Goeie dag (literally “good day,”/“hello” in Africaans) from Stellenbosch, South Africa!
Life has been moving at lightning speed for us the couple of weeks! The Lord has been faithful to us in ways both large and small, and we are excited some of that with you. Thank you to all of you that have prayed for us, supported us financially, encouraged us, and followed our journey - you will be amazed to hear how God is already at work here in beautiful South Africa.
Transitioning to missionary life overseas is not unlike the experience of a roller coaster: there is a lot anticipation and dramatic build-up, but even hearing the “clack-clack” of the wheels as the car moves higher, you’re never quite sure what it will be like when you finally tip over the crest and go careening down.
Much like a roller coaster, we have found most of the ride so far to be exhilarating, amazing, and yes, a bit overwhelming.
Our journey began with a layover in Dubai. It was full of exciting sights … and a sobering discovery. In the midst of incredible infrastructure and brazen opulence, it became clear to us that the empire of Dubai has been built on the backs of migrant workers who are essentially slave labor. We had heard of this in the news, and while we had hoped to see the Burj Khalifa or the Palm Islands, it did not occur to us that we might run into this ugly reality first-hand.
Our waiter from Nepal, followed by our Pakistani cab driver, had been well-trained to answer questions about Dubai and show off the country to its best advantage. They were not, however, prepared for our gentle questions about their homeland, their families, and what brought them to Dubai. Sadness and anger tumbled out of their mouths as we listened and mourned with them. It grieved us to hear of families left behind, deplorable working conditions for unfair pay, and little hope of change.
I was reminded of the great pyramids: they testify to the vision and leadership of great pharaohs … but if those stones could speak, they would also tell of other lives, less lauded - the lives of the slaves who built those towering structures, brick by brick. Most of the second flight, I restlessly turned and thought of our friends in Dubai. While their chances of justice in this life are slim, I pray that they would find hope everlasting in Jesus.
I am thankful that we serve a God who sees all, who promises release for the captives, and who invites us, wealthy and poor, free and oppressed alike:
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost … come to me … listen, that you may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according my faithful love promised to David.” (Isaiah 55)
After relatively smooth flights, the miracles continued when we landed in Capetown and were astonished to find that all of our bags made it! Our East Mountain team was incredibly kind to pick us up from the airport, and in short order we were set up in East Mountain’s large and comfortable guest house and retreat center. We have enjoyed getting to know our team - they have been so supportive and helpful to us.
In another answer to prayer, we have found a place to live long-term! While we had settled in for a long wait, the Lord has swiftly provided a place to live and the basic items we will need to move in. We are in a little two-bedroom apartment in a quiet neighborhood, within walking distance of the Stellenbosch University campus. As a mama entering the “nesting” phase, it has been an unexpected blessing to know that we will be settled plenty of time before the baby arrives. Stay tuned for pictures of our new place!
While there is more to tell, we want to extend a huge thank you to each of you that has supported us - we felt such an outpouring of love, especially in the days shortly before leaving and since we’ve arrived. Many of you have given us going away gifts, supported us financially, sent us encouraging words, and prayed for us. In the whirlwind of moving, we haven’t been able to reach out individually to each one of you, but please receive our deep gratitude. We would not be on this incredible journey without you, our faithful community.
Through many recent details, the Lord has made it clear that we are where he wants us to be - we already see so many opportunities to grow the Body of Christ in South Africa. Together, I know we are going to see God work powerfully in his church. Thank you for your generous hearts and for joining us. You are dear to us!
May you find time this week to dwell on the promises of Isaiah 55; whatever challenges you face today, his peace and abundance are yours in Christ!