As we have transitioned from our last community to our next, it has been difficult to find time to sit down and write it all out and process all that has happened within the last couple of weeks. From having a goodbye dinner with the staff at Zwartkloof with traditional Afrikaans dishes, to seeing the elephants, packing up our lives once again to move communities, and getting back to Hein and Heliene’s for a single night to only pack and get ready to move to our host families and then dive straight into a week of serving…I’ll be honest I am exhausted in more ways than once…but God.
God never promised simple or easy, but He promised possible and He stands true on His promise. My teammate Lisa and I were matched with the Conradie family. My host father’s name is Alwyn, host mom’s name is Almarie, and host sister Arné. They have two other kids Stefan and Jannica, who are at university all the way in Cape Town, but this small family is my perfect match. I can honestly say when I thought about living with a family that I had never met before, they had no context of who I was, and I knew absolutely nothing about them, I had every reason to be nervous or scared, like this is it…this is when I am going to disappear, my life is over. I am going to be stuck in South Africa forever and will never see my family again….I am also seriously kidding as I just wanted to be dramatic for absolutely no reason. I do know that this is something that many of my friends and family back home have probably thought or wondered as this trip has had so many unknowns, I am in a country that is very far away from home, and I have no clue what each day is going to hold. It’s a beautiful wonderful mystery all in one and I am telling you the truth when I say that this family that I have been paired with…I am not only safe with them, but they are my perfect match.
Almarie is a proud Breast Cancer survivor and my first night in the home, we shared our stories. Her journey from diagnosis to remission and my journey with my beautiful Momma from diagnosis to now carrying on her legacy. Arné, is a spicy 23 year old who has an incredible love for life and the people around her. We have found it hilarious as we are both walking a very and I mean VERY similar seasons of life as she is transitioning into a kids position at Church Without Walls and she will also be starting some new adventures of her own as she follows the calling that God has on her life. Then there’s Alwyn, my host dad who is very wise and is helping me polish my Afrikaans. I’ll be honest this language is hard to keep up with, but then again my English iterations of their language completely destroys this beautiful language.
Within these past two weeks as we have entered our new community, we have partnered along Pastor Steven and his church __. From making bread for the soup kitchen, to painting the shipping container that is their new storage unit, unpacking and moving freezers just to plug them in and pack them again, painting the shed, staining the wooden poles, to painting a fence link by link…it was a lot. Such simple tasks, yet when you see the look on Pastor Steven’s face as we served, the look on the people’s faces that were receiving the bread and meals that were made, it made it all worth it and showed the purpose behind each task.
Throughout these last two weeks, we have been going nonstop, but then there were moments that stopped me dead in my tracks. Moments like sitting down and getting to know a mother names Bella whose husband left her and her 10 year old son. Wanting to go back to back to Namibia where her life was once normal and not as broken as it was now as she doesn’t really trust people and you can sense the brokenness that was left behind. Sharing my testimony at a Young Adult group at Church Without Walls and meeting Korné who has had a great deal of loss in her life because of cancer, her father not wanting her or to be in her life, being passed from home to home and looking to God and wondering why he is so unfair. Serving with Kairos and Blessed Hands ministries which sells donated clothing to give a sense of humanity back to those who shop there, provides meals for the community every Friday, wraps gift boxes to fill for children as Christmas quickly approaches, and especially getting to know two sweet little boys Levi who is 1 and Landon who is 4 and their parents Abigail and John. Levi, from the outside looks like a lively, energetic, normal little boy, but medically has many issues that one day will keep him from playing sports and the things that he loves to do along side his older brother.
I can go on for pages about every moment and every conversation this week has held…but in reality God knows it all. In the scheme of life…we tend to live our lives always making sure the bills are paid, food is on the table, planning ahead, planning for our future, chasing after bigger and better, and living for a lot of things that I am going to be honest…its just temporary. As I took a moment to sit back and observe those around me, especially those that we were serving meals to…they weren’t people of poverty. Yes, they may lack material things and the finances to “live a better life,” but they weren’t poor. It was the way they laughed with one another, the way they shared stories as they ate, hugged one another, the kids ran around and played with one another, it was if they didn’t know about the “other side,” of life because that was their community. These were the people they did life with and this ministry, Blessed Hands, was their home and their meeting place. A place where they always know they can come get help, find resources, or a good meal…and this ministry isn’t anything big or great.
It’s a wonderful older lady named Esther and her husband who is on pension and has been running this ministry out of her home for 31 years….YEAH! 31 YEARS! Pastor Steven’s church sends them part of their fresh baked bread to help with their meals and Hester takes all the money from her little store, divides it up and sends it back out to other ministries who need it including Pastor Steven and Kairos. Each ministry unofficially connected but united as one to make a difference throughout their community and essentially…making a difference in South Africa.
I am not going to lie as this has been one of my hardest weeks yet. I have cried, I have wondered why, I have mountain top moments and deep valleys…but then I remember these moments. The moments as Pa (Hein) would say make all the difference because with each new day with each new moment, we have the power to change history. To change the future and give hope to those who have none and it is because of these ministries these history changing moments are possible.
My future will always be there…but my present is temporary and these moments are but a vapor.
As it says in James 4:14, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—its here for a little while then it’s gone.”
I may not see it all now. I may not see the bigger picture that God is painting and the plan He has for my life, but I don’t want to waste a single moment worrying over what could possibly be or what may never be. Trust me when I say God and I have been having some serious conversations lately, but in His timing it will all be made known. My focus and call right now…to love those around me and in front of me the best that I can while I can and do it to the best of my abilities with all that I am. To plant a seed even if it is a mustard seed because one day, God will grow what has been planted, history will be changed, a moment will be cherished, and His glory will reap the harvest …and that my friends…that will be enough.
Until the Next Adventure,