Good day. It is our third full day in South Africa as I sit to write this post. I feel like I am in some alternate reality of the US. There are things here that seem so familiar yet different.
To recount the past week in just a few words maybe hard.
I woke last Tuesday morning with butterflies in my stomach and tears in my eyes before the alarm. I had had several restless nights and the only place to turn was the Lord. My devotional for the day was titled All Efforts of Worth and Excellence Are Difficult and lead me to Matthew 7:13-14 and Philippians 2:1-18. It reminded me to “thank God that He does give us difficult things to do! His salvation is a joyous thing, but it is also something that requires bravery, courage, and holiness. It tests us for all we are worth.” God knew I needed courage. It was a tearful ride as we left TN my home for the past 15 years. Texts and messages reminded of so many who loved us and were praying for us. Thank you!!!
We arrived at AIM headquarters where there was organized chaos for two days. We had many meetings of last minute items on our checkout list. It was like starting a new job with typical signing of papers for insurance, health, W2, banking, etc. There were 8 families also checking out with us. It was great to hear their stories of how God had been faithful to bring them to this point in their journey to Africa. It was exciting to hear what God had lead them each to do. We shared a farewell lunch with family which reminded us that we are a part of a greater story, God’s story and ended with more tears and long hugs.
Thursday morning had arrived: THE BIG DAY. I woke somewhat rested with our last goodbye to Jeremy’s dad. We had our last meetings and loaded the U-Haul truck with everyone’s luggage. The number of pieces ranged from us with the least amount with 6 pieces to some of the families with 28 pieces not including carry-ons. We all climbed into the van for the trip to the airport. I rushed to send some last texts before Jeremy called to cancel our account. Check-in at the airport took 3 hours. We said our goodbyes to our newest friends with see you in Africa sometime because they were all headed to Kenya and we were heading to South Africa. We were alone just the two of us. I read one last email from a dear friend which brought peace to my heart knowing we had been called and He had chosen this work for us. Then, the moment came which we were no longer able to communicate with friends and family and boarded our plane for a 15 hour flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
The flight was uneventful with little sleep and a couple movies. Yet, we opened the plane window Friday morning to our first look down onto the country of Namibia. WOW!!! Lots of sand, huge dunes, dry rivers, and very little vegetation. I asked God how did He expected me to farm in this land? For two hours, we looked out the window in amazement at the landscape below us. Then Johannesburg appeared, a huge city. We made it through the visa check point fine, found our luggage, made it through customs with no stops, and found the gentleman picking us up.
Then our orientation to Africa began right away with a stop at the ATM to see if our card worked and takeout dinner at Spurs for an authentic South African burger, fries, and a coke. We were then taken to our flat (apartment) to settle in for the evening by eating our dinner (which was very good), enjoying a warm shower and searching for some much needed sleep.
Through the night we rested on and off, only to find the sun rising Saturday morning. Our orientation continued with a trip to the grocery store for a few items and trying our debit card. So many choices, unfamiliar product labels, and buying each plastic bags used at checkout. By the end our guide, Elaine, was confident we could do it by ourselves next time. Home for a lunch of peanut butter sandwiches and an orange. Our afternoon trip was to the mall to purchase a phone using our passport and plane ticket with our credit card. This is where we really felt like we were in an alternate reality. The mall is very modern, so many stores, food court, movie theatre… the only thing different really were the store names, the currency being used, and the accents of the people. Two very nice ladies walked us through purchasing a new phone. The day had been a success ending with our first homemade spaghetti dinner.
Another night of on and off sleep, as our bodies adjust to the time change. Sunday we went to church to find ourselves in a familiar setting with drums, guitars, and keyboard worshiping God with songs we knew. Only thing different really were the accents. We were introduced to many people and found one couple actually from GA who had attended Georgia Southern. It truly is a small world. We enjoyed lunch and playing a little futbol (soccer) at a fellow AIMer’s home. Home for the usual Sunday afternoon nap with hopes it would help reset my body.
Last night was a better night of sleep but still adjusting. This morning we find ourselves at the Southern Region office with requests for the next couple of weeks to better communications and better use of the office items with a DIY project.
We truly know that God has gone before us to make our path straight. All and all we are adjusting well considering it has only been 3 days. One of the biggest thing to get used to is traveling on the left hand side of the road. We are glad we don’t have to drive yet. We are well with no upset stomachs or intestines. We can drink out of the tap here and can enjoy salads and fresh vegetables. Thankful for warm showers and flushing toilets. It has been encouraging to receive our first screened card from the US. We do have much to learn and please ask that you continue to pray for us.