Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Welcome Home!








I can't believe how fast time flies . . .it has been over 2 1/2 years since I was here in South Africa!  And yet, when I step foot into this country, it is as if I never left.  There is something about how God has fused His heart with me and this place . . . it is truly another home for me.  In fact, a good friend here whenever I come always says, "Welcome Home!"  For those I love and live and commune with back in the states -- it seems odd perhaps to consider somewhere else my home -- and yet -- it is.

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!!