I could literally write a book of stories and moments I’ve shared with people while serving at Lavender Hill High School and at Mowbrary Maternity Hospital. My ears are filled with dialects of Xhosa, Afrikaans and English bits. I have been blessed to have good friends and meet so many interestingly refreshing people along the way. In some areas I am treated like a celebrity, as people are often shocked when they hear my American accent while looking at my skin tone and hair texture. Other times I am stung with discrimination along with the rest of the population that look like me. I’ve found myself using my American privilege to advocate for the rights of those who would otherwise not have them equally or cannot speak for themselves. Living here awakes a deeper passion for the lost and for justice in all societies.
I’m naturally prone to want to find the solution or fix the problem but I have often times had to take the back seat, in a new culture, and observe for understanding. That is one thing, among many, that has allowed me to flourish here, to seek to first to understand. It’s something the Lord whispered to me while I was at home; taking a retreat in order to prepare for this missions experience. I wrote it in my journal and later painted a word wall of all the things I had heard while at the retreat. What I now know is that in the preparation, God had given me things that would help me along the way. When times of confusion or chaos or of heartbreak or of not knowing which path to take, these words were the answers to my questions, to my prayers, before I had even encountered them or prayed about it. I’m so glad I serve a God who knows me better than I know myself and is continuing to show me that although the path in these 2 years of mission was different than anyone planned, He had still prepared the way, this way, that I’m going. The one thing that has allowed me to flourish, and to asked for help, and to accomplish tasks is to seek first to understand. Cape Town is full of diversity and just when you think you understand something about the culture, a curve ball is thrown. Although temptations of frustration come, it is all very beautiful, the path to a solution is never linear. As I continue these last couple of months here, I am still holding on the wisdom that I learned, to seek first to understand. I pray that you pause and try this logic in your relationships, your workplace, among acquaintances, and within your judgments.
Cape Town Bold Empowerment Partnership, South Africa
GMF International , Class 2014