Thursday, August 27, 2009


Sarah commented to me the other day: "Do you ever find it strange that we use keys like this to unlock our house?" I don't, really. Not anymore. But my bundle of keys sure is heavy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Visiting Voortrekker

Last week, I took a group to visit the Voortrekker Monument and downtown Pretoria. I wrote a post about it here on our community blog. But here, for your reading enjoyment, I will offer a small side story...

I led the same trip to Voortrekker and downtown for last year's Road Trip, and somehow managed to get signed up to do it again this year, though I didn't really desire to do so. Last year, in a frantic attempt to not miss the turnoff for the monument, I cut across a couple lanes of traffic, with two cars following me who then were also forced to cut off several cars... I very nearly caused a rather major traffic accident. I refer to it as "the time I almost killed all the Road Trippers." (The daring driving maneuver did, however earn me the undying respect of several people and I was complimented on it for the rest of the day. Regardless, I am still a bit mortified by the memory.) You'll be happy to know we had no major mishaps of that sort this year as I took a different, less complicated route to get to the monument.

Now go read my more serious reflection on the monument visit...

Friday, August 07, 2009


Don't interpret this post according to the image. It's just what came up on Google images when I searched for "simplicity," I've seen it before, and it makes me laugh. =)

During the month of August, our community is corporately practicing the discipline of simplicity. We've challenged ourselves to live on half our disposable income for the month. We're trying to spend half what we usually would for groceries, household supplies, entertainment...any expenses that aren't fixed (i.e. I'm not paying only half the rent just because it's simplicity month). At the end of the month, we plan to take the money saved and use it for several areas of need around us.

I went grocery shopping yesterday for the first time this month. I decided to go to the cheaper grocery store--the one I usually avoid. I don't regularly shop there because it's usually too busy, the produce isn't as good, and they don’t carry a lot of the brands/varieties that I prefer. But: cheaper.

While shopping, I realized how often I opt to buy something more expensive because "it's only a few rand more" and "I can afford this" and "I like it better." This month, I'm cutting all the corners I can, so I said no to the things I would usually buy a more expensive version of. It made me realize how often I rationalize a little higher grocery bill out of preference for unnecessary extras. What if I didn't have the option to buy the more expensive juice? I buy far too much LiquiFruit Cranberry Cooler!

I've always thought I'm fairly wise with my money. And honestly, that's pretty true. But I hadn't realized just how many times I spend money I don't need to spend, just for the sake of preference and desire. This month, I keep asking myself if I really need this thing. Usually, I don't. It's making me think. And that's good.

In addition to living on half my disposable income, I've also decided to limit my online time this month. Specifically, I'm not logging into Facebook for the month of August. I've found quite a few old friends on Facebook, people it's been really good to reconnect with. More than that, there are a lot of friends back home who I keep in better touch with on Facebook than I would over email. Even family: my brother & sister-in-law, my oldest niece, my's awesome to have a more consistent connection, even if it's just through minor things like status updates. But: when I check FB 3 or 4 times a day, to skim through mostly unimportant information about my 300+ friends and casual acquaintances...that's not exactly a wise use of my time. It's not really personally connecting at all. So, August: no Facebook. I've realized that checking Facebook every time I got online was far more automatic than I thought it was. Cutting it out has helped me be more conscientious about how I use my time online. This is also good.

One final observation: in the past week, far more people than usual have approached me asking for money (people I know, as well as random people I run into on the street). Maybe it just seems that way. I've been more conscious of responding to need, in any case. I keep being reminded of why I'm practicing simplicity...not just for the sake of the discipline itself, but so that I can share with others out of what is saved.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Goodbye Pictures

The group gathered to send off the Stewarts to the airport

Arthur & Melissa and me

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


My dear friends and team members the Stewarts are leaving South Africa this afternoon, for a 10-month sabbatical in the States. There are so many things I will miss about Arthur and Melissa, but I am equally thankful for each of those things I will miss. They have given of themselves abundantly to our community and in ministry over the past 6 years, and it's my prayer that they themselves will be blessed just as abundantly during this time of sabbatical.

We had a goodbye dinner for them this past Friday night... here are some photos.

Mmm, bobotie.

Dinner in the sitting room

Arthur & Melissa

It wouldn't have been complete without entertainment from our resident rock star, Busi, performing both an original song and a lipsynch.

Reading Psalm 121 as a blessing for the family.

We will miss you, Stewarts!

Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.