Initial Report – Durban Area
South Africa is my new home for nine months, and I am so thankful to God for this opportunity.
My first couple days:
After traveling for too many hours, and being sick on the plane it was a blessing to land to much love and hugs from the other long term volunteers – Maggie Schlageter and Jude Norcross. They quickly caught me up on all the projects and the schedule for the coming week. I jumped right in the very next day getting a good taste of everything from morning till evening traveling around the greater Durban area from project to project.
We started at 8 am with giving juice and bread at the Kwadabeka clinic in Clermont to the chronically ill patients while they wait for up to 10 hours to see the doctor and receive their medications. Next we drove to Mariannhill for Gogo’s (granny’s) tea, coffee and devotion time (currently going through the beatitudes). There is a mix of church members, friends, and neighbors that come (it’s one of my favorites, because you just seem to discuss the bible, life and receive words of wisdom from ladies that remind you of your own Gogo).
Next was going to Lamontville for kids English class where we are helping the kids to improve their reading and writing skills. These kids in Lamontville come to everything we offer there- English class, youth class, Sunday school. They are such a good group of kids that have been around for a long time, and you can see that if we continue working with them and helping them grow in the right direction they have so much potential.
Finally to end the day at 6:30, we were back in Clermont at our Good News Church to have Zulu Bible reading group. Members of the church and local friends and kids come together and read and discuss the Bible in Zulu, which is so good for them because it is nearly self-sustaining without us. It shows real commitment and initiative. Such a fulfilling day, experiencing so much in just a few hours. I then spent a week or so trying to find my place in the mix of it all, but I felt God gave me one answer.
Fitting in, and leaving room for God:
I was really thinking of how I could fill my time more and be helpful- I needed a new project. God gave me something I never would have thought of on my own, and I never planned on doing when I got here- that’s when you know it’s from Him. Maggie figured out how to make bags and purses by weaving together strips of magazines, and I figured out how to make and use a knitting loom from scrap wood. Together we decided to join forces and start a craft course in the townships we already work in. We started in Mariannhill and ran the course for 3 weeks, 2 days a week. Our goal is to equip locals with skills they can use to better their life and support themselves. Maggie and I would like to run the course in Clermont next.
Learning and Goals:
One thing I really want to do is form relationships with the local Zulu brothers and sisters, and have them be real relationships. I want us to be comfortable enough with each other that we can open up and talk about problems or ask for help and grow in God’s love together. I think an easy way to bond is learning from each other. If you ask for help, the other person realizes you are vulnerable and not perfect and it leaves room for a friendship to start. So, I have officially started my Zulu training, which includes cleaning, cooking, carrying 20 liters of water on your head, dancing, and learning the language. My teachers are younger sisters from Mariannhill.
It’s great working with Mariannhill, and watching them grow as an ecclesia. They are taking ownership of their church and the activities such as Bible class, fundraisers, youth class, visiting and watching out for each other- they truly are self-sustaining now. It’s been a beautiful growth. They definitely still need guidance and help, but that’s what brothers and sisters are for.
Please continue to pray for God to bring more of His people to Him, and use us. That’s what each and every one of us are here for; to be that channel that God’s grace and love flows through. Amen.