My hostess had a weekly Bible Study group meeting in her home, and was thrilled to invited to join in while I was staying there. It can be rather awkward for a stranger to join the ranks of such an intimate group. They have no reason to trust your presence there and people can often feel intimidated into silence when there is a stranger in their midst. They may not be willing to open up or share the things that are weighing on their minds. It was a little awkward at first, but we soon learned that we were on the same page and shared a common love for God. Pretty soon things were flowing smoothly. This also served as a great introduction to the local community, as most of the nearby neighbours were part of this group. After the first meeting, I could literally walk down the street and run into familiar and friendly faces.
As Pitsane, is a very tiny community, it does not have its own church or minister. Instead, a minister from Mahikeng in South Africa travels through once a month to preach to the small congregation who gathers in the large living room of one of the locals. It matters very little which church affiliation you belong to, everyone joins in and denominational issues are simply not accentuated. As the minister needs to be at his own church in the mornings, the service only starts at noon. Afterward everyone remains behind to enjoy a communal lunch before finally returning home for (presumably) the customary Sunday afternoon nap. I spoke to the man at whose house the services are held and was enraptured by his passion for planting a church when he first established himself in the community. It was obvious that he saw this as a kind of mission in life.
One day when I was home 'alone', I was busy painting away with my music blaring in the background, when the cleaning lady stopped by to ask if I would be willing to repeat the song that had just been playing. I agreed and we started talking about music. We soon discovered that there was 'n huge overlap in the music we both enjoyed listening to. The conversation inevitably spread to what I was busy with, and we discussed the creation of art, the understanding and interpretation of it, and what we both liked or disliked about it. Again we found a lot of common ground, and I found this young woman, who does not even have a high school diploma, to be a very bright and eager listener and participant in the conversation. It was only when the conversation very naturally flowed into the other subject that was close to both our hearts, namely our love for God, that we truly understood why we found each other such great company. This lady was literally brimming with excitement over the role that God played in her life. Over the few weeks that I was there, she and I would fall into conversation as soon as everyone else cleared out and she would regale me with small sermons, life lessons and personal testimonies that had both of us praising God right there in the living room. Blessing, as she is called, became my own personal blessing in Botswana, and a fast friend. I wrote her a little poem before I left, which I'll share with you. The poem is simply called Blessing: