Word Riders 2015 Day 4

We departed from Barkley East at 07h00. And what a magicaL ride it was out on the road to Elliot. We could not stop and take photos, but the images remain vivid in my mind. It has rained through the night, but the sky was mostly clear and blue. It was cool with no wind blowing at that stage. IT looked like riding through a postcard! The autumn colours in this region are spectacular, and the road winds through some sand stone hills. In near silence our group rode on, mirroring each other’s lines through the curves and bends. One of those extremely rare, just perfect rides! I am so glsd my wife was with me on this ride!

It could not last… a bit later on the road got dangerous with potholes everywhere. A mighty wind also started blowing near the town of Indwe we had to lean at an angle that felt like 30 degrees into the wind. Quite scary!

Our group visited three schools in the Indwe region.

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Afterwards we went on through Dordrecht to our final destination at the Gariep Dam.

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It was a long day in the saddle, more than 400 km. It was also an eventful day with some falls in one of the other groups. A rider on the big BMW 1600GT had a fall, we initially thought he has just broken his collar bone. But it later turned out that he has also broken some ribs, puncturing his lung. He was operated on yesterday, and is recuperating well… The other yellow BMW R1150 GS also took a slight tumble on a wet piece of lawn, but no injuries or damage to the bike resulted.

That evening we as a group was really tired. We had dinner at a beautiful lodge alongside the Orange River.

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Me and the owner of the other yellow GS offered to help people joining our Yellow BMW club…

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We would have resprayed their bikes for a small donation for materials used- special tour price. Unfortunately there was no takers, and our business floundered before it got started.

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Some of the characters on tour- Clive on his Brick…

I will share some more tomorrow…

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Saturday Night in the Parsonage…

A sad and lonely blog post, do not read any further. Rather go to a happy blog tonight… Go to the Photography or Travel Categories instead… 

What a week this has been…

We have to attend a certain amount of further educational training courses in a year, like a lot of other professions.

This week was it. My colleagues and I went to Pretoria, for a 3 Day Seminar, with different workshops. It usually is a very good time of the year, catching up with old friends, thinking new thoughts, buying new books. It is also Spring in South Africa, and the university campus life is full of new energy.

But in our home town it has not rained yet- the last rain we have seen must have been around March- Irish friends won’t understand this at all. The region is very dry, and very hot at the moment. It is also very windy.

We were just attending our first lecture on Tuesday, when the calls came through. One of my favorite people in the world, one of the elders in our church, has passed away. He was caught in a bush fire on his farm.  This was the one person in our church that has supported me maybe the most, through my 20 years in our town. He has been there for me in good times, and in some extremely bad times.  He was the one person, that came to my house just after my operation, who came and sat on my bed to ask how I am doing. He was the king of Watermelons in our region, and every summer he delivered some of the world’s finest watermelons at our house. A real father figure in my life. I also see all three his sons as friends in my life.

This morning I had to lead the memorial service for him. It was really difficult. I was dead tired afterwards, and barely made it to my bed for a nap this afternoon.

Now it is Saturday night. Party night in South Africa. The evening to watch the rugby games with friends. To barbecue together. Time for family and friends.

I have been away from home for three days. I came home on Thursday, and Friday my wife went on a Netball training course for her school, for the whole weekend. The kids are at a church youth camp. And now I have the first available time to prepare my sermon for tomorrow night’s church service.

One of our older pastors has written a poem about 20 years ago, about it being Saturday night in the Parsonage, and he is just dotting some ink marks on an empty paper. That is the feeling here tonight as well.

Maybe when one feels sad and lonely one should not post on your blog.

I would much rather sit around a fire tonight, in good friends’ company, with a glass of red wine.  Maybe that is why I blog tonight…

Meanwhile, my sermon for tomorrow evening looks like this:

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Country Church Fete

In our rural churches in South Africa, a pretty big chunk of time goes into planning and executing our yearly Church Fete. It happened today.

And here is just some of the moments from today.

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The last 4 photos was taken by my talented daughter… anyone looking for a great graphic designer next year, let me know…

BTW- Aussie friends- I am so sad about this morning’s rugby game… hate the ref…

Meanwhile, back in Harare… Isn’t the Du Plessis/ De Villiers batting partnership pure joy to watch? That is cricket for our USA friends, you don’t get rugby and cricket, but we love to hate the Aussies on those sport fields… 🙂

Friday morning sex is the best!

I wish… but the original title just won’t attract any readers at all…

It is Friday- my day off usually. But today I have to finish my sermon for Sunday.

Because this afternoon we are going through to Krugersdorp. One of my friends is the headmaster of a very strong rugby school (Monnas), and tonight one of the country’s rugby programs on television, Toks & Tjops, is broadcasting a live show from there. We are invited to be part of the invited guests…

I have never experienced being part of a live television broadcast before. My wife also loves this show, so we are quite excited to be there tonight.  We will also have to sleep over. So- my sermon for Sunday must be ready before  my wife and kids comes out of school. Then it is off to the big and bad city…

I am sitting at my desk. On my hifi a CD of Beethoven’s Romantic Pieces is playing. Every now and then I look at my facebook status as well. One of my friends  just mentioned coffee, it being about 11 am when he did.

So…

A While back Margaret Rose asked how we make our coffee. This is one of my favorite ways, and maybe how my gallbladder got FUBAR in the first place…

But now- the sermon will not finish itself. So… have a great weekend!

 

Tribute to a Fallen Biker…

Yesterday was one of the saddest days in my life.  I love motorbikes with a passion. I really love the freedom of the open road. I love the brotherhood of bikers.

BUT: there is also the sad side of motorbikes. For the freedom, there is a price.  Motorbikes can be dangerous. And motorists even more dangerous.

In our town there was this young man, Koos van der Walt, that I have known since he was 10 years old.  I really got to know him well when he was 17, and in my confirmation class in our church.  A young man, full of life, and laughter, and joy.

For some of the conservative people in our town he might have been out of their box. He had tattoos and piercings, and he mixed with “funny people”. That is one of the sins of the traditional church- we like our Christians to be fitting nicely into our preconceived ideas of what a good person looks like. That cookie cutter mold of sweet, never naughty, never drinking a beer or gasp: a Tequila, never having his skin blemished by a tattoo kind of mold.

Koos was definitely out of that box. But: he really was such an example of LOVE. He loved life, he loved his family and friends. He loved people, and always made people feel better about themselves.

Last Saturday there was a bike rally at our town. He and some friends rode through our main street. He was in front. And as I think now, I should have been there too, but I can’t ride for another week, healing after an operation.  In front of the hardware store a guy in a pickup truck tried to enter their parking space quickly across the nearing traffic. After missing a BMW car barely, he managed to collide, and ride over Koos and his bike.  Koos died very shortly afterwards on the scene.

This is shocking news to us! How does one die in the main street of a town on a motorbike? It seems impossible, and yet…

This is Koos’ friends tribute to him on facebook…

Yesterday we held his remembrance service at our church.

This guy really touched a lot of people’s lives! Our church can accommodate nearly 800 people, and nearly all seats were taken. A lot of bikers from a lot of different clubs (at least 4 clubs) were present.

 

 

I am not yet able to stand and deliver a sermon, so my biker colleague did an excellent job of that, with the amazing promises in Romans 8: 37-39.  I did the farewell ceremony at the hearse, before his body was taken away for cremation.

What really moved me to tears was when I exited the church with Koos’ family, just behind his coffin on the way to the hearse. All the bikers stood a guard of honor, and did a helmet salute, and it was a goosebumps moment- there is such a brotherhood among our South African bikers. Yes, the clubs may have their differences, and sometimes there are a lot of inside politics in a club. But when one of us hits the tar, they stand together.

I am sorry to say that I have sometimes experienced more love and acceptance in the brotherhood of bikers, than in the church. I would love to think I am trying my best to lead our church to be such a place of love, and acceptance, a place where you may be yourself out of the box of peoples opinions. But yesterday- that biker tribute to a fallen brother has really touched my heart deep!

I am so glad I have known Koos, I am so glad he was out of the traditional mold of what our people are supposed to be. I have learned a lot from him, and respected the man he was.

So long, Brother, may the road ahead be a good one, full of good twisties, and empty of cars and pickups…

Separated for Holy Service…

I posted my Afrikaans blog entry on this one by accident this morning. And the translate function usually does not convey the true meaning of words. So let me share my heart this morning in English too…

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It is Monday Morning. Half past nine. I am supposed to be out there, visiting all the sick people in our church. Afterwards I have to work hard, on the presentation of tomorrow morning’s Bible Study. I have to try and explain Romans 9- why God loved Jacob, and hated Esau. My mobile phone is supposed to be switched on, I have to answer all the complaints about yesterday’s sermon, why the music was too hard or too soft, too fast or too slow… Somewhere in the fields there are still some cattle that must be attending our church fete in September, somebody still has to ask the farmers for some more contributions to the meat section…  Steaks for Jesus!  There are still a thousand people waiting for their yearly House Visitation. A Pastor must visit them at home, so that they can know and serve the Lord, with that choice piece of baking they prepared and serve on a Royal Doulton cake plate, with their grandmother’s little golden cake fork.

It is Monday Morning  twenty five to ten. I am the sick one. My wife has confiscated my mobile phone. The doctor has booked me off for three weeks. I may not even drive my car. I am just sitting here. Three weeks is a long, long time! I miss my mobile phone…

It is Monday Morning twenty to ten. The phone does not ring. Beethoven’s Piano Concerto #1 in C Major, Opus 15, Largo is playing loudly on my hifi in my Study.  Behind the clear notes of the piano there sounds the most beautiful notes of violin and clarinet in the background.

A Silent Presence has come with me into my study. Peace. Rest…

I don’t have to do anything. I may just… BE…

And that is good enough…

Afgesonder vir diens…

Dit is Maandagoggend half tien. Ek is veronderstel om die siekes te besoek. Daarna hard te werk aan more se Bybelstudie oor Romeine 9- dat die gemeente kan verstaan waarom het die Here Jakob liefgehad, maar Esau gehaat. My selfoon is veronderstel om aan te wees, ek moet al die navrae hanteer oor die onduidelikhede in gister se preek. die klagtes oor die musiek te hard was, of te sag was, te vinnig was of te stadig was…  Intussen loop daar erens op die vlaktes beeste rond wat eintlik by die kerkbasaar hoort- Steaks vir Jesus! Daar is nog duisend wat wag vir huisbesoek, dat hulle die Here kan vind en dien…  deur die koeksistertjie vir Dominee te gee, keurig aangebied op die Royal Doulton bordjie met ouma se goue vurkie…

Dit is Maandagoggend vyf en twintig voor tien. Ek is die sieke. My vrou het my selfoon afgeneem. Die dokter het my drie weke lank afgeboek. Ek mag nie eers kar bestuur nie.   Ek sit net hier. Drie weke is darem maar hel lank! EK mis my selfoon!

Dis Maandagoggend twintig voor tien. Die foon lui nie. Beethoven se Klavierkonsert no 1 in C Majeur, opus 15, Largo speel kliphard in my studeerkamer. Agter die helder note van die klavier klink die mooiste klarinet en viole in die agtergrond.

‘n Stille Teenwoordigheid het saam met my in die studeerkamer ingekom. Vrede. Rus.

Ek moet niks doen nie. EK mag maar net… wees.

En dit is goed genoeg…

 

 

Monument of a different kind… Weekly Photo Challenge

A monument, as I understand it, is something to make you remember somebody or a specific event in history.  The Weekly Photo Challenge Challenges us to publish about A Monument.

One of the weirdest “monuments” I have ever seen, is the grave of the Scottish Reformer John Knox at St Giles Cathedral in Scotland.

Inside the church you find the graves of the nobility, like the Marques de Montrose… Monuments to remember them by.

IMG_0435But the great Scottish Church man? I enquired at the church. Then I had to wait quite a bit to see his monument. Because…

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He is remembered by a yellow square of paint at parking lot number 23. That is his grave, underneath…

And maybe it is fitting to remember great men like this! Wish our political leaders of South Africa could learn this little lesson in life!

 

Back to the Books…

This week blogging might be a bit slow in my life.

I am back at the books… we need to do continued training in our profession, and it is a very good thing!

This morning we started with a basic 4 day Trauma Incident Reduction (TIR) Workshop. In South Africa I really need the tools that this course provide. You might have noticed the Oscar Pistorius murder trail the past few weeks on international television like BBC or CNN.  The one thing that stands out: we live in one of the world’s most violent countries. People live in fear around here.

There are just so many bad things happening to normal people every day. If you drive at night, and get a flat tyre in some (most?) regions, your chance to get attacked and killed while changing the tyre is quite high.  Incidents like my daughter getting assaulted by a man to try and rob her of a mobile phone. LAst week. The second attack on her in a year’s time. Old ladies get tortured by employees for hours. South Africa is a beautiful country. But it is also a very dangerous place to live, with a population shockingly used to murder and violence in every newspaper and on every television news show.

We live here. And some people get hurt every day.  We do not have regular natural disasters, It is people hating and hurting other people,.

So- when the opportunity arrived to get some tools to help heal hurting people, I jumped at it.

BUT, even if it is a basic course, it is very challenging to me. We have to do some role plays, that is quite hard for me to do. You see, I am comfortable behind my keyboard. It is much harder being in someone elses’ personal space, listening to their deepest hurts.

But I can see this course will really help me a lot!  Up till Thursday it will be very intense, with long days of working through theory, a lot of practical sessions, and with a lot of homework every evening.

I want to do this, to be better equipped to make a positive impact on society, I want to be part of the solution, not part of the multitude of problems we as a nation faces.

So- I am hitting the books, hard. What makes it so much more difficult, we have “load shedding”- or some electrical maintenance- we had no electricity from 06h00- 18h00 yesterday, and from 06h00- 20h00 today.  That is being enlightened in the dark!

 

 

 

 

 

Now for some GOOD NEWS…

After yesterday’s sad news blog from my side, I had to go look for something uplifting for the spirit.  This morning, while having a coffee with my younger colleague, I found something inspiring to share.  Colleague, being married for 4 months now, took this photo and I (being married for 24 years Monday) stole it from him.

And here it is: really mindblowing and awesome and inspiring and amazing and uplifting… you get the picture?

These two lovely people are members of our church. Their daughter took them for coffee and cake. What is so really special about them?

Today is their 65 th anniversary!  That is a Sapphire Wedding Anniversary, they told me. And the best part of it: they are still in love, and really love each other deeply.

Now THAT is inspiring to me this morning! When I am 90, I would love to be happily married for 67 years! Working on it!