While I was prepared for the initial culture shocks of travel, the jet lag, and the brokenness we were to encounter…I was not prepared for what I would personally absorb, good and bad, and how it would impact me. This week has been hard, despite how amazing the trip was.
I’m still trying to piece things together while my brain feels like it is in a million different places, or pieces even. The events that occurred between Sam and the kids here in the states, and myself while being thousands of miles apart were inexplicable, other than the work our of our Mighty Father. Our family was purged, and a newer, deeper unity was birthed.
So re-entry, has been no joke. The enemy is working hard to keep us from living in the fullness of freedom we’ve been fighting for as a family, from keeping me able to remember, process, and document what happened; what I’ve felt called to do. Pray for my clarity, my obedience to the call of rest, and for a continued vulnerable heart.
WHAT HAPPENED EXACTLY
While I will again make it very clear that the trip was amazing, there’s a multitude of things that I am still processing and feeling. It’s always good to get outside of your environment and see God from another perspective, and in itself was beyond beautiful.
Our week started heavy, very, very, heavy. Day one one was spent at The Apartheid Museum. Digging deeper into this systemic racism, was overwhelming and still is. So close and so fresh to our very own timelines, and still very much impacting SA’s modern day while honestly mirroring so much of what we are experiencing in our own nation. Numerous conversations and takeaways to be shared later.
The next day we continued our journey into SA’s history with a visit to Constitution Hill. I will not lie, I broke and have never wrestled with emotions like this before. It was incredibly intense, and not just for me – Sam felt it too, but that’s also a story for later. If you haven’t yet familiarized yourself with Apartheid or still aren’t quite sure what it is, take a minute. Constitution Hill, now a more hope filled place of reconciliation for SA’s future, is an incredibly dark reminder of their past. While I’ve never been boots on the ground at an actual concentration camp from the Holocaust, this unfortunately was one in the same. Apartheid and its consequence of law, was in fact an attempted genocide on the South African people. Unlike the Holocaust, there were not multiple concentration camps, there was only Constitution Hill.
After Constitution Hill, we spent the afternoon back at Grace Bible Church filling bags with donations from Crossroads’ Thanksgiving food drive – which was just a really sweet moment to see something you’ve given to, come full circle – to hand out later in the week in the local community. It was a much needed break from all the heavy, to laugh and serve.
Day three, we spent serving and cleaning at a local school that Grace Bible is working to build a community relationship with. After the work was done, the students sang, danced, and performed for us and it was beautiful. At the close, all the parents of the students and members of the surrounding community gathered to receive the bags of food we’d packaged the day before. Giving is always so much more for me when I can see the face. We will absolutely be donating again this year to the South Africa food drive at Thanksgiving. (Sign up here to stay informed if you’d like to donate too). Afterwards, we went back to Grace Bible and were picked up by a host family from their congregation to spend the night in their homes.
The rest of the week was just as fulfilling, heartbreaking, and emotional, however those first two days were the hardest. I will share more, but for now, know that this is what I’m wrestling with. These first three days quite honestly left me speechless…more to come when I have words again.