Saturday, February 03, 2007

Week #1

Note to self:
When writing weekly updates, it is best to avoid doing so during a thunderstorm, as inevitably, lightning will strike (literally) and not only knock out the power, but also short out your power cord, preventing you from posting said weekly update. An additional side effect of said thunderstorm and lightning strike may be that the Pangani modem and/or router will fail, and then prevent further access to the Internet for the remainder of the weekend.

(There's my excuse for this being late.)

It's Sunday, and I'm at the conclusion of my first full week in Pretoria. This past week has been a great time of getting to know the team as well as absorbing some local culture and getting the lay of the land, so to speak.

Our mornings usually start off with a communion time. This doesn’t always mean literal bread-and-juice communion, but rather a time for communion with God through worship in different forms. We’ve had many team discussions, exploring aspects of culture here, some bits of philosophy of mission, and just generally orienting ourselves here in Pretoria.

We’ve also ventured out from Pangani quite a bit, with trips to the Voortrekker Monument and Pretoria Community Ministries’ sites (all kinds of urban ministry from an AIDS hospice to a homeless center), and a picnic at the Union Buildings. And, the five of us apprentices were set loose on Pretoria North one afternoon for a scavenger hunt. They made us drive and navigate our way around Pretoria North on our own...aaaa! To be truthful, I haven’t driven yet. Two others of our team volunteered...and so I was off the hook. I suppose my day will come soon enough. (Further note: I drove this week. Woo!)

Another big component of my time here so far has been made up of just getting to know the team here--both staff and fellow apprentices. By way of introduction: Carissa, my roommate, is 23 and is from Illinois. Sarah’s 27 and hails from Oregon (she’s my fellow non-morning person). Tyler, the lone male apprentice, turned 23 on Friday, and he’s from Texas. And Katie (I met her on last year’s road trip) is 27 and also from California. Our staff coaches are Arthur & Melissa (from Fresno, CA), Luc (from the Congo), Doug (from Michigan), and Bryan & Daleen (from Visalia, CA, and Pretoria, SA, respectively). (Bryan’s actually on sabbatical for the next few months, but he’s still joining us for the fun stuff!)

The week concluded with a day of hanging out at Sun City, a resort-type location that’s a 1 ½ hour drive from Pretoria. I had a great time relaxing and spending time with the group, though hanging out on a fake beach at the edge of a chlorine pseudo-ocean still seems a bit odd to me. =) Today we visited a local Methodist church and witnessed a nice big rainstorm (alluded to above), just before our evening braai (smaller this week and indoors because of the wetness outside!). Perhaps next weekend my online time will not be curbed by the interference of lightning and power outages.

Thank you to those who are praying and emailing and keeping me in your thoughts. I miss home and friends and it’s good to hear from you all!

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