Even though I have another four weeks to explore areas of ministry here, this past week I've found myself in the midst of a lot of thoughts and analysis about where I feel drawn to serve. NC is really encouraging us to take time to listen to where God is leading, and I'm still in that process. This brings up a lot of questions for me as to guidance and exactly how to hear/listen to God's voice. I'm prone to analyze everything, but in this instance, I think God may be nudging me to listen to my heart as well as my head. (What a novel idea.)
Last week, I shared about spending some time in Soshanguve and my excitement about what God's been doing there. This past week, I had the opportunity to visit a couple of women's shelters in downtown Pretoria, as well as to again spend a little time out in Soshanguve.
On Wednesday, Sarah, Carissa, and I drove downtown to a women's shelter called Potter's House. We met with one of the social workers there and she showed us around the facility and introduced us to some of the women. I didn't have too much time to really connect with any of the women past mere introductions, but I did feel drawn to these women and being part of their journey.
Friday morning I was out in Soshanguve, again with Sarah and Carissa, to do an assembly at Uthando Primary School. There were about 400-500 kids and we did the assembly in a courtyard/playground outside. I read the story of the lost sheep, and Sarah and Carissa provided the accompanying actions (the kids loved baa-ing along with the story every time we said "sheep"). A first for me was presenting a story through a translator! Though the kids know some English, most speak other languages (Sotho, Zulu, Tswana, and others) at home, and learn both their home language and English at school.
On Friday afternoon, the same three of us went downtown to visit Lerato House, a shelter for teenage girls there. Apparently there was some confusion about our appointment, because no-one expected us...and they had another group coming soon after we got there. So we're setting up another time to go back next week.
As we left Lerato, even though we'd had very little time there, Sarah and Carissa were both really excited to imagine doing ministry there. Meanwhile, I was caught up in getting us back on the road home. Sarah asked me what I was thinking and feeling about Lerato, and I said something to the effect of "I'm just trying to figure out how to drive!" Which was true. But I was also wondering where my heart was, and feeling a little left out of the excitement. As I prayed about all of this later on, I realized that the excitement that Sarah and Carissa were feeling about Lerato was the same excitement I had felt last week on the way home from Soshanguve. Hmm.
I do want to spend more time at Lerato--to actually hang out with some of the girls, to get a better sense in my head about what ministry, for me, could look like there. That's something I need to think about a bit more as I consider Potter's House as well. At the same time, I'm not sure what ministry in Soshanguve would look like for me, either.
My heart has been for the townships--in large part because of some of the social justice/reconciliation issues that have been on my heart. The black people in the townships are largely ignored by the white population here, so much so that when we've gone out there, little kids in the street will often stare and point and smile and shout "Makua!" which basically means "white people!" We're a curiosity. People are so warm and welcoming and thankful just for us being here and hanging out with them. It's amazing to see just how much difference mere presence makes. At the same time, I want to be more than just present. I don't know yet what, specifically, my vision is for serving here. I know I want to work with women, either one-on-one or in smaller groups, but that's pretty vague, and I'm not sure what form that should take.
Lots to think about, lots to pray about. The not knowing is unsettling to me. It's weird to not be able to imagine what the rest of my time here will look like. I'm trying to take things as they come, to see what God brings to me and to listen to Him in that. That's not easy for a planner like me. But it's good.