Hello all my faithful readers,
So I am officially back! After one month of life changing experiences in South Africa, I have a renewed passion for life and for my God.
I met the most incredible people in the most dyer circumstances but now that I have seen, I am responsible to be a voice for those people.
In this blog post I will let you know what happened in South Africa and now you will know how many lives we're changed and the passion for life that was ignited within me.
So After 40 hours of travelling, me and my team, which was a group of 68 arrived in Johannesburg or Joberg as I am now used to calling it. We stayed in Joberg one night before we took a very crowded five hour bus ride to a village called Estcourt which is a Zulu township. Estcourt is nestled in the mountains of South Africa thus making it very very cold.
Since South Africa is in the Souther Hemisphere, it was winter when I was there. So yes we slept on the floor of an African church, there we're no showers and our toilets we're holes in the ground. We had some interesting times at those toilets and there are a million stories I could tell but I won't because it might just gross you put two much.
Anywho every morning we got up at 5:15 a.m (it was extremely cold at 5:15a.m) so we could quickly eat breakfast and get to the Zulu high schools. At the schools the youngest was around 9 and the oldest was 20. Small groups of four or five went into individual classes and taught a lesson. My group was teaching a lesson all about history and decisions
At one point during the lesson we asked the kids to get in groups of five and write down three easy decisions and three hard decisions. One girl who was the same age as me wrote down for her hard decision whether or not to kill herself. That broke my heart, she was so young yet already she was willing to give up her life. South African teens have issues facing them that most American adults don't have to deal with. I talked to many of the girls in smaller groups and it made me realize, my life is so easy.
These girls are the same age as me yet their world is so different. However one thing is universal, boys. Me and the other two girls in my group talked about relationships and abstinence almost every day in the Zulu schools. All the South African girls we're curious as to what is was like in the States. We had some very interesting conversations and a few girls told me because of us talking to them they had chosen to save themselves for marriage.
We we're also told we we're an inspiration, we talked about relationships, about businesses, about their dreams and their passions. Every single one of them have such incredible spirits and I am truly blessed to have known them.
The Zulu blessed me truly and I will never forget those teenagers who although they face many so many challenges, never give up. They are determined to live good lives, to make their dreams come true and change their country for the better.
Our second part of the mission trip was back in Joberg in an area called The Squatter Camp or Diepsloot. The Squatter camp is an area just outside of the city where people who are basically homeless are allowed to set up tin shacks to live in, however when the government says move, they must move. The shacks are 10 by 10 with no electricity, no plumbing, no running water and usually no windows.
There is water pumps in the squatter camps but they are in the middle of the camps, so the people have to walk up to five miles to get their water. Diepsloot is a large squatter camp, it has 300,000 people in a very small area. There are no streets simple mud walkways with filth running down the center inbetween the shacks. The filth smelt so bad the first day I was there, I almost threw up and some of the other girls in our group actually did.
At the squatter camps our mission was simple, to help these people in any way we could and love on them. Once again we we're in small groups of four to five with a translator since in the Squatter Camps there we're many different languages spoken.
We spent eight hours in the squatter camps everyday, we built shacks, we cooked, we did a kids program in the middle of the camp, we carried water, we washed dishes, we held babies in our arms, we washed clothes with our hands, we dug holes for toilets, and we prayed for anyone who wanted it.
In that place where almost everyone we talked to had the most dyer circumstances, I found the most incredible people and I found peace. There was one shack we went to, where a single mother had five month old twins, a boy and girl. There names meant Happiness.
So I was holding the girl twin in my arms, another member of my group was holding the boy twin, another was doing laundry with the mother, another was chopping wood and this little baby I was holding was looking into my eyes. She had the biggest most curious brown eyes I had ever seen, a gentle wind washed over us and I felt utter peace. I could have stayed there forever, holding Happiness in my arms.
I worked so hard while we we're in the squatter camps and for a little while nothing was about me. It was all about them, those people in the squatter camps who had been praying for some help to come. Before we went out to work my group leader would always say "Today you have the opportunity to bless people and change the world. Go for broke and hold nothing back."
I held nothing back at the Squatter camps and I know in my own little way, I changed the world.
So I've been a Christian and in church my whole life. So I've always heard "Go on a mission trip, it will change your life'
I never really understood that until now. When you chose to take time out of your schedule to give back to others, when you spend time in the most basic living circumstances, when you don't have the media influencing you for a while, when you see girls with their shoes worn out because they walked two hours to school every morning, when you talk to mothers who have to do the unthinkable to feed their families and when you hold weeping starving children in your arms, you change. You are no longer who you we're
After all 'When you do things you've never done, you become what you never were"
I am a changed person and now that I have seen what I have, I am responsible. I am responsible to let the world know about my journey, to let the world know about the children that I held in my arms and the people I prayed for.
I believe this trip to South Africa was the first of many, I now have a passion to help as many people as I can in as many countries as possible. It may seem like an impossible task but with God nothing is impossible.
I can no longer sit back and wish for the world to change. I have to truly be the change I want to see in the world. I have to get up, get out of my comfortable life and go!
In South Africa, I fell in love with life, people and my God again. I am forever changed, I now have an incredible passion for people, for my God and for life.
The last thing I want to say in this blog is something one of the teenage girls wished upon me, now I am wishing it for you and I hope it blesses you as much as it did me.
"Faith makes all things possible, Hope makes all things work, Love makes all things beautiful. May you have all these things in abundance"