Saturday, April 16, 2011

Self Discovery in South Africa

I guess I thought that there was a point in life, somewhere around now, that the self-discovery process was supposed to be over. A point where I truly had a strong understanding of who I am and who God created me to be.

Well, I do think I have a fairly good grasp on both of those things, but I continually find that, yes, we are all a little bit like infinite onions with more layers to be peeled back. That they--whoever they are--were right when they said that self-discovery is a life-long process.

And I find that for myself, there is nothing better for that self-discovery process than taking yourself out of your element and putting yourself in an entirely foreign element. You can truly come to know and see yourself for who you are, how you react, how you grow when you surround yourself with what is foreign. And don't be fooled just when things are starting to seem familiar, you often discover that you're about to have a new cultural experience leading to deeper self-discovery.


A few of my favorite things in South Africa:

  • Umbrellas are an every weather accessory and practicality for both sunny and rainy weather.
  • Having the societal permission to use the word "keen" as often as I like.
  • Nature always surprises you with its suddenness and its beauty.
  • Cricket even if we didn't do as well as hoped in the World Cup.
  • Greeting a person and asking how they are, always produces a genuine connection with the humanity of the other person.
  • Music comes in literally all forms and all languages and begs to be appreciated as such.
  • Most aren't afraid of bringing faith into any and all contexts.
  • Color is everywhere--in the foliage, the architecture, the design, the clothes, the art--everywhere.

Friday, April 01, 2011

29 Going On...

I turned 29 last weekend, thus entering into my thirtieth year of life. I would like to do something different with this year, since--after all-- it is a landmark year.

I've been journeying through Oswald Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest. The 21 March entry looks at Paul's declaration, "I have been crucified with Christ..." (Galatians 2:20). Chambers observes,

Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ..." He did not say, "I have made a determination to imitate Jesus Christ," or, "I will really make an effort to follow Him"--but--"I have been identified with Him in His death." Once I reach this moral decision and act on it, all that Christ accomplished for me on the Cross is accomplished in me. My unrestrained commitment of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grant to me the holiness of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps that is the something different I want for this year--I want to identify with Christ.

Not long ago, I was hanging out with one of the Oasis Haven house moms and her kids. They were playing superheroes. Khanya came running into the lounge to tell us what her superhero power was going to be:

"I turn people into fat ladies!"

Love it.

This is what family does for a child; it gives them a safe place to play and imagine.

Last weekend was also our staff retreat.

We went to a beautiful farm not far from Johannesburg owned by one of Oasis Haven's partners. We were greatly blessed by his generosity in allowing us to use the place for free.

Nestled at the foot of the mountains, it was the ideal place for refreshment and renewal--and the perfect place for a few swimming lessons...

It was such a treat to watch this amazing group of women enjoy their first experience with swimming. I've never in my life seen women enjoy themselves so much.