Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The song for the brides

One of the unique experiences we had in South Africa was attending a Zulu church service. The small church is located near a township, and the service was mainly in Zulu. The pastors are friends of Dave's, and they gave us a warm welcome. At one point during the service they decided to sing a traditional song for brides to myself and another newlywed young woman there. The congregation came around us and sang in their usual enthusiastic way, and I just smiled as I had no idea what they were saying! I later found out that they were singing that we'd cook for them all, and wash for them all!

Now Dave and I are on our way home from South Africa. We are in Singapore airport right now.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

For me, being in South Africa means . . .

Feeling bathed in the goodwill that seems to surround Dave wherever he goes! Dave built many positive relationships here, and we are often welcomed with enthusiasm.

Telling a small brown skinned girl that my favourite colour is pink, and hearing her reply "you have pink on your face".

Feeling stressed on some roads as Dave had to respond to the actions of agressive drivers.

Listening to "A Vision for Africa" on the radio in a parking lot, and feeling very inspired, only to lift my eyes and find a beggar outside the window.

Realising that people here see the idea of us moving back as less crazy than people do in Tasmania, because of course they do live here. Many do so quite happily, too!

Wondering how South Africa will ever move on fully from the horrors of segregation between "races", and the racism that seems to still dwell in so many hearts, and the cultural divisions.

Laughing at the sight of an African man in a well cut suit riding on the back of a bakkie (pick-up truck or ute) with his tie flying, while he chatted to two glam looking ladies who were riding in similar fashion.

Dave's parents' warm welcome. Sharing a beautiful dinner with them, and watching monkeys from their windows the next morning.

Understanding Dave better, through sharing those places and people that have shaped his life and heart so deeply.

Goats near the highway below huge houses, and a collection of tiny, run down houses on the other side of the road.

Hearing stories of Dave's ancestors, and realising just how long Dave's heritage here is as his Dad recounted the story of a great-great-grandfather who was killed by a leopard.

Re-focusing on the wonder of the gospel that transcends our sin, our colour, our theological and political differences.

The wonder of seeing a large group of elephants emerge from the bush, and watching a baby elephant suckle from his mother.

Knowing that this place is more colourful and complex than any other place I have ever visited. It is so different to the place where I have always lived, Tasmania, that they are almost incomparible.

Long road trips, punctuated by singing along to worship CDs.

Feeling "other" in a mall full of people with dark skin.

Realising that HIV/Aids is devestating communities in ways I cannot even imagine, and the orphan problem is huge yet invisible to many South Africans.

Having a drink near a restaurant fire and hearing Dave define what he hopes our priorities will be as a family: Hospitality, Generosity, Faith, Holiness.

Marvelling at the beauty of the 'berg, as we sat in our chalet overlooking the mountains with the river gurgling in the front and the fire crackling behind. Relaxing on walks with my husband, and celebrating our first anniversary with joy!

Submitting my fears to God, as I know he will not allow anything to happen that is not part of his plan.

A Zambian immigrant at a craft stall asking after Kevin Rudd and John Howard, and being amazed that he cared to know the names of Australian political leaders.

Feeling incredibly blessed. Being scared by the blessing we've been given, as I know that "of those who have been give much, much will be demanded". Asking the question: What will we do with what we've been given?

Knowing that everyday must be lived for Jesus, because there is nothing else worth living for.

And so much more . . .

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Right now we're at Singapore airport waiting for our flight to Cape Town. We spent one night in Singapore. A few highlights iof our trip so far . . .

* swimming in the beautiful pool at our hotel - Singapore is wonderfully warm!

* eating pizza at a beachfront restaurant

* Going to the beautiful Singapore zoo. We loved the white tigers. There was also a wonderful section devoted to tropical crops. It was fun to see soy beans and other plants we'd never seen before. There was also a wonderful moment where a butterfly landed on us! Wow! Sometimes I feel so blessed that I get a glimpse of God's undeserved favour to us, seen in the small moments of joy he brings.

A few insights/thoughts from the trip so far . . .

* The vast majority of people here live in high rise flats. You have to be very rich to own any land. Dave and I have been reminded of just how blessed we are on a world scale to have room to grow food. Our home is spacious, on a block of land, and looks out on a lovely view - not on row upon row of other blocks of flats.

* I've seen a few elderly people here working in jobs like picking up litter from the ground. We also spoke to two men who work 14 hour plus days. Again, this has reminded us of how blessed we are, and how little we have to complain about.

* Judging by the number of churches we've seen, there appear to be many Christians in Singapore.

We're flying out at 1:30am, and hope we'll sleep on our flight!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Off we go!

I'm in Melbourne airport on my way to Singapore, where we'll stay a night before heading to Cape Town. How exciting is that?

We're so grateful for God's provision of this trip at this time.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Looking for Mr (or Mrs) Right

I once asked my sister-in-law what kind of man she thought I should marry. She answered: “The kind the Bible says”. What a great answer! It was one I had never considered before, even though it seems obvious now. I’d been thinking about the type of personality or interests a person had. Once I started thinking and reading, I found that the Bible gives us many indications of what a godly man or woman looks like. For example, Proverbs teaches that it is best to avoid women without discretion and men who are angry. Titus two teaches that the qualities of sober-mindedness in a man and love of children in a woman are to be desired.

No one is going to perfectly fulfil Biblical ideals. The key is humility. Humble people know that Jesus died for our sins, and that he can transform even the most broken and hopeless person. They recognise the authority of God’s word, and see their own weaknesses and sins. Humble people are teachable and willing to repent. This is why the number one characteristic for a person is humility. With humility, all other changes are possible through God’s grace. Without it, your partner will continually ask you to change whilst being unable or unwilling to see personal sin.

One of the many attributes that attracted me to Dave was his willingness to admit wrong. After nearly a year of marriage, this characteristic is even more important to me. We are both sinners, and we have wronged each other and God in many ways since we married. Without a willingness to admit wrong and to look to Christ for transformation, we would be utterly miserable. I am also grateful that my consideration of the characteristics of godly men and women led me to seek to live out what God had commanded of me, prior to marriage. I still have a lot of growth to do in many areas. It has been a blessing, though, to be aware of God's perspective and to have developed godlier skills and attitudes as an unmarried woman.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The blogging spike

Has anyone else noticed that I seem to blog way more when my husband is not home? Maybe talking to the computer helps . . .