Unfortunately, I’ve been extremely absent from this blog (and the irony is that in my last post I promised to write soon). For a long time I would tell myself, “But nothing new is happening! What will I tell people?” Although nothing felt new, exciting things are always happening, and change is always happening. Maybe it’s just gradual so I don’t notice it? I don’t have enough space to recount everything, but here are a few points:
- Staff Retreat: At the end of March, One Life staff throughout South Africa (Transkei, Alexandria, and Port Elizabeth) met together at a farm in Prins Albert. The farm was available to us through our partnership with Jabulani Africa Ministries and I had visited there before in 2012 during “Shaking the Tree.” I was so happy to return, and our time spent there was thoroughly refreshing.
- My parents visit: My parents came to South Africa! We spent time in Kruger National park before heading to Cape Town for a few days then driving home to Port Elizabeth on the Garden Route. It was so good to spend time with them and to show them how beautiful South Africa is.
- #RhodesMustFall: While I was not personally involved, this is a massive dialogue and movement in South Africa that began on the University of Cape Town campus. It has further spurred the conversation on the reaches of colonialism and what is necessary for the transformation of South Africa. Apartheid was not only a thing of the past. The very fact that townships exist is proof of this. It was (and is) exciting to be in South Africa during this time.
- Westside Team: About a month ago, an awesome team from Westside in the states came to serve in South Africa and learn more about One Life’s ministry. I was privileged to join the team in Transkei, help lead them in Wells Estate, and rest with them during team braais (BRY; South Africa’s version of a barbeque) and potjies (POY-key; it’s like a dutch oven stew).
- The move: One Life no longer has a PE base (due to rent raises). Because of this, Madi and I are currently living in a room in Humewood (the owner goes to our church). I love Humewood. It’s near campus so many of our college-aged friend live nearby and it’s near the beach (like a block away). I’m so thankful for our new place!
- Term 3: The third school term as started in South Africa. Unfortunately, this will be my last term of the year. I am coming home in October to fundraise for three months before returning to South Africa in January.
A lot of exciting things happen on a daily basis, but to be honest I usually miss them. I’ve said it before: ministry is hard. Working with people is hard. Discouragement comes easily. But yesterday on our way back from Wells Estate, Madi asked me this, “How have you seen God lately?” I have seen God in the way that the kids are changing. I can list child after child whose behavior is completely different from what it was a year ago. Marinda. Luwellyn. Vusumzi. Abongile. Olwethu. Songezo. Yoliswa. Raymond. Anelisa. Sinovuyo. Masixole. Kamva. Aphelele. Onika. And there are more. It’s such a joy to see the change. It’s such joy to see the beautiful people that these children are!
So here are a few pictures of the children I have the privilege of spending time with every day (click on each photo to make it bigger)