Saturday, January 24, 2009

2 Weeks Later...

Well, I've been here for about 15 days now. I apologize for not keeping you all more up to date, but the internet here is terrible, and my access is limited. I just wanted to briefly let you all know that 1) I am still alive! and 2) I absolutely love it here! As I got on the plane two weeks ago, alone and quite unsure of what my immediate future held, I remember thinking, "What am I getting myself into?" Leaving my comfort zone of family, friends, home, security was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I look back now only two weeks later and see all of the things I would have missed out on had I stayed. The community here at J-Life is incredible, and God is working in all of our lives here. There are about 45 young men and women going through the training here, from all different backgrounds and 10 different countries. It is such a diverse group of people coming together under one vision: creating disciple-making movements in the youth of Africa. I have made many new and close friends here in such a short time. I am picking up on several new languages: Afrikaans, Zulu, Swahili, and French to name a few. God is moving in my life, as I am seeing a greater picture of His Kingdom and devoting myself to Him more each day. Please, keep praying for me as I continue to seek God's will for my future. He is definitely giving me a heart for Africa, and we will see where that leads! I miss you all, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Cheers, Mates.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Alive in South Africa!

Thanks for all of your prayers. I arrived safely in Johannesburg, South Africa about an hour ago--along with all of my luggage...praise God! I'll be waiting here, guarding my luggage for two more hours before my ride arrives.

It was very tough saying goodbye to so many of you over the last week. Between saying goodbye to the youth and friends at church on Sunday, to the goodbyes with my family Wednesday night, to my last goodbye with Adrienne at the airport Thursday morning, I have shed more than my fair share of tears this week. However, it is good to finally be here, and I am adjusting my thoughts to my purpose here, to grow and learn and expand God's kingdom in any way that He chooses to use me. Don't worry, though, I won't be forgetting all of you back home anytime soon. In fact, I would love to hear from all of you as often as possible. I may not always be able to respond quickly, depending on the availability of the Internet here, but it's important to me to hear from friends back home and share this journey with all of you.

Well, that's all for now. This could very well be my last post for a while...tomorrow we are leaving for a Survivor-esque experience out in the bush! Lions and tigers and AC, oh my!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

AC Takin' it International

Well, T-minus one day before I embark on a new journey in life. In a little over 24 hours, I will be stepping on a plane headed for South Africa, not to return for nearly a year. Thus, my 24-year streak of dwelling in the U.S. comes to an abrupt was a nice run while it lasted.

I couldn't be more excited about this opportunity to serve others abroad...and also nervous, terrified, and  apprehensive, to name a few other emotions that seem to be present. I'm excited to meet new people, learn new languages and cultures, experience a whole new way of living and viewing the world, and all along the way to be challenged and grown in my walk with the Lord. I'm nervous and somewhat apprehensive because I am walking into so many unknowns (also a reason why I am excited, however). And I'm quite terrified, mostly because I am going alone. I do well when I am with people, especially people I know and love. I don't do alone very well. My prayer is that I make strong connections with the African people very early in my trip so that I can avoid that sense of being on an island. 

If you have time, here are a few ways you can be praying for me this week:
  • safe travel, both for myself and my luggage!
  • safety upon arrival (I was just notified that I will spend a few hours alone in the airport in Johannesburg, the crime capital of the world).
  • that I would make immediate connections with the African people
  • strength against feelings of loneliness
Thanks so much to all who are praying! This blog will be my primary means of connecting with many of you while I am away, so please keep in touch! God bless!