…and by “walk into a bar”, I mean “spend the holidays together”. Close enough, right?
Welcome to 2013! I hope your Christmas and New Years was blessed beyond expectation. Mine was vastly different from past Decembers, and not just because of summer weather:
During our July missionary training, YASC: Team Africa got the idea of reuniting for Christmas. After months of planning, the idea came to fruition this holiday. We enjoyed 2 weeks of fellowship, rejuvenation, and inside jokes galore. In all honestly, this was/is an immense blessing.
Get ready for a whirlwind recap!
Tanzanian YASCers Ben and Elizabeth Locher flew into Port Elizabeth on a Friday night. The following morning, Stephen Smith and I picked them up in route to the beach-happy town of Struisbaai. Our 10-hour drive was laden with meaningful conversation and heavy sarcasm.
Meanwhile, in Cape Town: Jenny Korwan and Jared Grant flew in from Kenya and Lesotho, respectively, and road-tripped with resident YASCer Holly Milburn. I imagine their 3-hour drive involved lots of laughter and wrong directions (I kidd, I kidd.)
Our time in Struisbaai was ridiculously good. We cooked our own meals, swam each afternoon, and had meaningful conversations each night. Besides Christmas day, a personal highlight was our first night when we resumed our authentic and laugh-heavy bonding right where we left off in Toronto. It set the tone for the entire trip.
|View from the porch|
Between the 7 of us, we made contact with Texas, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, California, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, The Philippines, Hong Kong, and Haiti.
…and believe it or not, we’re only halfway through our adventure.
We caravanned to Cape Town the day after Christmas and spent 1 1/2 weeks at Holly’s residence. Holly’s city knowledge plus her impressive circle of friends afforded us a variety of opportunities. Check. This. Out:
Lunch in nearby Franschoek. We were part of a 17-person group that included Americans, Swedes, and Fins (Again, Holly’s friends list is quite impressive).
Before I left Texas, a coworker recommended visiting the World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park. Elizabeth, Ben, and myself spent several hours enjoying the 3000+ animals living there.
That evening, we all went to a restaurant that featured the African Jazz band Abavuki. Their upbeat dance-inducing melody was contagious.
Come Sunday, we went back to St. George’s for Eucharist.
On the far right is Father Michael Lapsley, a man who endured great sacrifice in his resistance of apartheid. He is an inspiration in regards to both his personal story and his ability to get people to socialize after church. Father Lapsley currently heads the Institute for Healing of Memories, which I recommend learning about.
New Year’s Eve was spent at Kirstenbosch Gardens. The beauty of this place is enough to leave you in awe. Basically, imagine the Garden of Eden and Jurassic Park put together.
|Replace dinosaurs with live music.|
Our adventure later continued with a climb up Table Mountain, 1 of the 7 wonders of nature.
Approach Table Mountain from the other side, and you find yourself in paradise.
Yep. We did a lot.
What these pictures don’t show is the great fellowship we shared. Group-wide conversations, One-on-one talks, and personal moments for reflection/prayer were abundant. The boundaries between Heaven and Earth were blurred this Christmastime, allowing us to re-focus on what really mattered.
Thank you for glimpsing into this journey, and I wish you a wonderful day.