Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The South African Police department has done a recent study of traffic accidents in the country's cities. The findings were that the third most dangerous place to be while driving on the roads is in front of a taxi. Driving behind a taxi came in second and in first place....take a guess...that's right....riding INSIDE of a taxi. These mini van drivers pack their vehicles as full as possible (so as to collect the most money) and take off for their location. There is some organization for how these work in the city. Each corner of downtown is a taxi "station" to a certain location outside of downtown. To get to Madabastad, go to the corner of Bloed and Andries, point your finger West and wait for a honking monster to stop and open its mounth. You'll be there in no time! Hopefully. Well, since this has been and will continue to be my and Siri's main form of transportation please pray that we get the good drivers. They are cheap and relatively safe as long as you don't ride after dark.

This past week has been the hardest since being here for so many different reasons. It hasn't been bad, just a struggle. There are too many things to go into complete detail here and within a few days many of the small frustrations will have already passed so I'll generalize. As I've mentioned before, things don't ever happen as planned in South Africa. Even that planning usually happens the day before whatever it is being planned is supposed to take place. Communication is difficult when most people around me speak 6 different languages, one of which I understand and the others are way easier and more fun to speak with their friends. Last night, after talking through some things I've come to accept that this year could be one of struggling through some hard things. If God needs to teach me and others some important and deep lessons, then the struggle will be worth it. If He wants to use me to bring down some walls of complacency I am more than happy to be at His service. The differences between short and long term missions are starting to become glaringly clear. To really enter into a new community and culture and learn how to teach and serve there in a way that will be received is an enormous challenge. It's so much easier to stamp a happy politically correct term on a situation then continue to act the same as before but to really dig in and try to understand and serve effectively will be a messier process I think. Please pray that God has mercy on me when I make mistakes, that He gives all of us patience with each other and a vision for how things can be here!

The girls at Lerato house are on holiday now for two weeks and I, Maren and Carlotta (the other German volunteers at the house) were told to plan a holiday program for them. Besides all the mis-communications about how and what this was supposed to look like, our ideas were not really heard and have been blocked in so many different ways. Thankfully, the girls are easily entertained so today they played Monopoly all morning and we had a pool party in the afternoon. All the girls seemed to have a great time jumping in, splashing each other, and learning how to swim. Plans for the next few weeks are still in the works. Saturday is a Sports day that the city puts on and all the Shelters in town participate in a soccer competition. Our girls are very excited to go and I'm sure will do very well! Thursday is Heritage Day and there will be celebrations all over the city of people gathering to dance and put on performances from the different people groups here. Freedom Park is just across the train tracks from our house and will have a big festival going on. I'm not sure what my plan is for that day. It could be nice to take a break and celebrate a little bit of my own personal Pacific Northwest heritage by finding some trails to hike or a river to jump in (I'll watch out for the hippos).

Its starting to stay light a little later now. Right now, it's 6pm here and the sun is just starting to set over the jacaranda silhouettes . The sky is a pinkish purple and hazy (thank you pollution). A month ago it was dark by now. Hopefully this extra time will allow some more freedom to do things after work. Once the sun sets, plans are much more difficult since we can't walk around after dark. Even 30 more minutes of daytime will be a big difference. Thankfully, the volunteers downstairs are great and they have an enclosed area with a table, ping pong table and a lot of chairs. Our balcony looks out over this little space and we will usually gather down there in the evenings with a candle and our dinners to chat and debrief the day. It's good to have some space outside where we can at least see a few stars.

I've walked through 2 pairs of sandals already and just invested in a new pair. You should see my feet at the end of a day. Before bed each night, I have to scrub them down. They're covered with dirt and dust, red from the sun, and tired from walking all over town but happy that they get to carry Good News!


  1. Good to hear from you again. Keep on persevering! We'll keep on praying.
    Funny hearing from you at the beginning of your journey, and us feeling like we're finally at the end of ours. And the beginning of a new one, as always.
    Love you!

  2. your blogs are so great and so detailed, it just makes my day to hear how yours is doing. We miss you dearly and can't wait to hear more of what God is doing over in SA!