Saturday, February 12, 2011


Well, this is a lovely suprise...

I unexpectedly ended up spending the night at the Renton's house (the couple who lead the church I am interning for here in Joburg), which means I get to use internet! It's amazing how exciting things that were so commonplace in the states can be now.

So, it happened: I had my first meltdown. It wasn't quite as dramatic as a meltdown really sounds, but it was a build up of emotion and then a flood of tears. Friday night, we had a campus devo and braai (an African bbq)...and it was great. It really was. But it was one of those moments, like my first Sunday service here or the baby shower that I attended last weekend, that remind me that this is not home. At least not yet. I feel like I have to shout at the top of my lungs that I completely want to be here, and that the people have already captured my heart, and that I really do like the city of Johannesburg. I don't want anyone to think that because I had a meltdown, that those things aren't true. It's just times like these that I'm grateful for the promises of God.

Mark 10:29-31 - "I tell you the truth,' Jesus replied, 'no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields-and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life."

Now on to updates about my life here...

The first thing I HAVE to talk about is my driving. In case you didn't see my last post, I am driving on the LEFT side of the road. It was absolutely terrifying when I first started and my car is slightly tempermental, which took some getting used to, but now...I am driving by myself most places! And I don't accidently turn into the wrong lane anymore! (Only did it twice...thank the Lord that there were no cars in those lanes.)

This is my charming car. I named her Nala.

It continues to amaze me how open people are here to studying the bible. At UJ's bible talk this week, we had 37 visitors - most of them different from last week. This week, I had girls coming up to me asking, "Can we please get together tomorrow [to study the bible]?" I truly feel like an ambassador of Christ.

Today (Saturday), I went to "Kids Club". This is a section of an area that is full of people living in shacks; complete shantytowns. Every Saturday morning, from roughly 9am to 1pm, over 200 kids come to this...area (that is really all it is...a fenced off area with trailers, kiddie tables, a few computers, and nowhere near enough coloring books or frisbees) play, to wait, to sit. Most of them get dropped off while their parents go to the store or just try and get things done. There are so many kids; and from ages two to 15. I don't have pictures because the guy who runs it doesn't want the kids being exploited, since it has happened before. I truly respect that and agree with it; especially coming from a country that floods the news with "starving children in Africa", but really, is desenitzing us to it. Hopefully as I spend more time there, I can earn enough trust to take some pictures, because it is apart of my life now.
I played frisbee with some boys for a little bit, colored with other kids for some time, but mostly sat with two twin, toddler girls who didn't speak; but, just sucked on their green lollipops and clung to my legs. The less stimulation and attention babies and young children get, the less they develop (obviously); but it was so sad to see it, for real. Some of the kids were energetic and super chatty, but so many just sat there and never said anything. Granted, for most, there probably is a language barrier; but so many of them just had a sort of blank look on their face. Yes, it is what we see in the media (and maybe I'm about to contradict myself here) but it is so real. I can drive twenty minutes from these shantytowns in one part of Johannesburg, to 6 bedroom houses in another part. It's unbelievable. I am quite confident that at this point, my thoughts are coming out as complete rambles - between recovering from missing home and family and friends, seeing what I saw today, and accounting for the fact that I should be asleep - I know that I am still processing everything around me.

I've been reading the gospel of Luke, and was recently reading the passage in chapter five where Jesus heals a paralytic. I've always had a hard time understanding why Jesus first forgives the man's sins and then heals him; as well as, why he asks the Pharisees, "Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'?" I don't know! I can't do either! But I think I realized this week, that Jesus forgave the man's sins first, because he was (and God is), above all, concerned for our salvation. God wants all men to be saved. (1 Timothy 2:4) And it is better for us to enter heaven maimed, then hell perfectly intact. Jesus healed people. He, undoubtedly, came to serve and to heal. But most of all, he came to save; so that we would have something worth holding onto, far past this life. 

I know this posting was probably a little more serious than others, so to lighten the mood, I will end with this:

I am so not a Justin Bieber fan. (I just had to look up how to spell Bieber.) I am so far from Bieber fever; but, as I'm sitting at the Renton's computer and looked through their iTunes for something to listen to, I discovered the J. Bieb song "Pray". I don't know if everyone knows about this song and I am just discovering it because I am not a Bieber fan, or because it's hard to keep up with pop culture here in SA. And although I still think he is ridiculous and corny, this song chipped off some ice on my heart for him. The music video is kind of moving, I'll admit; but most importantly, it was a reminder for me to pray. To quote a good friend, to pray like our lives depend on it. The images that are in the music video are things I'm seeing here in South Africa. And as I study the bible with people, I've never been more sure that people are lost and hurting and need God. And the most powerful thing I can do - even beyond moving to a new country or donating clothes and food - is, pray. So, go on, get a little Biever fever. ;)


1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your life and your thoughts with us.
    I am touched and encouraged by you sincere love for those who are hurting.
    You are very well versed too, but no wonder you have great exemples at home.
    I will keep you in my prayers and look forward to many more posts.
    A bientot.
    With much love,


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