The fact is, I feel that way in India as well . . . Experiencing a deep connection with folks through suffering or service has a profound impact on the way we move in those places. South Africa and India is like that for me . . . my soul has been deeply impacted in these places. My connection in the states has a totally different story -- yet it is also my home! For now -- I am in South Africa -- and the first stop was in Johannesburg, in fact -- Soweto.
Getting a chance to be with Praise and his family is a gift . . . Praise Nkosi -- which means, "Praise God" -- is an amazing man of God who I am privileged to call friend. After arriving on Wednesday after a 30 plus hour journey from Spokane, Washington -- I got up to go with him on Thursday morning to the Eastern Nazarene District Youth Camp and address the young people. It was in the Limpopo District I think, way past Pretoria. Our journey was a long one and included a 2 hour pit-stop on the side of the road when the lug nuts on the front right tire had come loose and was making a loud thumping sound -- we found out that we did not have a lug wrench and even our best attempt to flag someone over to help us -- still left us stranded. No one stopped. Two things -- the fact that the front tire could have just flown off at speeds upwards of 60 mph on the freeway could have been tragic -- but also realizing the fear that lives in the world and how hard it is to trust that you could help without being hurt here -- with the crime -- is a reality as well.
Thankfully, one of Praise's friends showed up and brought a lug wrench -- but it was too big -- so Praise put a small coin on top of the lug nut and it actually filled the gap and worked!! During the wait -- I managed to take a peak at some of the open fields around me -- the big sky and open places on either land or sea are beautiful here . . .
Getting to the meeting two and a half hours late changed the whole plan for the day -- we spoke after lunch and then started to head back. Being in a room with a few hundred youth anywhere in the world is a lively experience -- this was really interesting for me to observe how they were interacting -- many similarities around the world that way.
As we started our journey home we were interrupted yet again -- there were issues with the fuel lines on the way home -- so it took way longer than normal -- at the end of it all it was about a 12 hour journey . . .
. . . .the adventure has begun!!