News from Africa/Europe Area Director Bryce Whiting
The Welcome Challenges of Communication
Phone calls to Heaven: “Hi Lord, this is Bryce. Thanks for answering as you always do.”
Phone calls to Africa: “The number you are calling is not answering. Please call back later.”
In Liberia, our conference president Moses Gbaa is in a remote location where his phone does not often receive messages. A phone call for him means a trip to the city. If his family has food to eat and if there is some left over, he may purchase some minutes that are added to his phone. Then he may make a call to the US whereby I will receive the call, hang up and call him back immediately. The Liberian accent is very soft on the endings of many words causing me to rack my brain to keep up with the conversation.
The same system applies to Mozambique with a slight exception. President Augusto Ochi Simbi must travel 30 minutes on a motorcycle taxi to the home of a translator who lives between the border crossings of Mozambique and Malawi. Upon reaching his destination, he will make a call, hang up and await the return call. We exchange happy greetings with the few words we know in English and Portuguese before he hands the phone to our translator Samuel. After briefing each other on news from each front through Samuel, the phone is handed back to President Augusto for our brotherly goodbyes.
In Malawi, we have a new conference president, Cliff Sosono. Cliff speaks excellent English and served us very well as he translated during our trip in July. Cliff is a school administrator and has not yet transitioned to his conference president’s responsibilities.
“Give me your e-mail address, Cliff, for I have a list of items we must cover; too many to discuss over the phone.” His response, “My e-mail is not working. I must set up a different address.”
And so it goes, with the communicants of each country facing their own difficulties.
However, certain commonalities are predictable:
• None of our conference presidents own automobiles.
• Each e-mail means a trip (taxi) to an internet café where computer time is rented.
• Photos or attachments of any size take too long and are thus too costly to open.
• Documents that must be printed are an added expense.
• Faxes? In Mozambique the nearest available fax machine is a 15-hour train ride away.
Is it worth it? Absolutely. God loves hearing from us and we love hearing from our Advent Christian brothers and sisters around the world. Whenever there are difficulties in connecting, the end result is even more rewarding.”
“Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country” (Proverbs 25:25, ESV).
2017 PENNY CRUSADE
Our Penny Crusade campaign is currently $40,000 below last year’s total at this time of year. Penny Crusade provides core financial support for our missionaries and worldwide ministry partnerships. If you have not yet sent in your church’s Penny Crusade support, please do so as soon as possible. We do more together than we could ever do alone!