Returning Home

It’s hard to believe that we are heading back home soon. The time has flown by quickly. We have had a great time on our furlough and look forward to serving together as a missionary couple. Here are some of our experiences and highlights on furlough.

  • Wayne’s first trip to NYCDSCN7951
  • Wayne’s first snow
  • DSCN8110Wayne masters driving on the right side of the road.
  • Taking walks with Mom and Dad
  • Spending quality time with donors and supporters
  • Sharing our stories from the field with others
  • Meeting my bestie’s husband
  • Visiting Graceland and the National Civil Rights Museum
  • Enjoying special friend time
  • Sharing in parish life again at my home church, St. George’s
  • Meeting a ton of new parishioners at St. George’s
  • Attending the SAMS missionary retreatIMG_1686
  • Wayne experiences his first Super Bowl and March Madness
  • Making my first pecan pie
  • Having random conversations with little brother
  • Hanging out with little sis
  • Chilling with big brother and getting spoiled by him
  • Playing and cuddling with my fur-nephew
  • Discovering Cook-Out Burgers (I could float back to Cape Town.)
  • Eating biscuits, sausage, and bacon (Once again, I could float back home.)

I’m looking forward to getting back home, although I’m sad to leave my family and friends here. When I’m in Cape Town, I miss my family and friends in the States. When I’m in Tennessee, I miss my family and friends in South Africa. It’s the tension but beauty of living cross-culturally and having two homes.

Important Note:
We are running short on what we need for our monthly support. If you would like to SAMS 2 smallpartner with us in ministry by making a one-time donation or by making a pledge, please visit
https://secure-q.net/Donations/SAMS/3296

We thank you in advance for your generosity!

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Joey’s Prayer

American Flag ID-10047802Our time in the States has been a whirlwind—family time, friend time, meeting with current donors, meeting with potential new donors, raising awareness of our ministry, building relationships, and making time for rest, relaxation and fun. This has been our experience of our first missionary furlough. Unfortunately, our time has been sorely lacking on the rest and relaxation front, and I feel as though we are also falling short of having quality time with family and friends. It has been a balancing act, and I don’t think we have mastered the act; and now it is nearly time to return home.

Despite the busy pace of our time, it has been wonderful being Stateside; and we have loved every bit of time we have spent with family, friends and supporters. We have received much encouragement from everyone who is a part of our lives and that has flowed into our spiritual and emotional reserves, preparing us for the next leg of our ministry, one as a missionary couple.

There have been so many highlights, and there are many stories to share. I keep thinking about one, though, that I want to share with you. Not long ago, Wayne and I had the privilege to spend time with the youth at our church, St. George’s. After our presentation, when we were talking with several of the young people, a young man came up to me. He told me that he remembered my speaking to the youth before I left for Cape Town more than three years ago. He asked me if I remembered; I replied “yes.” He told me that he still had my prayer card that I handed to the youth (I didn’t remember the prayer cards.) and that he had posted it up in his room and has been praying for me every since. I couldn’t believe this–that this teenage boy remembered me and had been praying for me for the past three years! I nearly had tears in my eyes; it was one of the sweetest things I have heard. I know many people are praying for us, but to be reminded that more people than we realize are praying for us was extremely encouraging. Plus, Wayne and I work with young people in South Africa and knowing that this young man in the States is praying for us and our work with his South African counterparts is special to us in so many ways.

We are grateful for Joey’s prayer, and we ask that you join him in his prayer for us, especially as we prepare to go back to the field next month.

Cathy

Two and a half years ago when we first met, I don’t think the two of us ever dreamed we would be working together in the same community. Worlds and countries apart, we two friends are now working together for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, my friend Cathy for Anglican Aids and I for Growing the Church.

tres amigas
Tres Amigas–Cathy, Lindsey, and me: Lindsey just returned to the States, and we miss her already.

When I started taking some of the first steps to move to South Africa, I kept hearing from my church friends, “You have to meet this lady named Cathy. She’s from Cape Town.” I kept hearing all of these wonderful things about her. When our paths finally crossed at St. George’s, I felt like we were kindred spirits; it was instant friendship.

It was such a blessing to get to know Cathy while she was studying in Nashville. I loved sharing my city with her. She got to meet my family. We had a ball and our friendship grew. She was a huge help as I prepared to move to Cape Town. She and her family welcomed me with opened arms. Cathy has helped me tremendously as I have adapted to my new life here. Her family and two more families, friends of hers, have become my family on the other side of False Bay.

Last week, Cathy joined us at the Braehead community to become the programmes director of Anglicans Aids. We were like two school girls, thrilled to be working together in the same community. It’s like being in class with your best friend.

God knows no distance and is not bound by nations’ boundaries. It’s amazing how God can literally bring people together from halfway across the world.

 

 

Giving Up Stress for Lent

On the way to our church’s Ash Wednesday service, I was whinging about some issues and problems of the week that were stressing me out, when my friend humoursly said, ”So, are you giving up stress for Lent?” “Yes,” I flippantly remarked. And then, after a couple of seconds, I seriously responded, “Yes, I’m going to give up stress for Lent.”

At the Ash Wednesday service, when we sung one of my favourite hymns, “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind,” this stanza struck me:

Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.

Yep, I thought to myself, I’m giving up stress for Lent.

I’m the first to admit that I’m not sure how far I will get with this practice, but I will give it my best shot. I know God has been dealing with me for years about the way I handle stress. I know that stress is a part of life. Whether or not I’m living in Cape Town or Nashville, there will be elements of stress from time to time. Sometimes, there will be a lot of stress!

But I’m going to try to curb my stress load by practicing these steps when something is starting to cause stress in my life:

  1. Say a quick prayer: God help!
  2. Ask myself: What can I control about this situation? If nothing, I will pray for the strength and ability to hand over this situation to God. If there are areas of the situation I can control, I will start making a plan to control
    this little fellow knows how to make a plan
    this little fellow knows how to make a plan

    them, starting with baby action steps.

  3. Pray, pray, pray—asking God for peace and guidance and wisdom, regardless of whether or not it is a situation I can control.

This may be a simplistic approach, but I’m going to try it. It’s a start. Lent is a time of growing closer to God, and often we give up something or take on a spiritual discipline in order to grow in our faith. I’m giving up the “strain and stress,” and I’m giving it to God so that my “ordered life” can confess and receive the “beauty of God’s peace.” God can sort out the stressors in my life, as he assures us in 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV), “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

You can listen to “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind” at
http://grooveshark.com/s/Dear+Lord+and+Father+Of+Mankind/58uBxB?src=5

Developing Rhythm (sort of)

No, I still haven’t learned how to dance. That’s coming—one of these days!

I have been back in Cape Town for a little more than six weeks; and in those six weeks, I have taught at three conferences, worked on various projects, and done my day-to-day work. I’m feeling a bit tired but not as frantic and exhausted as I would normally feel after being on such a hectic schedule.

cup of morning joe
cup of morning joe

I’m trying really hard to develop a healthy rhythm of work and play and rest this year; and although I have been struggling of late, I already see fruit budding from my attempts. I’m not a morning person, so having quiet time before work is not really an option for me. (I’m just being honest.) For years, thanks to some handy apps, I have been listening to scripture or the office of Morning Prayer while I have been getting ready in the morning. My mind often wanders during the readings, but I know God’s Word is sinking in despite my short attention span. However, I felt like I needed to develop a new practice, and I wanted to start the day off with scripture and prayer before I got out of bed. (Naturally, I keep my alarm on just in case I drift off to sleep!) I read the gospel or epistle reading of the lectionary and offer to God the day and pray for blessings and protection for those I love. The practice only takes three to five minutes, but I feel like it is making a significant difference in my life.

In addition to my new morning routine, I’m reading more (yay!) and going to the gym regularly. My work schedule is relentless until mid-July, so I need your prayers for discipline to keep developing a healthy rhythm.

Zululand

Some clergy present Psalm 139 in song.
Some clergy present Psalm 139 in song.
Holy space we created to pray for the children in our care.
holy space we created to pray for the children in our care

Zulu Huts

This is my last night in the Diocese of Zululand. Gordon, a priest friend of mine, and I have been leading a conference for the diocese’s clergy school. Gordon was presenting Fresh Expressions of Church, and I was introducing Rooted in Jesus Junior. We were thrilled and humbled that the bishop had invited us to come, but neither one of us knew what to expect.

Zululand is beautiful—big rolling lush hills, little huts and villages dotted along the road, cows mooing in the distance. The rolling hills and greenery remind me of Tennessee; I feel at home.

But even more beautiful than the scenery are the clergy of this diocese. They have welcomed my friend and I with opened arms. The worship has been moving, exuberant, and holy. They seem to enjoy being here, being together.

I have framed my talks around our role as Christian adults to disciple children. I feel as though the Church as a whole has fallen short of this God-given responsibility. We underestimate children; but in God’s kingdom, they are of great value and God desires to use them now. They don’t have to wait until they grow up to be used by God. God wants them to play an active role in the Church today.

After yesterday’s talks, several priests have come up to me at various times, saying how they have been challenged to reach out more to children, to truly disciple them. Others said that they had many children in their churches, so many that they didn’t know what to do with them; and they felt like their Sunday school teachers had not been invested in properly to teach the children. They were going to make a priority shift, investing more in the training of teachers.

One priest shared about how many boys, who lived near the church, would play soccer on the lawn of his parsonage. This had annoyed him, he admitted, but now he saw this as an opportunity to disciple the boys—and to let them continue to have fun playing soccer. What better place for these boys to be than playing soccer on church grounds? he reflected.

Although I would love for every Zululand parish to use Rooted in Jesus Junior, I feel as though my mission on this trip has been accomplished—to help clergy develop a new mindset regarding ministry to children and to help them understand the importance of discipling our children.

One-Year Anniversary

Yesterday (26 January) marked my one-year anniversary of living in South Africa. I can’t believe that my first year has come and gone. I feel like I blinked and the year was over. Full stop.

I had a wonderful time being at home for Christmas. Words can’t describe how great it was to spend time with my family and to reconnect with old friends. I have returned to Cape Town refreshed and renewed. I’m ready for the new year of work, ministry, fun, and living more into my adopted home and culture.

I have come to the realization that I have two homes. It feels good to have two homes; but while I’m in one, I miss the other. I thought I would grow out of this longing, the longer I lived abroad; but I’m beginning to realize that this longing for Tennessee home or Cape Town home comes with the territory of living abroad, with the reality of having two homes. It’s a bit of a tension and somewhat ironic but necessarily a bad thing.

Turtle SpoonWow—a year has passed and how much has happened in that year! This time last year, I was kind of living in a fog. I didn’t know what to expect; I had a ton of feelings swirling inside of me. Returning to Cape Town, I feel as though I am home, surrounded by my loving community and by so many familiar things—from certain decorations in my flat that make me smile to the beautiful mountains that I see every day.

Turtle is ready to cook.
Turtle is ready to cook.

And might I add, it’s great to be out of the deep freeze and into summer!