The following comes from Mike McCracken and our Grace Church team currently in Africa:
The Hand-in-Hand schools and Orphan Welcome Center do not have classes on Saturdays so our team had a much slower paced day; which was probably good for us. The last two days were full and fast paced. Matt lead our team in worship before our breakfast at the Grand Café’ where the coffee is strong (Bangui sludge) and the pastries are delicious. From there we went to a fabric store and ordered material to have clothing made. Matt and I debated whether or not we should pick out a flowery pattern for Pastor Tim and have a shirt made (with shoulder pads). Next was the local market where we all experienced new sights and smells.
One major disappointment for me is that photography is prohibited in Bangui. According to the missionaries we are staying with, if the military or police catch you taking pictures, you could lose your camera and/or end up in jail. It is OK to take pictures at the villages where our Hand-in-Hand partnerships are located and at the Orphan Welcome Center so I’m getting a lot, just not everything I wanted.
In the market and walking back gave me several opportunities with people to make eye contact, smile, greet, and extend a handshake. While most speak Sango and/or French, a few spoke some English which makes it easier for me to extend conversation.
After lunch at the missionary complex the afternoon was free to catch up on journaling, reading, rest, and preparing for Sunday and our trip up country on Monday.
At 4:00 we went over to the US Ambassador’s residence to swim in their pool. US missionaries have an invitation from the Ambassador’s family to use the pool.
After dinner and clean up we spent some time with several of the missionaries, playing cards and talking.
As I’m typing this it is raining hard which is very unusual during dry season. It caused the neighborhood to quiet except for the sound of frogs croaking.
Sunday morning will take us to our Cattin partnership for worship. John Kegarise will be sharing with the group. And we all will be able to connect with the church family. On Wednesday we will return to Cattin while school is in session.
Monday and Tuesday will take us up country to our two schools in Bossangoa. This is a huge answer to prayer for our team to travel up to this area.
The missionary staff is a huge blessing to our team. They work well together and work hard to take care of us and the logistics of our itinerary.
The internet has been difficult to connect to the last couple of days. I will stay in touch as often as I can.
Thanks so much for praying. The team has been healthy and blessed. The next several days will be long and full (and will include meals in the villages).
Mike, for the team.