Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Safely arrived

Just a quick note to let everyone know that I made it to Pretoria! I'm still quite hazy from two 10-hour flights, a long layover, very little sleep, and of course the jetlag. My second 10-hour flight arrived in Joburg this morning at 7:00am. As we taxied across the tarmac, I spotted an ad out the window that said "Bet you just can't wait to see your friends." It made me smile.

It's a little surreal to be back--in many ways it seems nothing has changed, and yet there are small clues to changes all over the place. (Where did that couch go? Where are the dish cloths? Who are all these strange new people?!) But, it's been great to be back at Pangani, to see friendly faces and get hugs from old friends and soon-to-be friends. I have very much felt welcomed home.

And now, I'm going to find some dinner and then unpack!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Leaving soon

Lately, the weeks have been rushing on, and it seems that I am doing the same. It's been quite the process getting to this point, but the plane ticket has now been purchased and I'll be leaving for South Africa one week from today! Yes, after months of answering the question: "When are you leaving for South Africa?" with: "I'm not sure...", I'm happy to now be able to offer you a response: April 21st.

The past couple of months have been quite the ride. Since attending CRM's New Staff Orientation in February, I have plunged into raising support and otherwise preparing to move to South Africa very soon. I have been completely blown away to see my full financial support pledged during a little over a one-month time frame--this was what I was praying for, yet seeing it happen was both amazing and humbling. My transitional expenses and monthly budget have been covered, and I've been cleared to go.

I had my official assessment with CRM on Friday, April 4th at CRM's Anaheim office. This most-of-the-day-long conversation with three CRM/NieuCommunities staff was fun, encouraging, intense, challenging, and affirming. Yes, all of those things at once! Following this assessment, I am now officially part of the NieuCommunities/CRM family! And yes, usually the raising support part (and the attending New Staff Orientation part) would not come before officially becoming part of the organization, but my process has been a little off-kilter. Since I am someone who really likes to be prepared, do things in the right order, plan, and know what's coming next, that's been a learning experience for me, but God has used this time to teach me a lot about flexibility and faith.

So: over the next week, I'll visit with friends and family while I can, sort through and pack my belongings, sell my car, and agonize over which books I can take with me and which will have to stay behind. There are another 80 things I need to do as well, but I'll spare you the details. I'm excited about this next step, and honestly can't wait to get back to South Africa and rejoin the community there. It sounds like the apprenticeship year so far has been an amazing one, and I'm looking forward to both reconnecting with good friends from last year and getting to know some new ones.

Upon my arrival, I'll be staying at Pangani (the NieuCommunities site in Pretoria North) for a few weeks. One of my fellow apprentices from last year, Sarah, will be returning to South Africa as new staff as well, and the two of us plan to find and share an apartment in the neighborhood once we both get back in South Africa.

And so, I suppose this is a goodbye of sorts. I hope to see those of you in SoCal before I leave, and for those who are farther afield, well, we're already communicating from afar, so you can't be too sad about the whole departure thing. =) As always, please stay in touch and keep me posted on your lives as well!

-For peace as well as diligence in the flurry of things that need to be done
-For good conversations and meetings during the remainder of my time in California
-For safe travel April 21st-23rd
-For my readjustment to life in South Africa with new friends and old
-For continued confidence in living out a new calling and vision