I can officially say that South Africa has stolen my heart and taken it captive. There is something so unique and beautiful about this place and the people here. I have been sitting in front of the computer for about twenty minutes now trying to figure out how to write a blog that captures all the parts of this week, emotionally and physically.
I'll start of by laying out the practicalities of the week. Last Sunday, we went home from church with our host families. I was blessed to join the Timmerman family for the next four weeks! They have three boys, 13, 12 and 6! What a joy all three of them are. I have a different relationship with each of them and I am so blessed by their welcoming attitudes. The oldest one reminds me of Tan. We can talk endlessly about music and we have a comfortable way of joking and hanging out that it feels like we grew up together. The second oldest and I just have an easy relationship, he's helping me with my chess game and we are working on his English. The youngest one and I have fun relationship. I love that after my showers in the afternoon, he never fails to ask me to jump with him on the trampoline. Oh and the soenkes (little kisses) are my absolute favorites. Reminds me of Cole-man when he loved to cuddle. Mr and Mrs Timmerman are the best host parents a girl could ask for. They are so giving and welcoming. I feel so at home at the dinner table and they do an amazing job at praying in English and making sure the boys don't trail off in Afrikaans. They have made me feel like part of the family and without them, living by myself (without a team member) would have been a much more difficult thing to do. But with this family, I feel like family, not just some American living in their house for four weeks. So thankful. This week we also started working in Olieven. I am working at the school as a teachers' aid and assisting in the after school program that is held Monday-Thursday at the school. We split the team up into two groups so me and two other girls and one of the leaders, are working at the school while the other half is working at the disability center. We will be in these groups for four weeks then we have a week off and then after that week we switch places!
Now time to talk about all moosy gooshy part of the week. What a rad, beautiful, joyful, happy teared week it was. I don't even know how to put into words how much I love the kids at the school. They are the most joyful and excited group of kids I have EVER met. The first official day of spring was on Monday so we had a water day on Tuesday to celebrate. The water day consisted of us playing over under with buckets made out of old liter bottles and having a water balloon fight. Thats it. But let me tell you. Those kids were SO happy and ecstatic to be playing with water. I have never had more fun with water balloons in my entire life. We played with the water for about 2 hours and by the end, we were all dripping wet with smiles that spread ear to ear. What an experience. I will never forget the joy plastered on each one of those kids faces. From there the week went on but come Thursday, another beautiful afternoon happened. The after school program does worship time on Thursdays with the kids and I got to join. Words can't describe the way I felt watching them jump and sing for joy. They knew all of the words, movements and songs like the back of their hands. I walked up after they had already started and I was instantly overcome with utter joy. It washed over me like a wave. Breaking in my heart and drawing tears like I've never felt to my eyes. Watching these kids worship was unlike any anything I have ever seen. I wish I could explain it better but lets just say, that is probably the most joy I have ever felt in my entire life. Those kids could move mountains with love for God like that. Wow, took my breath away.
Life here in South Africa is the life I have always wanted to live. It's simple, easy and joyful. Everyday is a new day and God keeps reminding me that the moment that I am in, with Him, is the only moment that truly matters. He has become my peace this week casting out fear and sadness. When I am laying in bed at night, in the stillness of the dark, feeling lonely and missing home, He fills the room with light and a calming feeling that He is home. That with Him, I am never alone, because He is in me always, never to forsake me or leave me alone. He is in me so I will not fear because where lightness is, darkness does not dwell. Where He is, home is and I do not feel alone. What a great life it is walking moment by moment with Him. I can't explain the feelings that I get when I explain His love. I am thankful and in awe each and everyday at all of the rad things He has shown me in each moment. Life with Jesus in South Africa is living life to the full.