Thursday, January 17, 2008

Team meetings

Once a month we pack up and head to Durban for a team meeting. This involves leaving the house before 7am, traveling about 2 hours and spending a whole day in meetings and fellowship. It is a day we all look forward to, but also a day that wears us out! The girls look forward to taking a nap in their tent. We pitch the tent in a quiet corner and try to make nap time something special. So far, so good!
The first hour of a team meeting holds a devotional, ministry and personal updates from everybody and small group prayer time. We love catching up with everybody since we are all involved in different ministries and different areas. After "tea time", we get down to business; hearing reports from committees and discussing new items. A short team meeting ends about 1pm and we all head off in our own direction. We usually take advantage of being in Durban and catch up on shopping that can only be done in the big city.
Every other month is a long team meeting. We have a carry-in meal and after lunch split up into our committees to work on assigned tasks. Kyle and I are part of the Resource Committee and have been enjoying "learning the ropes". One of the ladies in the committee is leaving on furlough in May, so I will be taking over her job. She manages the communication and details of all the visiting short-term missionaries and ministry teams from colleges and from ABWE. I'm slowly learning all the is involved in this :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Load Shedding . . .

Or a creative way to say, "We're cutting off your electricity!"
We've been enjoying hitting the hottest part of the day and then hearing that little click, the click that means your fans are no longer going to keep you semi-cool! Or, just getting ready to cook a meal, or do laundry . . . .What a great way to practice being content and not complaining. Nobody knows for how long this will go on, but so far we've been blessed with a cool-off towards evening and a light breeze! The picture is of us eating sandwiches . . . we've ate a lot of sandwiches over the last couple weeks :)
A prayer request is for South Africa in general. As the load shedding continues, businesses suffer and the Rand weakens. People are nervous about the economy and worried about future industry. It reflects in everyday conversation!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


It is about a two hour drive, south and a little inland. Kyle and I went to visit a large mission base that ministers primarily to the Zulu and has some HIV/Aids ministries. We wanted a chance to practice our Zulu and also ask a lot of questions concerning their hospice house. What is amazing is that all the sudden during the drive you find yourself surrounded by beautiful mountains. The country side was absolutely stunning!
We had a wonderful time and learned a ton. I sat down in the hospice house Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. We stumbled along in broken Zulu and simple English, but could usually get our points across. I even had the chance to address the group of patients explaining why I was there and what we are up to (in Zulu non the less!).
One unexpected trial was the cold . . . and a lot of you know just how much I hate being cold! Because of being in the mountains, it was terribly colder than Richards Bay. Neither Kyle nor I came dressed properly . . . and we froze! Even Kyle slept in his jacket:) We'll know next time.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Being the odd duck out

It's funny, sometimes it is the little things that make you miss home and sometimes it can be those same little things that bring you laughter and make you feel accepted and loved.
Second to our goofy accent, our eating habits really make us stand out :) It is not just the foods we like, but actually the way we consume our foods; the way we use our knife and fork. South Africans find it baffling that we use the side of our fork to try to cut our food and then "stab the food as if it is not already dead", as our Pastor so beautifully put it. They on the other hand hold their fork in the left hand and the knife in the right. These utensils never get sat down during the meal and you usually push your food with the knife onto the BACK of the fork. I'm not quite talented enough to manage that yet.
Just the other day, I was out to lunch with a young lady. We both ordered wrap sandwiches. I start by picking mine up with my fingers and she starts by cutting her wrap up in pieces and eating it with a knife and fork. We laughed about the differences, but at the end of the conversation she still felt that the way I ate was weird and I felt culturally "different".
Yet today, we had a South African Transworld Radio missionary family to Swaziland over for dinner. (Their son went to Bible School with Lily.) They've been around Americans for years and we had a wonderful laugh about the differences and funny habits. At the end of that conversation, I felt understood by them and embraced. Talking about our differences was a great way to open conversation and get to know them.
There will probably always be times when I feel like I just don't fit in, but I'll sure cherish those times when, even in spite of my eating habits, we are accepted!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Out on the town

For Christmas, Lily gave Kyle and I gift certificate to head out on a date. I included this picture because this is us getting ALL dressed up. That's is about the extent of it here in South Africa. For church Kyle wears pants and when we are out in the townships I don't show my shoulders or wear shorts.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Thank you to all who were praying for our first Christmas here in South Africa. God provided so much joy.
We started our morning with a church service at 8am. This was an incredible time of reflecting on God's gift in Christ and focusing our hearts for the celebration of the day. Then we went home to start cooking for the lunch meal. We joined Henry and Shirley (our pastor) and their two sons for the afternoon. Ate gammon, leg of lamb and salad with fresh pineapple. Kyle tossed a rugby ball around, the girls swam in a little pool, played a little croquet and laughed a ton!
The Sunday night before New Years we had church braai and worship meeting at Henry and Shirley's home. Kyle and I provided the pudding (dessert). We brought stuff to make smores. It was so much fun to teach them all and hear things like, "we've never had anything like this before!, It's like a sandwich., It is good?" After we were all high with our sugar buzz, Henry lead us in a time of reflection over the past year and all that God has supplied. Grant and I led music and we closed the evening in prayer for the next year.
New Years eve was quite uneventful . . until midnight! Fireworks went off everywhere (there are not really any restrictions or laws), people were screaming and it went on until about 2:30am! We were a little tired the next morning.