I write this from Southern California, aware of the irony that it's warmer here in the almost-winter than it was in Pretoria in the almost-summer. I arrived safely back in California this past Saturday, and have been spending my time catching up on sleep, good food, and seeing family and friends. While it's good to be back for all of those reasons, I'm also very much missing South Africa and friends there. (As well as friends who were there and are now in various stages of transitioning back to the U.S.)
The whole NCSA group at our farewell dinner the night before I left
Time is stretching out for me in strange ways. The past month, so full of experiences, and so full of bittersweet goodbyes, feels like it's a world away. We had our year-end celebration on November 4th, at the top of a mountain overlooking Pretoria. We invited the friends and ministry partners who have been part of our lives over this year and shared a meal, before taking time to worship together and pray over the city of Pretoria and the Tshwane metropolitan area. It was an amazing time of celebrating together and saying goodbyes. A week later, I was back in California, celebrating a dear friend's wedding.
Praying over the city from the walls of the fort atop the mountain
The time since my last update has been full of celebrations. Gatherings for birthdays, baby showers, and goodbyes--many goodbyes--have filled my weeks. Goodbyes at Potter's House, a farewell party given by Granny's family--goodbyes said in many different ways and in many different languages. We've spent our "conversations" discussing releasing and re-entry, and looking back on what God has done in our midst and in our hearts over the year. It's been an amazing year filled with friendship, growth, and a deeper awareness of God's work--both in me and in the world around me.
The table arranged for the farewell party at Granny's
The next steps for me are still coming together. There are a couple of things within CRM that I'm thinking and praying about and will be exploring further in the coming months. Be in prayer for me during this process, as I seek God's leading and discern where He might have me be during the next season of my life. I do know that I will likely be heading away from California--beyond that, the details are still sketchy.
On the writing project front, Sarah and I are (still) working. As our time in South Africa came to a close, we had to keep revisiting and revising our goals for the year, and we realized that we wouldn't be able to finish our writing and editing while we were there. So I'm attempting to be disciplined about diving into that writing now that I'm back and am looking forward to seeing what takes shape. There are some amazing stories to tell and we look forward to sharing them with you. I'll keep you posted.
If you'd like to look back on my year in South Africa (as I have been doing!), you can revisit pictures here and you can also peruse our community blog here.
And with that, I'll be on my way...