Word to Durban, South Africa (October)
Published on October 15, 2012
I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned about God and how He works in the context of mission work is that things rarely go the way you want them to. The funny part is that, that actually is not a bad thing.
As part of engaging the culture and getting to know people here, I decided with a small group of friends to start an “Open Mic” session that would gather talent in Durban once a month for the purpose of simply performing. I got the idea from a friend who was having huge success with it at a college in Michigan. The last two “Open Mics” were extremely successful in terms of numbers. We had about 15 completely random people show up to the first one and it was a blast. What made it amazing was word of mouth was the only form of advertising we used. The second time around was even better, the attendance doubled and the performances were incredible.
Needless to say, I was beginning to expect this trend to continue just as I had planned. Last week was the third “Open Mic”. Our group got the room set up the way we normally do, big screen, big speakers and all. The mic typically dropped at 7:30 and it was now 7:45 and there were a total of 5 of us. Basically on 3 people showed up. Not what I was expecting.
In my mind this seemed to be a momentum killer but as the evening began to unfold, it became apparent that God had other plans…and they were way better than mine. After a couple more minutes about 3 more people showed up. Instead of sitting around, one of the leaders in the group got up and got things started. We were accustomed to mainly having hip-hop performers show up, but this time it was all poets.
One by one people got up and started blazing slam poetry. The smallness of the size of the group provided an intimacy that added a whole new dimension to the session. At the end of the performances, we all got together in a small circle and I was able to cast vision in a way that wouldn’t have been possible to do in large setting. That evening I challenged the group to consider taking their gift to the streets and to use it in a way that would bring hope to people.
It always blows my mind the way God works and being on mission continues to teach and grow me in many ways. The cool part about that evening and Open Mic is that this is just the beginning…