When all checks had been completed, I rested in peace for one last night in Benin in a guesthouse close to the airport. Anticipation to reunite with my family was getting a better hold of me. It had been a long four years and one cannot, but expect change after so many years. That is the nature of all living creatures. Will the change be for the better or worse?
I met my beloved mom and brother on a Thursday before the break of dawn. Of which, I am thoroughly grateful to have this privilege of the reunion especially, as it is today, life is indeed as grass which is here today and gone tomorrow. I feel blessed in that sense. For those who think I am tall wait until you meet my younger brother. I guess things have changed for the better here.
After about 10 hours of flight at night, you bet I needed some rest. I arrived at 5AM. Since it is winter, it means that the sun rises later around 7AM: more bedtime. However, it also means that I have got a whole lot of readjusting to do as in Benin the temperatures are averaging 98°F/37°C throughout the entire year. I never used a sweater or a blanket in Benin. But when I came back home it was as though my body's self-heating system had rusted out. Nonetheless, I am thankful that our bodies are adaptable to change by intelligent design. Adapt, adapt, adapt.
I had other experiences waiting for me. There are drastic changes that have ensued in the country which might have been catalyzed by the current global pestilence.
On the same morning of my arrival, I left to do some personal errands in Johannesburg CBD, dubbed as biggest African, world class city. Firstly, I felt some reverse culture shock experience which was almost manifested as claustrophobia. Johannesburg is over populated, in fact, just to give you a clue of it's enormous population-density: the province in which it is located is the smallest of all provinces in the country. However, it is the most populated of all provinces, and the numbers keeps increasing.
Unfortunately, all these factors, among others, contribute to propagating the widespread crime in the country. Since such wickedness seems to be prevailing, there was a high likelihood that I would be confronted by it. And I did come to see it. It came really close. Actually, what this phrase means is I was a target of a crime on my first day in South Africa.
It was already dusk when this took place. There was a group of men who advanced towards me when I had just left a shop. And due to the crowds, it is difficult to keep focus on one person and to prepare for an escape. The men were already too close when I realized that trouble loomed. One of them touched the pocket of my sweater which had my functional phone. I can tell you that I escaped in that hour of trial unharmed and lost nothing, all by God's grace. This experience disorientated me after that, and I was not confident to go to the much farther taxi rank to go back home. Moreover, I could see many men standing by the sides of the streets waiting to mug people. Thus I ran to the nearest taxi rank that takes me to another town where there are church members and family friends hoping to spend a night there.
When challenges follow us, it is often difficult to makes sense of it all. Yet it is also big opportunity to be thankful and trusting in God. Thankful because even if the evil had happened: if it was not for grace, it could had been worse. However, I was soon to know some purpose of this cold, untoward welcome back to South Africa.
I arrived at an elderly lady's house who is also an Adventist and family friend who welcomed me with warm arms. The warmth was the warmth I needed for it had been cold, hadn't it? I ended up spending three nights.
We had our morning and evening worships. And it turned out that whatever that was studied from the Word of God was speaking addressing our individual spiritual needs. Thus it is true that the Lord's can take a bad situation that was meant for evil and use it for good. During my time there, I visited with a few other families: which was a blessing. I praise God for His love and mercy forwards me who is the least of all His children. He looks beyond our faults and sees our need of His righteousness by which we are qualified to be called His servants.
This is the END of Mission Voyages Benin mission articles. Thank you one more time for your interest and love for God and His mission. Check out other articles here, if you haven't already. I will leave you with one verse that highlights many of the lessons that I have learned: Luke 17:10 KJV So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.