It's been a while since I've written an update, and it feels like the days are flying past. The weeks have grown more and more full, the weather is growing cooler, and it's strange to realize that I only have a little over 6 months left here. I'm realizing just how much time it takes to build relationships and to really engage in the culture here--and I feel like my time is so short!
Sarah and I have been meeting more regularly to dream and plan our writing project, and we've decided to each spend some time in the other's place of ministry, so that we can both get to know the women in each place; though we'll each invest more deeply within our own ministry location. It's been difficult for me to get to know the women at Potter's House (a women's shelter in downtown Pretoria) over the past few weeks, as the activity that we've planned to take part in has been cancelled each week! We've been able to chat with some of the women in passing, but that side of things seems to be coming slowly.
But, the past few weeks have been wonderful for me in getting more connected to the women in Soshanguve. Each Wednesday, I head out to Soshanguve with Doug and Sarah to hang out and read the Bible with Granny's family. The past two weeks, I've driven out to Sosh myself, and though the process has involved a bit of trial and error--and children pointing and shouting "makua!" (white people) as they ran after the car--I think I finally know which dirt roads to turn on in order to get to Granny's house, as well as the home of her daughter, Emily. But more important than my improving directional skills, I feel like my own friendships with many of the family members are growing--I don't feel quite so much like I'm just tagging along with Doug anymore! That's been exciting.
This week, Anna (one of Granny's daughters) asked when she and her sister Emily can come and visit me at Pangani. I was really excited to have her do that, as I've connected with her more and more the past couple of weeks. I've been looking for an opportunity to spend more time personally with the women in this family, but haven't really had that opening yet, so this invitation was really cool. I'm hoping to take this time to share a bit of my story with them, to start opening the door for them to share more with me about their lives & experiences.
Another thing that's been exciting for me during this past week has been seeing God moving among our community in so many ways. Our discussions this week have really connected with issues I've been struggling with personally as well as things we've been dealing with as a community. I feel like we're all moving closer and deeper as a community--both corporately and in individual friendships--and I'm looking forward to continuing that journey with the team as the year goes on.
A group of seven of us will spend Monday through Wednesday of this week at a conference just outside Jo'burg, and then next week will be our first week off. It's hard to believe we're already this far along in the year! The five of us apprentices will be off to Cape Town May 8-13, and I'm excited to go see the penguins. ;-) It will also be wonderful to see the coast--I've missed the ocean!
-For my friendships with Anna and Emily and the other women in Granny's family, that these relationships would deepen and that I will be able to begin meeting with them personally on a regular basis.
-For our community as we continue to grow closer as a team, that we might be perceptive of each others' needs and to how God is working among us.
-For our upcoming week off, that it would be a good time for the five of us to grow closer, and that it would be a great week of both relaxing and reflecting on our time here thus far.
-For me to continue to deepen both ministry and community relationships here, especially as I feel like time is growing shorter.