Lesson 1 on Sunday, our first full day in South Africa, was that in early spring in this part of the world, day begins to break a little after 4 a.m.—and at least one of God’s great community of birds doesn’t wait for that. Others soon joined the chorus with a variety of unfamiliar songs.

Morning worship at the Elim Church was extremely heartfelt, the time with the congregation included a traditional black African service, with amazing soulful preaching, singing and dancing.  The messages were drawn from God’s call to Samuel in 1 Samuel 3, and Jesus’s call in Matthew 14 for Peter to get out of the boat and walk on the water, all centered on the theme “It is the Lord Calling You to Serve.” Because of the diversity of the congregation, all of the preaching was translated to accommodate the primary languages represented. Despite our inability to understand almost anything that was sung or said, we felt God’s presence without any need for translators and were blessed by the experience

Later we attended Sunday evening service at West View.  This service is designed to be youth-oriented and was familiar in the style of worship. The service included the baptism of two confirmands in preparation for the conclusion of the confirmation process the following weekend. We enjoyed coffee, tea, and fellowship with the West View community after the service and retired to Mahanya for a group assessment of the full first day.