Well, we’ve finally arrived and I’m not sure what it is, but my heart is so light. As I breathed in the cool South African breeze the air felt so pure as it filled my lungs. It was as if everything that tried coming against me, every hurt, every attack, every stressed filled day…made this moment worth it.
Today, August 28th after 36 hours of travel, we landed and met up with our missionary family Hein and Helene. They are so incredible and just a blessing. After going to orientation and going to the retreat center to drop off our things, Hein and Helene picked us up in “Billiam,” the van and we were treated us to our first African coffee at a local coffee shop in the mall.
I had the opportunity to sit next to them and ask them about why they became missionaries and about the South African culture…and it’s just incredible. This culture is very relational and is so purposeful in showing the value of others that surround you. It’s more than just giving a sense of respect as this culture wants to give meaning back to the person, to make them human, and goes beyond a simple “Hey, how are you,” to which we respond would normally respond, “good,” or “I’m staying busy.”
In Zulu, they say Zavuborna (not correct spelling), which means
“I call you into existence.”
It’s as if you are bringing life back to their soul. Going above and beyond just checking them off your checklist and recognizing them as an individual. You’re making them human once again and showing them in your eyes, they have meaning.
In the Masan culture, when you ask someone how are you, if it’s before sunset they will say unwell and if it’s after sunset, only then will they tell you how they actually are.
Because they want to see If you really care, and if you really do care about them, you will stay with them until sunset.
I think Hein and Helene said it best today when they explained that this culture just craves human connection. Greeting someone isn’t just a simple or quick hello and goodbye, but a greeting here can actually take up to 3 hours because of how they value that connection and support for one another.
It just reminds me how powerful a smile can be. How a pure form of laughter is good for the soul even in the lowest moments of life, and how important it is to choose joy even in the midst of darkness. Hein said it best when he said, “Christianity isn’t just a religion…it’s a person. We serve a relational God, and the more we seek after him, the more we build upon that relationship, and fall into the calling He has for us, the more we get to know Him, who He is to us, and how He wants us to treat His people.”
So…I choose joy. I choose to take the time to listen more and speak less. To take the time and listen to their story so that the people in my life and all around not only feel heard, but they are given back their meaning as I call them to existence once again. May I be willing to stay until sunset, put myself aside, and build long lasting relationships that will be impactful.
Our God is one good God. He didn’t make us to be alone. He built us for one another and we are stronger together a smile, one laugh, and one joy filled conversation at a time.
Here’s to one grand adventure,