I've been in South Africa for just over a week now, so I thought I'd give a little update on how things have been going.
Day In Day Out
After arriving Sunday morning I was straight into staff training. Due to visa processing I missed the first week of training and hangs time. The first couple of weeks was more conceptual, talking generally about discipleship in the context of DTS, A Life Together and the deeper wrestles we continue to wander in the gospel (mainly the movement from kingship/empire tradition to prophetic/peace making tradition embodied through Jesus). This week we've been moving more into the practicalities of staffing, housing etc.
Apart from staff training for the mornings, we've had other responsibilities and times of fellowship like circle meetings (the greater staff body divided up into smaller circles), base intercession and community braais (BBQ's). The weekly structure is a nice balance.
I was really blessed with some cheap and convenient accomodation just across the road from the base. The drawback has been that my room is more of a hole in the room than a proper room, but I'll be taking another guys room once he leaves for 2 months. Once our school starts on June 25th, the plan is to move onto base.
My Personal Experience
I won't go into too much detail, but I'd like to lay out some vulnerability and an idea of how this season is shaping for me.
Settling in has been a mixed bag, but with a steady forward push. My first week was a mix of surreal, excitement/welcome/"rightness" about being here, before moving into some knee jerk reactions. These knee jerk reactions were a product of the being in the new & different, transition from being in this country in DTS student context to now staff and the beautiful yet strong tension this country holds.
I'll be honest that after a few days I was ready to leave and come home. I knew that doing so was essentially a move toward isolation and a refusal to the areas of growth I'm being invited into in this season. However the pain of my insecurities & my lack of cultural identity and confidence was too much to bare. But even in the midst of this I couldn't escape the small voice inside of me (Holy Spirit) that reminded me how much I truly want to move into these new areas of growth (eg security in my identity, not expressed & found on my own but through embrace and contribution in a communal/global space), and that these areas are on offer to grow in in this very season.
Along with this, some processing with dear friends & people here, SOS text messages & staff training material has been really helpful. One thing I'm continuing to explore is how emotions are data, not direction. Emotions are helpful indicators to process and vent, but they are not necessarily direction for decision making - hence amidst the ups and downs of emotions during my first week, I remain here based on my true values and desires for beauty and growth (and along the way I'm feeling the change!)
Prayer Points & Moving Forward
- With moving on base there has been recent increases in accomodation costs. I think most of our staff team including myself are seeking more financial support for each month.
- Although not a major priority, I'm looking around for a second hand laptop. Email updates, blog posts etc are a little limited on a phone and the money I had for buying a laptop before leaving ended up being used for rearranging flights. There's a few suitable options around $450 for what I need, so I'm hoping for some provision for that.
- For our school and particularly the students, that God would open the doors financially and with visas to get here and prepare them for this season.
- For me as I continue to wander in this season. To embrace grace, patience and growth in the tension.
Thank you so much. Love and miss you all!