Here we are in South Africa. Well, we’ve actually been here for 11 days now, but neither time nor internet have been freely available.
Thank you all so much for your prayers and notes of encouragement. There are so many adjustments and changes that those small wishes from home mean the world.
First and foremost, it’s surreal to be here. Each morning I wake up and I can’t believe that we’re actually here! With all the confusion over the visas, the pregnancy, support and all the small details, we weren’t sure if we would actually make it. To be here is truly a testimony of God’s grace.
There are so many things to adjust to, from grocery shopping to how we use electricity, nothing seems to be the same as in the States. At times it’s exciting, and at other times it’s just downright frustrating! But I know that in time we’ll get into the swing of things and we’ll learn our way for the most part.
We have had two meetings with Africa Jam so far, and were able to spend some time with the kids yesterday. It’s exciting to see the impact that Africa Jam is making in the communities here, and it’s also exciting to think that we get to be a part of that impact.
Before even leaving for South Africa, I felt the desire to help young mothers in this community heavy on my heart. I had been waiting for the right moment to mention that burden to Africa Jam leaders, and to ask them if they see a place for that. Well, in our first meeting, within the first 15 minutes the leader said outright that there is a distinct gap when it comes to unwed mothers and they have a real need for someone to baton that program. Leigh and I IMMEDIATELY volunteered. We are so excited about starting a group for these young women, where they can find support and also valuable teaching on their pregnancies and soon to come new responsibility! There is also a need for someone to come alongside the fathers of these babies and mentor them. Bryan & Andy feel a calling to fill that role as well. In this type of community, when a young girl falls pregnant, she is cast out and is considered to have brought shame upon herself and her family. There is little support for her. Leigh and I envision having a weekly or even twice weekly support group where these girls can come and share their hearts. Leigh and I hope to be a testimony to them of godly mothering (help us be that, Lord!).
I have been struggling to find my place here, because I feel as though I just don’t have much time to devote to ministry. Peyton is truly a full time responsibility and now with our second little one due to come in December, I feel as though I will have even less time. I’ve struggled with the thought that I don’t belong here and can’t be useful here. But I realized last night that even if the only thing I do here is that group with the young mothers, than I have been useful. I will continue, of course, to foremost be a mother to Peyton and to this new little one growing within me. But I am here enabling my husband to work in full time ministry, and for me to do the little ministry I can. I had such a freeing moment last night when I realized, that no one expects me to be doing 40 hours of ministry a week in addition to raising a godly daughter and being pregnant!!! My first obvious calling is to be a godly wife and mother. The rest will come.
I have a vision to bring one of these young girls into my home and to let her give birth here (well, in a hospital, but to spend the time before her delivery and her recovery time here) I think it would be such a great impartation of blessing on a girl’s life if I could be here for her during that time. To be able to serve her meals as she adjusts to the new role of mothering. To be able to take her baby when she desperately needs rest. I’m not sure exactly how that will look especially with my own delivery coming in 6 months, but I know that if this is truly a vision from the Lord He will make it possible.
There is so much still to learn and still to discover here. But for now we’re taking it a day at a time.
I have to confess that I have felt quite a bit of homesickness already. It’s hard not to pine for Super Walmart when you’re standing in a grocery store where you don’t know any of the brands, and you can’t figure out the exchange rate to tell if you’re getting a good deal! And it’s hard not to think of my family back home, and not to miss them terribly. It’s hard to NEVER hear an American accent past your own teammates. It’s hard when every piece of food you bite into tastes nothing like home. But God has been gracious and He is helping me each step of the way.
Thank you again for all your prayers.
I’ll update again soon
Oh, and just the way internet is here (pay as you go), I’m not sure when I’ll be able to post pictures… so bear with me, k?