(Click on the photo to see a short video of everyone at the retreat worshiping during tea time!)
So here’s the thing...I’ve never written a blog before...call me out of date, I’m not sure. So be nice in your comments...
Well, this week has been full of firsts for me...first time in South Africa, first blog, first time to be completely inspired by lovely, Christ-filled, and spirited African men and women.
Yesterday, the Care Support Team spent another full day with staff members of Living Hope. We were with Support Group leaders, men and women who lead support groups for people with HIV/AIDS and chronic diseases- some of these leaders carry the same diseases as the group members. We were all amazed by the spiritual depth and hope of these people. I was moved almost to tears as they talked about the deep hurt and sadness that often fills their communities. But they are not overcome by the sadness- they pursue the wounded and the outcast and truly believe in the hope that can be restored through Christ. They see their job as their “calling,” it doesn’t matter the pay, the long hours or exhaustion that they experience- it is their joy to minister to the hurting and to spread Christ’s love in their community. They humble me.
We played a few fun games that the support group leaders loved! The “Human Knot” game proved to be pretty “tangled,” one group took forever, but we finally un-knotted ourselves. It provided lots of laughter and fun! Then, there was the South African hospital food that we had. I’ll say it again...South African Hospital food. Yummy...lots and lots of curry!! I learned a new word today...faff. What does it mean, how is it spelled? Any guesses? Leave me a comment.
Last night we had our team reflection time out on the beach. What an amazing site!! I have never seen such a big sky!! You don’t see this much sky in Nashville people, you’ve got to come here. What a picture of the vastness of our God. I was absolutely amazed that this God who makes the sky, the ocean waves, and the mountains is mindful of me and chooses to love and use me. How wonderful!
So today began our Home-based Carer Retreat. We retreated to Camp Faraway, which ironically is actually only about a mile away from the team house. The theme for the retreat is Drink- a challenge of the carers to drink from the Living Water, and be refreshed and renewed by Him. We had worship- led by Dave and the Carers!! They sang the most beautiful songs...words can’t describe the blessings that came from their praise. They introduced us to some exciting and confusing African games. Most of the time we were trying to guess at what we were supposed to be doing- but it was a blast. Then we had a Braai- that means Barbeque!! Nate and Brent did a great job on the grill! It was fun to see Africans roasting their first marshmellow.
We’ve headed home to rest and will return to the retreat tomorrow for Part B. Thanks for your prayers! More to come tomorrow...