Pastor Themba Mkhabela (Pronounced Temba Mah-ka-bella) is a lovely houseguest. He is delightful and low maintenance. We would be delighted to host him at any time in the future and for a longer time. So, if you get the opportunity when he returns in 2 years, don’t hold back from worry that he will be a lot of work. While he was here he helped with all sorts of tasks (even cleaning the chicken poo off the deck before the dessert), took hour long power walks each morning about 6:30 AM, made his own coffee, and was totally independent enough to get in the fridge to find his own late evening snacks.
The Pastor enjoyed his time with the people of Macksburg very much. We had 20 people attend the dessert on Tuesday where Pastor talked informally to those present about his work for ELCA. There were lots of wonderful desserts (way too many as usual) but some were saved here at our house and Pastor Themba enjoyed them for many days. I found he was especially fond of cake with Jim’s homemade ice cream. I want to give a special shout out to Shea Grassl who came over and set up and washed tables on Tuesday making getting ready so much easier. He is a great kid.
The Women’s group was small this week, only 6 people, but they were treated to a slide presentation showing some of the projects that Pastor Themba monitors for the ELCA in Madagascar and Africa. It was enjoyed by those there and Pastor and Sam returned from the luncheon raving about what a great lunch they enjoyed.
Wednesday night 8 people enjoyed snacks at Gwynn’s Coffeehouse in Canby and enjoyed visiting with Pastor Themba about his work.
On Wednesday, Pastor Themba shared that he had never had the opportunity to really enjoy the Oregon Coast, even though he does connect with a Church in North Bend. The route he went last time took him along the Umpqua River and to Coos Bay, and was lovely, but he did not get time at the ocean. So, Thursday morning we got, up, made sandwiches and packed up fruit and snacks and took a trip to the coast. We traveled through the wine country and connected with highway 18 S. of McMinnville. Once at the coast we made stops at the D River Wayside, Siletz Bay in Taft, Fogerty Creek, Rocky Creek Viewpoint for our lunch, Yaquina Head tide pools and lighthouse, and then stopped for some clam chowder south of Newport so he could enjoy the Yaquina Bay Bridge. We then headed back to Canby via Corvallis and up 99, then across the Wheatland Ferry and back in time for a bit a cleanup before his evening presentation. We collected rocks and shells to make gifts for his wife and children and had a lovely time.
Thursday evening, he spoke to 13 humans (including Rebecca’s 2 darling children) at Belle Vita Pizzaria in Molalla. The manager at the restaurant was very kind and helped us find a pot to set Pastor’s laptop on so the group was able to view the slideshow. It was gratifying to see that the 5% of our church collection funds sent to missions are being used for such wonderful work. We were very excited to hear that the church in this region could use another 400 pastors if they had them trained because the church is growing so quickly there. Pastor Themba explained that while here people go to church and are anxious to get home, in Madagascar and Africa the church is becoming the heart of the community. Folks attend church for over 3 hours each Sunday, pray up a storm, sing, dance, and eat together. As such, it is the place to be to find out what is happening. I could tell many of us wished our churches here were so vibrant and growing. It was a very interesting & informative evening.
On Friday morning Pastor Themba rose at 6:30, took his hour walk, drank his coffee, packed his bags, had a small snack, and then headed off with Suesan and Sherri at 10:00 for the Dalles to meet the Pastor from the Pendleton Church where Pastor Themba will be spending the weekend. We know he enjoyed getting to spend time with many of you, he feels very honored to be able to take back stories about real brothers and sisters in Christ to his countries and share about their kindness and love. I only wish everyone had had the opportunity to spend a little time with him. He will be back in two years about this same time. Keep that in mind.
With Love and Joy,