A message from CSO missionary worker Nico van Rensburg.

Black ore falls spectacularly into the dark depths of the ship. The wide open trap of the ship hungrily slurps up the tonnes and tonnes manganese. Hour upon hour, load upon load, the hunger is stilled gradually. The bow of the ship lies low in the water. Eventually the hunger is stilled and the heavy trap closes with deep groans and moans. It protects the load from water and light. The load is sealed and locked for the trip to China. 

A message from CSO missionary worker Loffie Schoeman.

The angry chaos emphasises contrasts. The lexicon of the heart and the Covid-19 dictionaries can hardly be more different. The virus dictionary dictates words such as anxiousness, fear, darkness and distance... especially distance. The language of the heart dictates, in contrast, words like light, closeness, intimacy. These differ radically.  

But, it seems as if the dark storm clouds allow a light to shine on the heart. It seems to create a causal link between darkness and light, between distance and closeness. It looks as if the one accentuates the other. These remain constant factors, two sides...  

The man sitting in front of Loffie experiences these all at once. Distance. Closeness. Anger. Peace. Sorrow. Joy. Sitting on deck, it is impossible to comfort him. Words fail. Words cannot heal the brokenness. How do you comfort someone who cannot be comforted? No words could ever bring back his father. No words could bridge the gap to reach his family, also heartbroken, but on the other side of the world. They did not merely bury a father, grandfather and husband. They are acutely aware of the empty chair and bed of a son and father, the man working at sea.  

It is as if the distance creates an awareness of the close ties to those you love. It is as if the darkness of the situation made them realise the concept of light again. It is as if the evil and fear in our world created a new awareness of the intensity of the language of our hearts. In good times we live causally with our hearts. We even neglect our hearts. But, in darker times, the light is the most visible, the most intense.  

Against the background of a father that died and him sitting thousands of kilometres from his family, because of a virus, this man that works at sea discovers again just how much one can love, how intensely one can care. He rediscovers the depths of the heart.  

But, he also discovers this: Against the dark there is a voice that gives hope, clearly. Against the background of distance, fear and anxiousness, the voice is clear. When Loffie shares this with him, it becomes more than mere words. It is tangible, present, real...

Be still and know, I am the Lord. 
Be still and know, I Am.
Be still and know. 
Be still.
Be.

 

A message from CSO missionary worker Chris Viljoen.