Australian Masterchef and some Life skills…

Dear Aussies- As a South African, I am supposed to hate you guys. It has something to do with rugby union (but you also struggle at the moment, I see…) and cricket. That magnificent game that you sometimes play so well… as do we…

We make a lot of jokes about you guys- something to do with handpicked ancestors. And some unfortunate encounters with sheep in the Outback…

Be that as it may, Australian Masterchef has really become our (my wife and I, not the whole of SA!)  favorite program of all time. In the process we have seen a few things that really excites us about you as a nation.  Let me share a few thoughts and impressions.

  1.  You focus on the main thing.  In this program it is about the love of food. Of  good chef skills, and presenting an amazing dish.  And the love for food shines through all the way, and binds you together.
  2.  Your respect for nature, and the respect for the good ingredients used to cook shines through- well done! Your agricultural products and seafood looks amazing.
  3.  You are amazing at people skills! I am amazed by the way the judges handle all contestants.  Everybody is welcome and important, and it does not matter what their background and level of education might be. Everybody is treated with respect, and the underlying  impression I get- the goal is to help every contestant to be their best, to produce their best cooking, to learn from their mistakes and to improve as chefs.  I really love that there is none of the Gordon Ramsey Hell’s Kitchen style yelling and insulting going on.
  4.  Mistakes are tolerated– and improvement encouraged. Everybody sometimes have a bad day in the kitchen, and knows it. The way that people are encouraged to get up, dust off and try again are really inspiring- learn from mistakes, do it better next time.
  5. Even elimination are handled with dignity- there is none of that “You’re the weakest link, goodbye…” sendoffs. I love the way that each leaving contestant is encouraged to follow their dream. The way that contestants victories are celebrated when they leave is really good. And the humane way the Judges act towards contestants- well done guys!
  6.  The way that contestants support one another, encourage, help… it looks like one happy family.  Maybe not all Aussies are like that, but you do give a very positive picture of a healthy nation.
  7.  The way contestants grow along the journey, producing food that they could never imagine before…
  8.  Marco Pierre White on the one hand scares- that look over his glasses… on the other hand inspires and share experience designed to push contestants to a next level- great to see a 3 Michelin star chef being an inspiration and a mentor– true greatness.
  9.  It seems as if everybody taking part gets a truly life enriching experience!
  10.  You have inspired our own cooking and the dare to try some new techniques and styles.
  11.  Billie McKay was such an amazing winner last year, I would love to sit at her table one day.
  12.  Would love to end with a Shannon Bennett desert!

In conclusion: As a Pastor I would love to see more of these life skills displayed in church! In the way all people act towards each other, love and support one another even though we might be from different backgrounds and opinions.

And finally: Aussies- see you on the Rugby field… you will bleed…

Respect!

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Nylstroom: A small message of Hope

The last blog post shared some of the scenes around our town, gripped in one of the worst droughts in history.

I have shared some photos on facebook about the state of our town’s dam, the main water supply. But here is some of it for those readers not on my facebook…

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I have taken this rock to our church, as a token of remembrance-  we need rain…

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Beauty in death…

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I also learned this past week that one beer can really hurt you. And no, I did not step into a broken bottle…

A week or two ago my wife and I sat in this dam, between the cracked dry mud, and we prayed. Something mayor is going on in our lives, and we are experiencing the onslaught in so many ways. Landing on the front page of the Afrikaans newspapers all over South Africa, just by buying a beer at a  National Cricket Game and being identified as a pastor afterwards did not help at all.

This morning I had to deliver a letter at a Crocodile farm. I took the long way home, feeling very down and out at the moment. The long route took me across some of the beautiful scenery in our part of the world, even if it severely dry at the moment. I just am in no mood to be amongst people today.

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And so, with this long route back home, I drove past our Donkerpoort Dam again from the other side, and went in there again- it is one of my favorite praying spots.

The Lord must have invited me there. Because what I have seen, has really blessed me. It did rain over the weekend, quite a lot in some places. And when I walked over to the middle of the dam, I saw this sight…  the change has begun. The slow restoration of hope has started to change the scenery…

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A very small stream has begun to flow, covering the cracks, bringing the promise of a new season…  It is still very small. It disappears into the dry earth quite suddenly. But… it is there. And if it continues to grow, it will make a huge difference…

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Friends in wet countries will probably not understand my excitement over such a small amount of water. Friends in desert countries will rejoice with me. In a normal year, even these rocks will be a few meters under water.

I needed to see this promise of hope this morning.  The wonderful sound of water flowing. The frogs- where have they been??? has started croaking again.  And I so long for the day the fish wlll be jumping again at sunset, and to hear the cry of the fish eagle again soon…

A little bit of water brings a lot of hope to a dry place.  I now pray for the same to happen to my heart…

PS Photo Quality sucks… took it with my phone- plan to go and show it to my wife this afternoon and take a decent camera along.  And pray a little more…