Tuesday, November 11, 2014

We're here in South Africa!

Bye 'USA'.

Our flights to South Africa went well. Our tickets allowed 3 pieces of luggage each so we needed two vehicles for us and for our luggage to get to the airport. Besides clothes and some household items we mostly brought a lot of materials for home-schooling. Amazingly, we checked all our bags at SeaTac airport and made it through the TSA security lines without any hassles. After two 10 hour flights, several movies (the first flight Clara never slept) and a 6 hour layover in London we arrived safely in South Africa. Our new church, which has changed its name from St. Pauls to Christ Church Stellenbosch, graciously sent two guys with two vehicles big enough to carry us and our luggage and provided dinners for the first week.    
Hello 'South Africa'.
Most things are familiar but new and different at the same time. We are in a developed country, but it’s Africa and not the United States. First, our parents and closest friends don’t live here. Also in the States the Postal system is generally reliable, electrical power is consistent and law enforcement is mostly dependable. The Post Office here has been on strike for a couple of months. The second day we were here our power went off because of load sharing due to a malfunctioning power plant. While Stellenbosch can feel like a European town with a modern university, we’ve been told to be careful walking around town because of increased crime.
So here we are in South Africa, and find ourselves remembering Malawi. Malawians are genuinely friendly and have no real animosity towards foreigners. While we’ve been very warmly received by our Christ Church family, we can already see that it’s going to take more intentional effort to connect with people outside the church. South Africa is called the ‘Rainbow Nation’ because of its racial diversity. The various people groups coexist yet they appear to be somewhat separate. All this is to say that we are stepping out on onto new ground. This means more transitions for our whole family so we are asking for your continued prayers as we make the necessary adjustments. Stellenbosch is still Africa and not America, but it’s not Malawi either.


Cindy said...

Praying for moments that can only be described "God".We love all five of you. We made it to our destination Woodbridge, Va tonight. God is so good.

Carolyn said...

Jay and Laura, thank you for more details about the Rainbow Nation. I always enjoy University towns. Sorry to hear about the need for more vigalence and street smarts! What European qualities do you notice? How did you discover Christ Church?

By the way Cindy, we live in Haymarket, VA, about a half hour from Woodbridge. : )