HELLO! Welcome to ‘our’ Missisonary South African ‘journal’ — September 22 through October 7, 2o11! Get comfy with a cup of tea, coffee, or soda as I want to ‘take you with me’ on this adventure we share together. It’s your prayers and donations God is using so we may share in what He has in store for us here in this amazing country full of brothers and sisters in Christ! There are more stories and photos to share. However, from now on I will do them separately and without quite so much detail, to avoid you being ‘blogged out’! Okay – let’s get started ….I’m anxious to show you everything!! Love, Ginger (now officially GoGo Ginger on both the seminary campus and at the preschool/orphanage = elderly women – grammas – are called GoGo…I love it!)
A Surprise Weekend – in Many Ways!
On Friday morning, September 23, I decided to join Pastor Randy Asburry and Zeal Beale on a trip ‘west’ to Kruger National Park. My other option was to read, relax and reflect and keep the home fires burning at the seminary for the students, who left Saturday morning for a 5 day ‘spring break’ and visit to a Lutheran Church near Durban, South Africa, and for Zeal and Pastor. The ‘lure’ of adventure won out! AND I am so very glad it did!
Here some of the photos from this adventure! http://www.facebook.com/?ref=hp#!/media/set/?set=a.1949963040619.2088362.1588899801&type=3
God knew I would find more relaxation and reflection in the beauty of His magnificent creations that live and reign at Kruger. Searching the internet Pastor found Kruger Adventure Lodge, the perfect get away located just outside Kruger National Park, where African culture, flora, foods, and décor combine to create a step back in time to an African Queen/Casablanca enchantment. After a 4 ½ hour drive, thank you Randy, we welcomed the curious sound of our tires on the ‘acorn covered’ path which led up to this paradise on earth. TC Constance, the owner, greeted us, remembering our conversation for reservations the previous day.
Each of us were assigned to a Bush Hut – a round, spacious , thatched roof house, with lovely tiled floors, bath with shower, with twin beds and a double bed in each hut. It included satellite TV and fully equipped tea/coffee bar with little refrigerator. My photo album is linked on this Blog for those of you who may not have seen the lodge. TC and his right and left hand aide, Pumla gave us the royal treatment. They had reserved a safari guide for us for all day Saturday. After a 2 hour dinner of BBQ Steak, Chips (French fries), and sautéed vegetables, we said our good night’s to be fresh for our 5:15am coffee and rusk prior to leaving on the safari at 5:30am.
With our ‘take away’ breakfast/lunch in hand, we boarded the safari vehicle with Bennett, our guide – a 14 year veteran – to discover we were the only 3 on the safari that day giving us each a full seat to slide from side to side for viewing and ‘shooting’! Without a doubt, it was one of the most magnificent days of my life viewing God’s creations! Within 2 ½ hours of entering Kruger, Bennett had treated us to sighting THE BIG FIVE – Lions, Elephants, Rhinoceroses, Water Buffalos, and A Leopard! Prior to stepping foot in South Africa, I didn’t know the term ‘BIG FIVE’! We KNEW this was a BIG DEAL because Bennett was excited! The Leopard is scarce. He is out mostly at night. It was the only one of the Big Five that wasn’t within 7 to 25 feet from our vehicle, however, we had a view of him on a rock ledge about 150’ away, through the jungle that made our pulse race!
The rest of the day we were treated to a live, close up and personal view of more unbelievable creatures in their habitat doing what they do every day – live! There really are no words. It was magnificent!
Returning to the Seminary on Sunday, with Zeal driving most of the way back (you go girl!), we 3 shared our photos and relived the adventure, which we’ll continue to do the rest of our lives. We thanked God for allowing us this privilege.
Sept 26 through 30 — God has more surprise in store for Ginger and Zeal
Monday morning we’re off to return our rental car, but not before we go the grocery store. Zeal has this driving on the left mastered – like she’s been doing it forever! As a passenger, I’m still mentally turning into the wrong lane!
We fully enjoyed sharing the 12 days with Randy around the seminary. One other adventure or rather ‘mission’ we accepted was shopping for items to set up the 4th apartment in Mdluli House which was in a sad state when Zeal and I first set eyes on it. It needed an HGTV makeover. Well, Zeal and I ‘conscripted’ Randy to drive the seminary car and with map in hand, we three – 001, 002, and 003, made our way around Pretoria with the ‘assignment’ from office manager, Salomé - now known as “M” - sleuthing out consignment shops, and home stores for plumbing items, paint, dishes, table & chairs – plus! “M” was pleased.
Both Zeal and I wished we had sat in on Randy’s catechism classes! He did quiz us on the return trip from Kruger, however! We bid farewell to Randy shortly after lunch knowing we’ll see him again in this life or the next.
The rest of this week was spent on office tasks and preparing the seminary housing for the upcoming conferences the end of October, along with covering the desk Thursday and Friday while Salome’ has some minor surgery. With Zeal and I leaving for Shongweni October 1, returning the 14th, our plan was to leave Dube House, Mdluli House and The Guest House cleaned, beds ready and fully equipped kitchens for the additional 21 guests arriving October 16th. By the end of the week, our tasks were completed; however it was a fully packed week! Things were complicated a little by our seminary students coming down with a variety of illnesses upon their return from their break. 3 of them were taken to the doctor, while others took to bed with Tylenol and plenty of fluids. It put a crimp in our UNO night, as Zeal and I were reluctant to get too close to what seemed to be a very strong germ running around campus!
While packing for our 2 weeks in Shongweni, we moved the items we wouldn’t need over to Mdluli House. It’s almost ready, just a few plumbing/electrical items to be attended to while we are away. We’ll move into Mdluli House when we return October 14th. Here are some photos from every day life at the seminary…..Missionary Life at the Seminary
October 1 to October 14 – Our 1st SHONGWENI Experience!!
Bright and early- 6am – Saturday morning, Oct. 1, Rixi Taxi arrived at the seminary to take Zeal and I to the bus station. We filled the taxi with our luggage since we are leaving most of what we brought to Africa in Hillcrest where we’ll be living the duration of our time once we leave the seminary.
For a real good time please visit Zeal’s Blog regarding our bus ride to Hillcrest! She has captured it! We aren’t sure if we can handle the trip back. Next time I will make sure it’s Greyhound tickets we purchase!
Here is Zeal’s Blogspot. She has captured LOTS of our adventures with her ‘wit’ and wisdom’….enjoy! http://www.servingthelordwithzeal.blogspot.com/
AFTER the 9 hour bus ride, we met Harold, Julia and Shara’s favorite taxi driver. He was ready and waiting for us. On the 30 minute ride to Hillcrest, where we have rented a charming ‘flat’ thanks to a lovely friend of Julia and Shara’s, Harold treated us to information on the Durban/Hillcrest historical and political demographics, weather variations from sea to valleys to hilltops, and very interesting insights into the why’s and wherefore’s of various road and building construction. I look forward to ‘the rest of the story’ from Harold as we will use him as our primary driver for long distances. To get to Shongweni, where we will work every day, we’ll use the ‘combi’ – combination van/taxis that run every few minutes along main highways and small country roads. This type of transportation will be cheaper than Zeal and I renting or owning a car.
Harold drove us to meet Julia, Shara, and Katlin, then to our place to unload our luggage. The girls had planned to go to their favorite Chinese restaurant, so Harold dropped us and picked us up afterward, then took us to the grocery store so we would have items for breakfast. Whew! It was a looooong day!
Shara and Julia gave us directions on where to meet them in the morning to catch the combi for Shongweni then Harold dropped Katlin, Shara and Julia at their ‘flats’, then Zeal and I.
Our place is very comfortable with lovely furnishings and fully equipped kitchen, even a coffee press which pleased me as I left mine at the seminary and brought only coffee singles. This will be our home for the next 2 weeks, and then again when we return the end of November until the end of March when we will take over the apartment where Shara and Julia live. After unpacking, Zeal and I settled in for a good night’s sleep.
October 1 and 2 Photos – From leaving the seminary in a ‘cute’ little blue Rixi Taxi to our first day in Shongweni at the Chapel…..http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2048335379866.2091630.1588899801&type=3
Sunday, October 2, 2011
The day dawned cloudy and cool! So much for the heat we expected. Thankfully we did bring our winter clothes with us, thinking it would be May before we would need them!
After a quick breakfast we walked the 3 blocks to the ‘combi’ corner where Shara and Julia joined us, and then we continued walking another few blocks to meet Katlin. Since it’s Sunday the combi’s have a different schedule, so we went to Pinetown to catch the Shongweni combi. With 5 of us climbing into a combi, we fill it quickly. It’s interesting how the fare is collected. The person sitting next to the driver is ‘expected’ to collect the fares, and make change if necessary. The driver does not have change. It was 12 Rand for the ride to Pine Town….that’s about $1.80. The combi’s hold anywhere from 11 to 14 people with a variety of fold up/down seats. Each row of riders collects their fares handing it to the row in front and tells that person how much change is needed. It seems complicated at first, but actually works out very well. And you actually ‘talk’ to the people sitting next to you, even if you don’t know them!
Now, the next combi to Shongweni, was only 5 Rand….about 75 cents. It was a beautiful misty, hazy morning as we climbed up the hillside from Pine Town, back through Hillcrest, to Shongweni. The combi driver stops wherever a rider tells him and he picks up riders along the roadside as there are vacant seats.
We got off right at the path leading down the hill to the crèche (church) and community bldg. Along the way Shara and Julia stopped to visit with folks they knew, invite children they saw to VBS tomorrow, embracing everyone they met. They have made themselves such an intrical part of this community it will be hard for everyone when they leave. Zeal and I have our job cut out for us.
As we walked down the path, the panorama of God’s world fell away around us! It’s an absolutely beautiful location for God’s word to be shared. Within minutes of our arriving at the church we were being hugged and greeted by members of the congregation who is the ‘foundation’ of the church. She is a lovely woman full of love for everyone. She is a Go Go, elderly women with grandchildren, but I didn’t write her name down. I believe it’s Gogo Mkhize. She is the one in white. Gogo Zuma is in black. Mildred is the other lady with them. Young and old arrived and soon we were seated with the laymen, Gosi and Sandalac, leading the service. Pastor Twala is away visiting another congregation today.
The seating is interesting and we need to ask Shara and Julia about it. The adult women sat on the right side. The children, boys and girls, sat on the left side in front. The men sat on the left toward the middle.
We used a Zulu Lutheran Service Hymnal with liturgy and hymns without music, just the words. No need for the notes – they KNOW the tunes and SING the tunes!!
It was an intimate and meaningful service of 33 folks with varied backgrounds and cultures sharing God’s word and love. Two young women sang a beautiful duet. The hymns with harmonious and heartfelt. Sometimes the singing led to clapping of hands and thumping of books to keep the rhythm building in volume and enthusiasm!
Sandalam gave the sermon in Zulu. And without understanding a word, I knew what he was saying. His expression and gestures all told of God’s love and mercy. I was spellbound by the simplicity and beauty of their worship.
One of my favorite parts was the giving of the offerings just prior to the close of the service. The women started to sing, the men joined in, the harmony grew as first the children, one by one, walked to the altar and placed their offering in a wooden bowl. The men followed the children, then the women all the while the singing continued until each person with an offering had been to the altar and returned to their seat.
It was very meaningful.
We were about ready to leave when 4 young girls who had been in church in ethnic dress, which was the dress for this Sunday, came through the side door of the church and prepared to sing and dance their native dances. They were delightful as their faces lit up as they moved to their music. The women joined in the singing and it sounded like angels.
With hugs and promises of seeing one another tomorrow at VBS, we 5 walked up the hill to catch the combi back to Shongweni. I doubt I would know where the connecting points are to repeat the process, but over time I am sure I’ll get it! On the ride back we were very crowded, and I sat very closely to a woman named, Sweetness. Her son and husband were seated in front of her. She said her son’s name was Gift. He has 2 older sisters who are 22 and 17….so she said, “You see, he is a gift”! He is 2 years old and very precious. His daddy obviously loves him very much as he held him so tenderly.
Sweetness and I exchanged phone numbers. They were returning from their church in Shongweni, so perhaps we will ride the combi together again one day.
After saying goodbye to Katelyn, Shara and Julia, Zeal and I walked to the Freshly Ground Café’ for lunch. It was l:30pm and we were hungry. It had been a long time since 7am breakfast. The Café has a wonderful menu, great atmosphere with not only nicely appointed tables, but couches with fireplace for WiFi users. Bingo! We have no internet at our flat. This café is 3 blocks away so after a delicious lunch we returned home, changed our clothes, grabbed our computers and headed back for free internet time!
I ordered a cappuccino and caught up on mail while Zeal completed sending her newsletter. We only had an hour until they closed, but it was enough. Heading home it was raining harder than it had all day. Most of the day it was only misting, but I did buy an umbrella at the Pine Town market before boarding the second combi. I needed it on the walk home – we were a bit damp by the time we made it the 3 blocks.
With one whole day under our belt here in Shongweni, it’s exciting to know we will be living and working with these lovely people we met at worship today. Next weekend there is a women’s retreat on Saturday and Sunday where we will be blessed to be with some of the women. Tomorrow we will begin meeting and sharing time with the children while teaching Vacation Bible School. I am excited and honored to be here. May God bless our time together as we share and grow in our faith.
October 3, 2011 MONDAY – Our First Day of VBS
Photos from October 3, Monday …. http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1975099229008.2089258.1588899801&type=3
It’s been a cool, rainy day in Hillcrest/Shongweni. After a quick breakfast, Zeal and I walked to the combi pickup point at the Caltex Petrol Station 3 blocks from our flat where we met Shara, Julia and Katelyn. Shara is staying in Hillcrest today to be at their new place to meet the refrigerator repairman, the internet/phone man, and the man bringing their new stove.
We left our flat at 7:15 am and were on the combi heading to Shongweni by 7:50 am. It was a direct route to the drop off point for a fee of 10 Rand each. The rain and fog were so heavy on the window we passed our stop without knowing it. The combi driver was nice enough to turn around and drive us all the way down the hill to the church gates. It was raining steadily but without any wind.
Pastor Twala came to open the gate and invited us into his home for a short planning session. Julia and Katelyn went over to the preschool to set up while Zeal and I visited with Pastor Twala. He is a very caring man, wanting us to know he’s happy we’ve come all this way, interrupting our lives to help in this village. He described our team working relationship, some of the challenges we’ll face, and many of the joys and sorrows we’ll share with the community. He is glad we are planning to use public transport from Hillcrest to Shongweni – the combi – as it will allow us to interact with the local folks, get to know them, developing relationships daily. If we were to purchase a car and drive that whole aspect of living here would not happen. I was impressed with his candor and sincerity. He loves these people, is honored to be their spiritual leader and definitely has a full plate. We are here to help him and the community in any way necessary. Shara and Julia will leave big shoes to fill. It’s wonderful God has arranged for us to work together for several months before the actual baton is passed to Zeal and I. We will move here for good in December; work with Julia and Shara until Julia leaves in late February or early March; then Shara remains with us until late June. After just 2 days of being with some of the women and now the children, I know we will have strong binds with them by the time both Julia and Shara are gone. It will still be very difficult for everyone to have them leave, but God has given us the time together to make it as easy as possible.
Zeal and I joined Katelyn and Lindo, a newly hired preschool assistant, in the preparation of the craft for the day, The Belt of Truth. Each child will design his belt which symbolizes how knowing the truth about Jesus and his love for us, how he died for us, is the way to ever lasting life. The whole week is a study of putting on the Armour of God which helps us live the way God wants us to live and be prepared for any of life’s challenges.
The children had arrived by about 9:30 which was surprising given the rainy weather. It was cool in the preschool room, but the kids didn’t seem to mind. As we waited for VBS to start several of the boys gathered around me to watch me tune my guitar. One fellow, Luwania, was particularly interested. As I played Akekha Ofana nu Jesu….he started to strum, so I played the chords and let him strum. He had great rhythm and will make a good guitar player one day. The boys passed the guitar around and enjoyed the feel of it. Soon Julia had the attention and VBS began. The girls sat at one table and the boys at another as they started singing an opening hymn, then prayed together. We then sang We Are Marching in the Light of God with the guitar. Boy can they sing and really feel the song.
The story of Esther was then read by one of the teachers in both Zulu and English. These children speak quite good English. I need to learn Zulu. I’m having trouble with learning their names right away as they are different. But I’ll get it!
They children were very quiet during the story, listening intently. Afterwards, four of them were selected to be Queen Esther, King Xerxes, Mordecai and Haman. They acted the story out to the delight of the other children and themselves!
The craft was the next activity which they threw themselves in to. They worked very diligently decorating their Belts of Truth and wore them proudly when completed. We took photos and they played together, until their teacher called them back to the tables. She gave the older children, the ones who can read, a WORD SEARCH game based on the words from the Story of Esther. The smaller children were given color books and picked out pictures they wanted to color. They broke into ‘teams’ of their own choosing to work together on the Word Search. Smaller tables were set up for the younger children to sit and color.
It was fun to see how they worked together on the game taking it very seriously. Julia said this reinforces their English and she checks their work once it’s completed.
It was time for snacks when they completed this last project and they dismissed with a group prayer in Zulu. Before I knew it they were out the door! Usually they sing a final song, but we missed that today. Hopefully we can sing tomorrow as I love to hear them!
We cleaned up, put things away and were walking up the hill to catch the combi by 12:30 pm. We all had our umbrellas up as the rain was coming down quite good! The combi arrived within minutes and we rode with him quite awhile before he found another combi actually going ‘down’ the hillside to Shongweni! He had just picked us up to get us out of the rain!! We didn’t even pay him a dime as we left to get on the other combi. Now – try that in a taxi in New York!
We had one more transfer to another combi before arriving in Hillcrest at 1:30 pm. All of us were hungry so we went to McDonald’s, newly opened in March 2011, and I had my first Big Mac out of the USA. It was wonderful! It actually tasted just like home!
Throughout the combi ride and over lunch we enjoyed visiting with and learning from Julia and Katelyn. There is so much to know and absorb that my whole body and mind are overwhelmed. After lunch, Katelyn walked home, the 3 of us walked to Checkers for groceries. Being mindful we have to carry everything we purchase, Zeal and I got just what we need for the rest of the week. Tomorrow night we’re going back to Freshly Ground for dinner as Tuesday nights are Ladies Night and the meals are ½ price. We will go early in order to use their free WiFi.
It was a cool, wet walk back to our flat where we unloaded our groceries and then rested awhile. I fell asleep and woke up to the wonderful aroma of homemade chicken noodle soup Zeal had prepared. It’s cool in our place now – about 65 degrees – and the soup was perfect, filling my tummy and mind with warmth and good tastes!
Our 2nd day completed in Hillcrest/Shongweni finds my heart and mind so very thankful to be here with Pastor Twala, a very dedicated, loving servant of God and a team of volunteers, who this week, will join together learning from each other as we enjoy and share Gods love with these beautiful children. This link has some of my photos from the week of VBS at Shongweni and the surrounding areas, plus Hillcrest the town where we will be living.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
2nd Day at Shongweni ~ VBS and the countryside ~ God’s World of Beauty!
Tuesday, October 4 Photos http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1975181231058.2089260.1588899801&type=3
Sunshine greeted me this morning! It was really uplifting as it’s been misty or raining since our arrival. Our walk to the Caltex station was most enjoyable where we met our 3 comrades and hopped on the combi to Shongweni. The morning sun on the green hillsides as we climbed the most was so refreshing. We passed fields of sugar cane, which I want to learn more about. This seems to be a very rich fertile area. The vegetable stands in Pine Town are amazing.
Our combi driver once again drove us all the way down the hill to the church and preschool. As we opened the gate to the church, Mrs. Twala came to her front porch and greeted us. Pastor Twala is in Jo’burg today. We walked down to the preschool, greeting children along the way. They ran up to hug Julia, Shara had go to a meeting this morning and will join us later.
Lindo was feeding the chickens when we arrived. They are now laying eggs which is exciting as these chickens are a new item for the creche’ and preschool. They look like Red Rocks, and are very healthy.
Soon many children were playing on the play ground equipment waiting for VBS to begin. The sun seems to bring them out of their homes today! We began outside today with over 70 children in attendance! They opened with the Lord’s Prayer, in English, then sang “Akekha Ofana nu Jesu” and “We are Walking in the Light of God” . I was able to play guitar with both songs – it was very fun praising God out in the sunshine with the valleys of green surrounding us, the creche’ and the preschool!
The story today was on Jehosaphat and the Breast Plate of Righteousness. Each child made a breast plate from colored paper with a cross on it and the word righteousness printed on it. They are excited and full of enthusiasm and love being involved with the craft, singing and listen well for the story.
After their snack, we gathered for another round of singing outside and they joined in a closing prayer in Zulu. With more hugs and ‘see you tomorrows’, we climbed the hill to catch the combi in the glorious afternoon sun.
Our ride was such a delight, that the 3 of us, Julia, Zeal and I, forgot to get off at our transfer point! We ended up riding to Pinetown with Shara and Katelyn who were going to pick up some items from one of the women who sew at the Shongweni Center! Pinetown was ALIVE with people. As the ‘hub’ of combi land everyone, I mean everyone is there connecting with their appropriate transport home…..and everyone is selling something we MUST need be it vegetables for supper, umbrellas, cigarettes, candy, toys, clothing – it’s there for sale!
While Shara and Katelyn went to pick up their items, Julia, Zeal and I went to Kentucky Fried Chicken for lunch. Again, it was really busy and crowded and rather exciting. Everyone seemed eager to get wherever they were going and maybe it was the sunshine that brightened the spirits, but it seemed to be a buoyant atmosphere.
We all walked to get our combi when Shara and Katelyn returned, and headed back to Hillcrest. Once there, Katelyn, Zeal and I stayed on the combi after Shara and Julia got off rather than walk 3 blocks, we tried getting off the combi at our flat which is right across the street from our place. We did just fine! While Katelyn and I has a glass of wine, Zeal loaded her photos on her laptop and read us her delightful description of our bus trip from Pretoria to Hillcrest!!
At 4pm we walked back up to town to join Shara and Julia for dinner at Freshly Ground, only to find out the ½ price offer doesn’t start until 5pm! We probably won’t be able to participate in that offer as none of us want to be out walking after dark – and it’s dark here shortly after 6pm.
Zeal and I stayed a little after the girls left to use the internet before walking home at twilight. There are street lights, but we need to be on the safe side.
We’re hoping for another sunny day tomorrow, but no matter the weather, the sun will be shining in the faces of the children in Shongweni preschool VBS!
VBS IS A SUCCESS!! October 5, 6 and 7. 2011
Wed. and Thurs. Photos – October 5 and 6….(don’t pay any attention to the dates on the photos album…just lost track of days! http://www.facebook.com/?ref=hp#!/media/set/?set=a.1977591851322.2089324.1588899801&type=3
How can one week add so much to my life?! I’m sure we’ve all had experiences that ‘live’ with us long after they are over. This week is one of them for me. I realize we will return here to experience more day to day activities with the preschool, women and children, however, this very first exposure to the children as we learned, talked and sang about Jesus and shared His love, is very, very special.
My hope is to be able to remain connected with some of these school age children, since they aren’t necessarily members of our church. They live around the creche’ and preschool, and we do visit the schools from time to time. Over the course of two years it I hope to build a relationship with some of them as they enter their teenage years. Several of them were very interested in playing the guitar. That may be a connection to explore.
From the start of each day, combi rides, set up for VBS, fellowship with our teaching team and the children, right through snack and clean up, it’s been a time of connecting. When we return in next week the older children will be back in their schools. The preschoolers who are enrolled at Shongweni will be back at their regular schedule with their assigned teachers.
The sewer will continue their schedule with the community women using the room and sewing machines Monday and Tuesday, and the Shongweni Lutheran Church (creche’) women using it Wednesday and Friday. Today I bought a beautiful bag to carry my extra items. It’s strong and lovely. I will see that some of these are sent back home for purchase. Cost – 75 Rand or $10.15.
On Wednesday when we arrived at the bottom of the hill by the preschool gate, Mlondi came running toward us shouting, “one of the chickens is dead!” Oh my! Sure enough it lay on top of the hen nexts stiff a board. Katelyn stepped right into the hen house, grabbed the chicken and said, “someone get the shovel!” Soon Mlondi and his buddy were burying the chicken outside the henhouse but inside the gated yard away from stray animals that could dig it back up.
Obviously Katelyn isn’t skiddish around nature and her ways, however, Julia was around the corner, out of sight of the dilemma, waiting to be told when it was safe to come out so she wouldn’t view the scene! The 15 chickens arrived in May, so losing only 1 by this time is quite good.
The day was uphill after that!
Today, our last day of VBS for this time, the sun was shining, the day warmed up and the children were exceptionally excited and loud! After the story of David and Goliath, they did their craft – the little ones making helmets (more like crowns) of salvation and the older children creating a frame that held the scripture verse about putting on the armour of God. Following snack some of the girls wanted to ‘dance’ to close off the week. The large classroom (serves as the lunchroom during the preschool time) was swept and with a ‘bit of effort’ the children were told in Zulu to form a circle around the 2 dancers. Before long others were taking turns dancing to a music CD that had us all moving to the rhythm!
As the children left for home, they were each given pencils as a gift and many hugs were shared all around.
Mid-morning today the team from Arizona arrived to greet and meet everyone before their departure to a game reserve for the weekend. I met Julia’s Pastor from her Arizona church, Pastor Arnie, and Bob Funk who is also from her church, who has been a huge supporter of the Shongweni African Orphan Project. The rest of their team is also here in Hillcrest preparing to show up on Monday morning to help build the storage/guest house. The foundation and slab have been poured. I hope to help with that building projrct next week.
Our combi ride back to Hillcrest ended with lunch at Julia and Shara’s Chinese spot with Mr. and Mrs. Woo. They serve delicious Chinese – I ate almost all the Cashew Chicken entrée’ by myself!
Saying goodbye to the rest of the gals, Zeal and I took the combi to our flat, getting off at the Catholic Church. We’ll all be leaving tomorrow morning at 11am for the women’s conference which will be held near Durban at a Lutheran Church. We are to wear black and white which is the uniform of the women in the Lutheran Church South Africa. I’ll have more on that after our weekend! We’ve been told to expect very little sleep.
Zeal headed back to town to work on the internet while I laid down for a delicious nap in preparation for this weekend!