We're Here!!

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?


Ria Thurston said...

CLAIRE! LOVE THIS UPDATE! SO GLAD YOU ARE THERE :) I am sure everything is hard to adjust too, but I love that you recognize that it's the Lord's grace that you are doing so well. I am encouraged by that! Know that your "blog fam" loves you guys and we are praying for you! If you think of anything you need just let us know, okay?? Blessings to you!

KB said...

Glad you all made it safe!
I am praying for you and all those little things that can make you miss home and be anxious. It's an amazing thing you guys are doing and I'm glad to have found you in blogger world!

Tori said...

So glad to hear you had a safe trip Claire! You and your family and ministry will be in my prayers from now on. I hope you get to help the young mothers in the way your heart desires! That's so awesome! Enjoy it!

Tori (aka GeekWife) :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Claire! So good to read your update and know that your family has made it to SA safely... I can tell you are in for quite an adventure! Prayers for you and your family...

That part where you said you are having a hard time finding your place. . . Although I don't have children of my own I am learning to take care of my siblings and the home and I feel like a mommy everyday. Some days I find myself wondering if I am missing out on something outside these walls, but the Lord has encouraged me through it and shown me the truth. When I read your post this poem came to my mind:

Isn’t There a Noble Task?
“There seems to be so little that I can do for Thee,
Isn’t there a noble task that You would have for me? 
Something that the world may know I’m busy for my King;
Beside the dull and daily tasks that every new day brings?
For how can stacks of dishes and piles of dirty clothes,
Tackled and completed, ever tell Christ rose?
Or stories, mud and band-aids; read, cleaned up, applied,
Tell the world of Jesus, my Saviour, crucified?”
“Oh, busy, busy mother, your task is very great.
I’ve given you eternal souls to teach and educate.
Not in worldly wisdom, in fame or honor grand,
But how to love and serve My cause, and seek that better land.
For as you tackle homey tasks with children by your side,
You have the greatest privilege, within their hearts to hide
Bits of goodly treasures from My Holy Word,
Which many mighty men of faith first from their mothers heard.
Oh, busy, busy mother, I need you where you are.
Your task at hand is very great, you need not travel far.
Oh love and teach these little souls, and help them grow to be 
Steadfast within the simple faith, to be of use to Me.”
-from Heart Throbs of Motherhood by Miriam Druist



Jess said...

Sorry in advance for being long winded.

Hi Sweetheart! I have been following your family blog and love hearing about how you all are getting acclimated to Cape Town and starting in the ministry. When I was a teenager in yg, the leader's wife Michelle, was not around at yg mtgs or alot of big events. She like yourself, had 2 small kids. However she cooked big spreads for all of us at bible study and counseled all us girls and met with us over tea and goodies. She served us as well as her husband and showed us what a Christian wife and marriage looked like and how a family served together. I didn't have Christian parents or as you know a good upbringing, but Sean and Michelle showed me what a ministry serving family is. Michelle had me involved with the kids and gave me hope that I can have that too one day and I am so gratful to her for that. She helped lead me to the Lord and taught me to pray. One day I hope to raise my family the way she is continuing to raise hers.

You may not get to do the hands on work with Bryan right now, but I know you will have a HUGE impact serving alongside him in other ways that these young women will notice. You will help them grow in Christ. Your example of a young Christan mother is going to be something they want to aspire to. You have had a huge impact in my life, and I was one of your your group leaders and I aspire to be more like you and Leigh. God is using you to do great things over there and no part is ever small for Him.

Love you and praying for you, Bryan, Peyton, and the growing little one.