Eric Speir

Thrive In Your Faith and Family

100 Lessons I Learned From Africa (quick read)

I recently went on a mission trip to South Africa with some students from the Valor School of Leadership, the ministry college of First Assembly of God. It was the best missions experience I’ve ever had. We were there for two weeks and ministered to more children than I can count. We had the chance to be a part of a Seek and Save team with missionaries, Rudi and Sharon Swanepoel.

Photo by Renee Reimers

Photo by Renee Reimers

I had the opportunity to experience a lot of new things while in South Africa. Some things were similar to America, while others were quite different. Over the course of two weeks I shared ten new lessons every day and this list is simply a compilation of all that I learned and experienced. Some of these are funny, while others are spiritual in nature. I hope it inspires you to go on a mission trip as well! Here they are in random order:

  1. Jet lag is a very real thing.
  2. KFC knows no boundaries. Everyone loves the colonel.
  3. You can literally get a Coke in any nation of the world.
  4. Africa has hipsters too.
  5. The Holy Spirit is moving in Africa.
  6. Driving lanes and speed limits really don’t matter.
  7. Jesus is the same in Africa as he is in America.
  8. It’s a beautiful place with beautiful people.
  9. Toilet paper is known as white gold. Who knew you could make a living selling it outside of bathrooms?
  10. Coffee is its own food group.
  11. Peanut butter is not the same everywhere. Creamy is relative.
  12. Sleep is a luxury on a mission trip.
  13. The phrase, “I’m going to give you a tinkle” means I’m going to give you a call.
  14. The trunk of a car is called the boot.
  15. God does a better job at running things than I do.
  16. Honking the horn does not come from the car! (Google it.)
  17. Coffee goes in quicker through an IV.
  18. The anointing of God changes the atmosphere.
  19. Smiling is understood in every language.
  20. A soccer ball can be used any where to gather a crowd. (We started a game at a mall today.)
  21. Bottled water is essential.
  22. I cry every time I get on a plane to go on a mission trip, not because I’m sad, but because I know where I came from and I recognize how good God has been to me.
  23. Seeing 3250 children come to the Lord in one morning is a good day.
  24. In South Africa when you blow your hooter you’re just using your horn. (Some of you thought I was saying something bad!)
  25. They serve sweet tarts as an an after dinner mint.
  26. The food here is cheaper.
  27. Coffee is good with any meal or for that matter, any time of the day.
  28. A bruised toe feels just like a broke toe.
  29. Seeing poor children who have no shoes say thank you for a book kind of gets to you.
  30. Snakes in Africa can beat up the snakes in Georgia.
  31. Ericus Speircus is native to South Africa and his habitat consists of crocs and the coffee bean.
  32. Flashing your hazard lights at someone while driving means, “thank you.”
  33. Ice cream is the fourth meal of the day.
  34. It’s not uncommon to hear American music playing everywhere.
  35. Cars have the right of way. Pedestrians are just obstacles.
  36. Trees double as billboards.
  37. Poverty has a face.
  38. You can actually dust the dirt off the ground.
  39. A loose chicken is known as fast food.
  40. When you don’t have anything Jesus is all you need.
  41. African killer bees carry a chip on their shoulders.
  42. Jesus takes personal interest in children.
  43. Dust covers everything in Africa. If it doesn’t yet, it will.
  44. Two lane roads are really four lane roads. Shoulders are meant to be driven on.
  45. Potholes are a little big here. They’re still looking for lost cars.
  46. Bartering is acceptable in village markets, but not malls.
  47. Five girls in a van can carry on ten conversations at once without missing a beat.
  48. Gas is sold by the liter and is very expensive. I can’t complain anymore about gas prices in Georgia.
  49. ‘Merica is still the greatest nation in the world.
  50. South Africa has mountains. Georgia has rocks.
  51. I learned that Simba means lion and Mufasa means father.
  52. Getting 18 people in a 10 passenger van is perfectly normal.
  53. In South Africa the teachers can teach the children Christian songs and the children are more well behaved. Imagine that.
  54. A panel beater in Africa is known as a body shop in America.
  55. The cow crossed the road because the grass was greener on the other side.
  56. Coke tastes better here because it’s made from real sugar.
  57. Pretty sure our pictures will be trending on Facebook and Instagram tonight because social media is alive and well in Africa. We are celebrities now.
  58. Africa has a slight mosquito problem. Small children have been carried off.
  59. There’s more building supply stores than there are gas stations.
  60. Coffee is good anytime of the day.
  61. Hand wipes are your friend.
  62. Bricks homes are cheaper to build than wood homes.
  63. We saw 10,700 people come to know Christ in four days! To God be the glory!
  64. Traffic in South Africa is a give and take situation, mostly take. Everyone has the right of way.
  65. Modern African and European toilets have two buttons to flush. One for fluids and the other for a full download.
  66. Ant hills are as big as vans.
  67. The hippo is the #1 man killer in Africa. They’re a little protective of their watering holes.
  68. Bucket List Item : Saw the “Big Five” today at Kruger National Game Park! Boom!!!
  69. Baboons like to eat custard cookies. Who knew?!
  70. Have I mentioned coffee yet…?
  71. When a two-ton elephant steps on your foot it’s a bad day.
  72. Africa has entertainers too.
  73. Taxi drivers are maniacs.
  74. A lot of people in Africa have less, but have far more.
  75. Jesus is the hope of Africa!
  76. Generosity isn’t based on what you have. It’s based on your heart. “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also.”
  77. Elephants really do never forget.
  78. Witch doctors are still a big deal, but greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world!
  79. There are only about 1000 rhinos alive in the world today. We saw two of them this week. The mother was bigger than our van.
  80. Had coffee again today. Surprised?
  81. When packing your suit case for the return trip home nothing ever seems to go back in the way it came.
  82. The presence of crocodiles in the water makes one rethink jumping in any watering hole.
  83. A person using a sleeping bag in the jungle is just a pig in a blanket to a lion. Quite the treat they are.
  84. After watching rugby a few times I can’t say I understand it all. As best as I can tell it, the point of the game is to pummel whoever has the ball until they’re unconscious or until the referee blows the whistle, whichever happens to come first.
  85. Don’t get me started on cricket…
  86. Soccer is a pretty big deal around here.
  87. Where does a three-ton elephant sit? Wherever he wants. If it fits it sits.
  88. I think God was showing off when he made the continent of Africa with all its beauty and all the different kinds of animals. The design and beauty is unreal. Even an atheist would gasp at its splendor.
  89. Every gas station is full service. Attendants are there to pump your gas, wash windshields and check air pressure.
  90. I can’t have a post without mentioning coffee. I’ve only had three cups this morning. I’m down from yesterday’s total. Need to pick up the pace.
  91. Blinkers on cars are known as indicators in South Africa.
  92. Seeing men relieve themselves on the side of the road is normal. Keep moving, nothing to see here.
  93. All measurements are used using the metric system. Still trying to get used to that.
  94. Toll roads in South Africa are just as annoying as they are in America.
  95. Load shedding happens when the power companies cut the power at random times of the day to conserve power for peak times.
  96. The month of May is Fall for them. Everyone wears long sleeves and jackets. Quite the distinction from Georgia weather.
  97. The chocolate is A LOT better here. Americans are deprived.
  98. A fire brand is another name for a fire extinguisher.
  99. What do you call a person in Africa who speaks only one language? An American.
  100. Coffee. What else can I say?!

I hope you enjoyed this list. Even more, I hope it inspires you to go and change someone’s world today!

About Eric

I'm a pastor, writer and serial encourager. I like to help people to grow in their relationship with God. I live outside of Atlanta, GA. I've written a book, Stubborn Faith: 30 Day Devotional Guide For New Growth. It's available for download on Amazon. Feel free to follow me on Twitter at @ericspeir

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One Reply

  1. ML Cox

    …#39 __ “fast food”!!!!

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