Travel Diary - Namibia, Arid Beauty
Tues 6th September 2022
The last couple of days in Botswana were pretty uneventful from my end. Ember had a meeting with some other missionaries which happened to be at the church where we did training three years ago. It was nice to be reminded of the time I had together with my Canadian friends.
Following that we went to the President’s Hotel for a cup of tea and scone. It was made famous by the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books which I have loved reading over the years. It even has a sign that says ‘Mma Ramotswe Tea Corner’ (she is the protagonist in the novels).
Saturday was mainly packing and resting and Sunday morning we were dropped off to the airport for the flight to Windhoek, Namibia, via Johannesburg. We arrived in Windhoek around 5.30pm and were met at the airport by our friends, the Namibian YFC director, Elri, and his wife Fiona who is the prayer coordinator for the southern Africa region as well as Namibia. We got to see a beautiful sunset as we drove the one and a half hours to the Hodygos Training Centre in Okahandja. The drive was broken up with an interesting KFC drive-through experience in Windhoek where most of the things we wanted from the menu weren’t available and where young boys beg for money. We arrived to the Centre around 8pm and were welcomed by a large number of mosquitoes!
Yesterday we had a beautiful time with the YFC team here for the monthly day of prayer and fasting. Each month YFC International calls for the first Monday of the month to be dedicated to pray and fast for young people and for more harvest workers around the world. Here in Namibia the team do a beautiful job of setting up a space as a prayer room for the day with different national flags hanging around the room and beautifully constructed prayer stations. The first hour or so was dedicated to praise and worship followed by a talk from Fiona. After a break we came back to do a game of ‘family feud’ and then elaborate on the theme of the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5. We did an activity of painting a polystyrene ball to highlight the areas we need to grow in and then shared in a small group so we could pray for one another - a great team building activity. After a tea break we partnered up with someone with a little world globe to pray for different countries then worked our way around the prayer stations as individuals. At one of the prayer stations they had foot washing if anyone felt led to wash someone's feet. I was honoured to wash the feet of Desiree, the African Spiritual Formation Director, and Fiona. After about half an hour at the prayer stations, I led us in a time of communion sharing how the death of Jesus tore the veil in the temple in two (Matt 27:51) thereby opening the way to direct access to the Father (Hebrews 4). We then prayed for a team of students who are going on outreach on Saturday for two weeks before Ember and I had the opportunity to pray for each of the staff members. We concluded at 4pm then shared a meal together at 7pm. It was a beautiful day and such a good model of how to spend a day in prayer and fasting.
Now we are waiting to go catch the bus to Swakopmund, a coastal town where massive sand dunes meet the sea. Another afternoon of travel but it’s worth it!
Tues 13th September 2022
The bus ride was about 3 hours with the landscape changing from scrubby, rocky mountainous beauty to grasslands to desert sands. And the contrast in temperature was vast - from around 30 degrees inland to less than 20 on the coast. In fact most of the week was misty and cold with the temperature barely getting above 15 with an ice cold wind! Swakopmund is an interesting town filled with palm trees - they have even attempted to disguise the mobile phone towers as palm trees. It has lots of interesting German architecture and is a popular destination for holiday makers. When you see the aridness of the landscape around it you think ‘why on earth was a town established here?’. There is a river that runs through the area but it’s dry most of the time.
The Airbnb we stayed in was right on the Atlantic coast. It was lovely to wake up to the sound and sight of the waves. Ember and I had a productive week of strategic planning while Fiona rested. On the Thursday we decided how nice it would be to spend an extra night instead of getting up early Saturday morning to catch the 6am bus back to Okahandja! So we invited Elri and Joshua to come for the weekend, cancelled our bus and booked an extra night. It was so nice to spend this time with them and especially to be able to climb Namibia’s highest sand dune, Dune 7. It felt like we could have been on the movie set of the movie Dune!
Other highlights of the week included walking along the jetty and discovering giant doughnuts at a German bakery, walking along the beach and having delicious fish and chips from a van on the beach.
I’m now sitting in the very busy Dubai airport waiting for my flight onto Istanbul. Ember and I departed ways in Johannesburg and will meet up again in Munich in October. On Sunday as I was spending time with the Lord by the pool back in Okahandja, I sensed Him saying he would send me a friend on my flight. While at the airport in Jo’burg I sensed to start talking to whoever sat next to me on the flight from the start. Low and behold, the young Swiss man who sat next to me had been a missionary with Operation Mobilisation in Zambia. He had just been on a brief trip there to finish packing up as he and his wife are just about to move to Costa Rica to work with YWAM in sustainable agriculture development. It was such a blessing to meet a brother and swap stories. God is so faithful. Once again, thanks for all your prayer. It is so appreciated!
I’m looking forward to our Global Leaders Summit in Istanbul this week. Pray I’ll be well rested before the meetings start and for my preparations for sharing in various meetings. 'Til next week.