙂 It never fails that something goes wrong with one of the vehicles when you are driving distances!!! But it sounds like a great time though! Another trip that you will never forget! 🙂

    love you mo!

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