Yesterday I was feeling really sorry for myself in that I considered my lack of understanding of African culture to be a real impediment to being an effective minister.
But then today one of my African colleagues at seminary took a turn for the worse as his blood sugar suddenly and unexplainedly dropped dramatically, causing him to pass out and enter a near-coma state. This meant a frantic rush to the Medicross Centre, where they managed to stabilise him before having him transferred by ambulance to the Midlands Medical Centre in the centre of Pietermaritzburg.
In hindsight, it was by the grace of God that Buyisile had passed out in the hallway of his flat, minutes before we were about to leave for fieldwork, enabling us to see him and take the necessary action. I shudder to think what may have happened had he collapsed in his bedroom, or we had already left, given that his blood sugar levels had dropped to 2 by the time we got him to Medicross.
However, I'm happy to report that his blood sugar levels have now stabilised, and he is resting in hospital as I write this (they have kept him in overnight for observation). He is also waiting for the results of blood tests taken to try and identify the cause of the sudden drop in blood sugar levels.
The result of all this is that I spent this afternoon shuttling between the two hospitals, fetching clothing, and keeping in telephonic contact with the "powers that be". Yet in some strange way, the events of this afternoon made me feel good - not that Buyisile has been hospitalised, but that I got a sense that, for the first time since arriving at seminary, I was doing "real" ministry - ministry that transcended all cultural barriers.
I guess that somehow God, through this episode, has shown me that one doesn't need to be a cultural expert in order to be able to minister cross-culturally. All one needs is an open heart guided by the Holy Spirit, and a willing pair of hands and feet.
Now you might be thinking, "sure, Jones - you just happened to be in the right place at the right time". Maybe so - yet somehow, given the low I felt yesterday, I needed a reason to believe that God CAN use me as God chooses, and today God proved that to me.
So if you are reading this post, please spare a prayer for Buyisile's speedy recovery - and give thanks that God can use even the most inept of servants to be instruments of ministry.
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