Monday, June 20, 2011

Coming soon

My family is here! In SOUTH AFRICA! It is so exciting and wonderful to have them here, and for them to meet my friends and family here. This is them, my mom, dad, and little brother:

It is absolutely fantastic having my parents and my brother here; however, it's not giving me much time for blogging. But do not fret! After Saturday, I'll be blogging till my fingers fall off. So, here's what you can look forward to: Soweto bike tour, Youth Day, lion park, Kruger park (again), lots of thoughts, and Durban!

A bien tot! :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cultural Things

I’m really excited about this post because it’s all cultural stuff! And I haven’t talked about that in a while…

So this past weekend I went to a very South African concert…Johnny Clegg! The family I live with bought tickets to celebrate Glenn (dad) and Nicole’s (daughter) birthdays, and were so gracious to take me along.
The Johnny Clegg concert was such a great experience – such a great South African experience! Johnny Clegg bio, also known as the white Xulu, is a South African singer who in the 1970s and 1980s, began singing and performing with Xulus. In South Africa, the two main black cultures are Xulu and Xhosa. And during apartheid, whites and blacks really did not mix at all. So the fact that this guy started living with, singing with, and performing with black people was a radical thing! He even learned a lot of the Xulu dances. And this is what I got to hear and see this past Saturday.  

It really was such a neat thing to see and hear. Seeing so many different people at the concert (whites and blacks), hearing the songs that talk about apartheid, as well as, such pride in Africa – it was really moving and inspiring. Someone mentioned the other day that Americans love the struggle; they love hearing about apartheid and people who fought and how it came to an end. At first I wanted to be defensive (I think mostly because it was a generalization about Americans), but then I thought about it – yeah, we do like the struggle. That’s why we love talking about, learning about the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the World Wars. And I think it’s a good thing. Learning from history, especially the darker parts and how they turned into the brighter parts, is really important. It’s important to learn, but it’s also important to just be inspired. Inspired so we can do something now, in our time. 
(Note: I've tried to upload videos from the concert so you can hear his music and see the Xulu dances, but I don't think the internet is "strong" enough here. Sigh. I'll keep trying, but in the mean time, you can hear clips here.) 

The last thing I want to say here is that tomorrow is another public holiday! (Surprised, huh?) It’s Youth Day. I’m celebrating by going on a bike tour of Soweto – a very historical part of Johannesburg. Here’s a short blurb about Youth Day. How will you celebrate? ;)

In 1975 protests started in African schools after a directive from the previous Bantu Education Department that Afrikaans had to be used on an equal basis with English as a language of instruction in secondary schools. The issue was the whole system of Bantu education which was characterised by separate schools and universities, poor facilities, overcrowded classrooms and inadequately trained teachers. On 16 June 1976 more than 20 000 pupils from Soweto began a protest march. In the wake of clashes with the police, and the violence that ensued during the next few weeks, approximately 700 hundred people, many of them youths, were killed and property destroyed*.
Youth Day commemorates these events.

Monday, June 13, 2011

It's gonna explode...

Oh gosh. So, I am failing terribly at keeping this up. (I was doing so well too!) I'm going to keep trying, though! I think what I need to do is write my blog entries just in Word or something, so that I only have to be connected to the internet for a minute or two to post them. It's just hard to keep writing when I don't have unlimited, wireless internet. (Definitely one thing I miss about the States and have a newfound gratitude for.)

So, my brief up date for the day is this: 

On Sunday, a teen was baptized! His name is Michael Aguirre and he is in grade 10 (I'm pretty sure). His baptism was/is such an inspiration to the whole church, as he has grown up in the church and has been letting the scriptures change him over the past few months. It really has been amazing to see. (Here's a link to some pictures of Mike's baptism: glorious day)

After church, there was a lunch for all the teen disciples, which was also very encouraging. Even though I was a teenager not that long ago, it is so exciting and inspiring to see high school students decide to follow Christ and take a stand for him. And they/we have their whole life ahead of them to see how God will use them and bless them! 

There are quite a few teens studying the bible in the part of the Joburg Church that I am in, and I am convinced that the ministry is about to explode with baptisms. Pray. 

Joel 2:27-29

New International Version (NIV)

27 Then you will know that I am in Israel, 
   that I am the LORD your God, 
   and that there is no other; 
never again will my people be shamed.

The Day of the LORD
 28 “And afterward, 
   I will pour out my Spirit on all people. 
Your sons and daughters will prophesy, 
   your old men will dream dreams, 
   your young men will see visions. 
29 Even on my servants, both men and women, 
   I will pour out my Spirit in those days.

Monday, June 6, 2011

One by one (including updates)

Hello world!

I am so behind in my blogging that it's not even funny. I promise to catch you up on lots of details very, very soon, but I will quickly post the biggest update.

We had another guy get baptized at UJ! Hennie. He is such a sweetie, and was actually just met by a random invitation to our bible discussion. So now our UJ group is eight! Alicia, Siba, Gordon, Christian, Eduard, Hennie, An, and myself. Here are pictures. =)   (oh, and it was 40 degrees F that night.)

Sharing about Hennie

Presenting the biltong ;) (For those of you who don't know what biltong is, it's basically like beef jerky...Although South Africans would be offended that I compare it to that.)



Now quick, get out!

Hennie and his sister