Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just in case you aren't on my "snail mail" list here is my latest letter.... sorry the photos won't load!

Dear Friends and Family,

For the last month I have been busy documenting the family situations of the children in our after school programs (Music for Life Centres). This has involved visiting the children's homes in the villages. The student's profiles are full of phrases like “both parents have died and the child is living with her grandmother”/ “ the mother isn't working and they don't know where the father is.”/ “an auntie is taking care of 11 children in a 2 room house.” / “The father goes and stays in Swaziland with his other 2 wives.” / “the 18 year old sister is caring for her 3 younger siblings and her own baby.” However, when observing these students while they are participating in the Music for Life Centre program at their school no one would never guess that these are the children that live in such desperate circumstances. They come alive with the music, joy lights up their faces and hope rings in their voices. I believe only the presence of God can bring about such a transformation in these children and I am so thankful to be able to witness it!

I have enjoyed getting to know the children a little more during home visits. Lucas is 9 years old and lives in Orlando (The village right next to our MFL Junior Academy). Lucas was kind enough to direct us to the homes of many of our MFL centre students. When he was riding along with us in the Land Rover he told me that he wanted to be a “traffic cop” when he grows up. Jokingly, I said, “So when you see me driving this Land Rover a little too fast will you forgive me and not give me a ticket?” Lucas quickly said, “No, I must give you a ticket or I will be chased from my job!”. Later one of our Music of Life staff bought some bananas at a road side stand. When he offered one to Lucas he refused. When one of the aunties asked him why he didn't want a banana he said that he wasn't allowed to take food from anyone. I was struck by the sense of honestly and integrity in this little boy and wondered what would happen if he became a future
leader of South Africa. MFL in South Africa is blessed to pour into the lives of hundreds of children just like Lucas.

Another highlight of the past month has been the School Assemblies that the MFL Centre Students have performed at. Each group of children has been able to perform for their entire school during an assembly to show what they have learned this year. The kids were so proud (and a little nervous!) to sing and dance for their peers and teachers!

Please Pray:
*Thank God that the strike for public workers is over and the children are back in school
*Thank God for Kristine who is my temporary housemate (until Dec.). She is teaching at our school.
*Pray for our former choir children who are in Secondary School as they will be taking exams soon
*Pray for God to increase my leadership skills as I lead the MFL Centre Staff

Thanks again for all of your love, support and encouragement!

Love, Jenny

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I found her in the village. She is the tiny girl who I fell in love with at first sight. I show people her picture and kinda of make a joke saying, "I wish I could take her home with me." But it's true. I really wish I could take her home with me. And not just her. Lots of them. Bring them home and love on them with all the love in my heart. Make sure they are clean. Give them something nice to eat. Teach them about Jesus. Sing songs and tell stories together. I know God wants to teach me something through this longing in my heart. Maybe He wants me to have just a tiny glimpse into the way He feels about ME. If my heart can long and ache for this little child, whose name I don't even know, how much more must my Heavenly Father long for me.

How great is the love the Lord has lavished on us that we should be called the Children of God. And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My South African Home

Jenny's "Hide-Away Hut"

Sweet friends have let me borrow the furniture I needed

Yes, I am completely spoiled and have a sweet little pool in the back yard! The yard needs a "little" work and I am hoping to plant grass soon!

And these are my wonderful co-workers and friends that I hope to bless with my new home and pool. I took these photos when we took a little day trip to Swaziland. We had a blast! Please pray for me as I build relationships with these friends and encourage them in their walk with the Lord.

Eating the Rice Crispy Treats I made for them! I had to introduce them to an American Tradition! :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"Today, for the first time, I bought clothes pins and they aren't for a preschool craft project."

That is what I wanted to put on my facebook status update today. (funny how everything seems to come back to facebook these days!) or I thought about saying, "My choir kids can handwash clothes much better than me!" But I thought that too many facebook friends with good intentions would misunderstand and make sympathetic comments about my simple life here in South Africa. I don't think I could handle that at the moment.

I have just moved into my own place here and because of a recent visit far into the village next to our school I now have a different perspective on my living conditions. Finding a place to rent here in Komatipoort was a bit of challenge as it seems as if everything is either really nice and too expensive or really cheap and in an un-safe area. But God is faithful and has provided a wonderful place for me to rent that is in a nice neighborhood and has a reasonable rent. It is what the Africaans here in town call a "rondoval" (not sure of the spelling) but I would call it a round brick hut with a thatch roof (which I have now named "Hide-away Hut"). It is more than enough space for me even though it is just 3 rooms. It has a bedroom, a huge bathroom (with a big tub AND a shower.... anyone remember my tiny bathroom in Bloomington?) and a big room that is the kitchen and living room. The kitchen has a single sink and stovetop burners. Kind friends here in Komatipoort have let me borrow a table and chairs, a couch, a TV and DVD player on a stand, a bed and a night stand. All of this is MORE THAN ENOUGH for me and I feel greatly blessed. Did you notice that their a few "normal" things missing.... washing machine, dryer, oven, and fridge (not to mention a desk, book shelves, artwork, comfy lounge chairs, decorative pillows, and all the other things that fill up our western houses)? No washing machine or a dryer means hand washing and hanging clothes out to dry. I thought about taking my clothes to the boarding school to use the washer there (which maybe I will do once in awhile) but I can't really justify doing that often considering that the majority of employees at the school don't have washing machines either. I never see them using the machine for personal use. I thought about buying a microwave but I looked at the price and then thought of the people in the village having only an open fire to cook over then I remember to be thankful for my electric stove burners and the new toaster I just purchased. Right now I am using a cooler with ice as a fridge. Not convient or easy but it works. Honestly, I probably have enough money to buy a little dorm-size fridge and will get one in the near future but for now I am just cooking simply. (and trying not to have leftovers!)

Last week MFL had a day camp for the children who live in the village next to our school. I have drove by the village 100's of times and even gone to church there but I had never been very far "into" the village. The day before camp we took the Land Rover and ventured in to invite children to come to our camp. First we saw many of the houses that are made of concrete blocks that they make and sell in the villages here. They have corugated metal roofs. Lots of them even had some kind of electricity hooked up. We then drove by the "public toliets". Think of what you might see at a State Park Camp Ground. These homes don't have indoor plumbing. Thankfully, every few houses or so there were water spikets in the middle of the yard that the neighbors would share. In this part of the village we saw many people. Women were sitting outside on a mat braiding each others hair with children running and playing all around. Most of the yards were neat and tidy and we saw some pretty nice looking vegetable gardens. Men were working in the yard or sitting and chatting with one another. Many people we walking along the dirt roads with some sort of purpose in mind. Then we took a road that went to the back of the village. It was very quiet here. No one seemed to be around. There weren't houses anymore but shacks. The people had made their homes out of trash.... card board boxes, old tarps, old pieces of wood. I couldn't believe the conditions that these people were living in. It is hard to describe. I would have liked to take photos but it didn't really seem appropriate. I did sneak in one photo of these little boys who were just hanging around. You can see what types of homes they live in when you look in the background. (Click on the photo to make it bigger)

My experience that day was very "real" and it changed my perspective of how I should live. Honestly, right now, I really feel guilty living the way I do when my "neighbors" have so little. I was originally going to post pictures of my new house here but now I feel too embarrassed show the "mansion" I live in. It is most definitely a mansion compared to where these little boys sleep. In their eyes my bed (a bunk bed from the school with a foam mattress) is a luxury. So is my comfy couch. The shower and tub are meant for a princess. In reality I know that God has given me a home so that I can bless others with it and I honestly know I shouldn't be "embarrassed" by how God has blessed me. But at the moment it is too hard to get my mind around it all. I think I'm going to look and pray for ways to sacrifice in order to be a good neighbor. and maybe handwashing my clothes is just the beginning.

Monday, June 07, 2010

glimpses of reality

Some days it seems impossible to process all the differences between my life here in South Africa and what my life was like in America. In the past week I have drove up and down the dirt road to our school many times. Tonight I passed lots of people carrying firewood back to the villages that they will use to cook their food or maybe keep warm in the cool winter night. Last week I stopped on the road 2 times to give some children bread. The first time I paused to give out bread to about 6 little children playing outside of their home. They were kids about 2-4 years old playing next to the road without an adult in sight. Later the same day I stopped by the trash pile by the side the road were 2 boys were digging through the trash. When I pulled over and rolled down the window and began to speak they immediately started practicing their english by saying "fine, fine" knowing that I was going to say, "Hello, how are you?". :) I asked if they wanted some bread and one of them jumped off the trash pile, clutched the bread in his arms like a prize, and ran away with his friend with a huge smile shouting "siyabonga" which means "thank you". I also spent countless hours this week going through the clothes that our children keep at our boarding school. Most of the clothes were something no one at home would even bother putting out at a yard sale but yet it is all these children have and they are thankful for them. I wish I had some profound words to share about these experiences but honestly, maybe it would be silly to try to make lesson out of these glimpses of reality. Paul said, "When God's people are in need, be ready to help them." (Romans 12:13) and I pray that we can each find a way to do this wherever we live.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

In March we had a team of two Americans, two Canadians,
and one South African come to Nkomazi to serve
with Music for Life. The team and MFL staff
worked together to organize and facilitate camps at
two of our Music for Life Centres.

I was especially blessed to discover that two of the
western team members were people I had met while
touring with ACC30 in 2007/08! Lisa is from Rich-
mond, BC and she remembers me talking with her
after a concert about short term volunteer opportuni-
ties. She has now come to South Africa twice to
volunteer! Jen was Detail Person and host family
member when ACC30 was in Omaha, Nebraska!
Honestly, I don't really remember talking specifically
to Lisa or Jen but I am now thankful to have confir-
mation that at least two out of the thousands of con-
versations I had had while touring were actually
important and possibly life-changing!

Lisa and I

Jen teaching Music with my friend/co-worker Selby

The camps went very well! There were around 300
children each day at the first week of camp in In-
jabulo and 200 children attending camp at Mzinti
Primary School during the second week.
The western volunteers along with our SA Staff held
Dance, Music, Bible Stories, Science and Games
Activities for the children. It was also fun to have
five of our former Choir members—who are now in
Secondary School—to come and help during their
school holidays. I really enjoyed playing with the little
kiddos and had a great time blowing bubbles with these
small kids!

The community seemed happy to host us and there
were children waiting for us to arrive each day. We
received a letter from a student's mother after the
first day of camp. It said,

“Dear everyone at Music
for Life, We would like to thank you for giving our
children this opportunity. They are very excited.
They woke up very early and are very happy. And of
course the Bible lessons teaches them to be obeying,
respectful and responsible children. We thank you.
Please continue to do the good work.”

This letter was more than enough encouragement to
keep us going to finish the week strong! 􏰀

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Grandma

Memories of Grandma Figg

Today my family is gathering together to honor and remember my Grandma who has just passed away. I have been thinking about her a lot lately and I have many sweet memories of spending time with her. Please let me share some memories with you....

My Grandma called herself a “hair dresser” in her younger years. I can remember climbing into her chair in the “shop” to get my first hair cut. The “shop” was a converted mobile home that sat at the edge of their property in Iroquios. It was bright and sunny with lots of Grandma's plants in the windows. Many local women came to get “permanents”and hair cuts. Grandma cut my hair for many years. Most of the time when I needed a haircut she would get her scissors and we would go outside where I would sit on the picnic table while she trimmed my hair.

Many of my favorite memories are from spending time in the kitchen with Grandma. Grandma always let me help with meals. When I was small she would let me pick the cool-aid flavor and taste it to make sure it had enough sugar. I can vividly remember the smell and taste of Grape cool-aid from a wooden spoon. My Grandma made the best home-made noodles in the world. Chicken noodle soup at Grandma's was the best. I can remember helping roll out the dough and cut the noodles. My brother's favorite food from Grandma's kitchen was her home-made bisquits or rolls which were always eaten up quickly!

My brother and I loved to go and stay the night at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Grandma would move the coffee table and make up beds for us to sleep on the floor in the living room. In the mornings Wes and I would sit at the breakfast table eating toast with lots of cinnamon and sugar.

Another favorite place at Grandma and Grandpa's was the front porch. When I was little, Wes and I would sit on the concrete porch and play with the little plastic cowboy and indian toys or marbles while Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa would sit and talk. As we got older we sit and read on the porch while watching for the hummingbirds that Grandma loved.

The yard at Grandma and Grandpa's house was a wonderful place to play as a child. I used to spend hours in the “climbing tree”. It was a great place to get away from the world and as I got older I would often take a book up with me. Wes and I and my cousins would have lots of fun playing with the toys Grandma kept for us. We would get out the frisbees and yoyos to play in the yard.

I love hearing stories about my Grandma's life when she was a young mother. She was a true homemaker.... busy cooking, cleaning, sewing and gardening in order to take care of her family.

My Grandma loved flowers and gardening. My Mom and Grandma would usually walk around the yard and look at the flowers and plants. Now I do the same thing with my Mom at her house and I love flowers and gardening just like Grandma and Mom.

Thank you Grandma for letting me experience life with you.... You showed me what a blessing it is to enjoy creation and also create things with my own hands. You were an artist creating beauty in whatever you did... making a pie for your family, painting a picture or planting beautiful flowers. You introduced me to joy that comes from enjoying the simple things in life and you will be greatly missed by all.

Monday, May 17, 2010

More than French Fries!

So, contrary to popular belief, France has food that is better than French Fries! :) Here's a picture of me and some of my girls enjoying croissants fresh from the Bakery in Aix-en-Provence, France!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Newsletter Update

Dear Friends and Family,

Hello from Komatipoort, South Africa. I can hardly believe I have been here only 3 months! The amount of new experiences I have had seem as if they could fill up 3 years instead of months! I know that many of you are so curious about my new life here so I thought I could try to describe a “typical” day to you....

My day begins with driving the MFL Land Rover to the bus stop in Komatipoort and picking up a few co-workers who come to work from neighboring villages. I then drive through Komati on the nice paved road until I turn off onto the bumpy dirt road just outside of town. I avoid as many potholes , snakes and lizard as I can and drive past an African village called Orlando to Music for Life Junior Academy. At MFLJA we have offices, school rooms, and a dorm with a kitchen and dinning area. Upon arriving I might wander down to the dorm to say hello to the Resident Assistants or peak into the classroom to check on “my” kids. Next, I begin doing work for the Music for Life Centres. They are an outreach program that is an after-school program that focuses on helping some of the most vulnerable children in the community. We have 10 different schools in nearby villages that a team of 7 of us go to each week. During the program our staff teaches singing, dancing, and life skills to 50 children at each school. I have been given the task of preparing Bible Story activities for the Life Skills lessons for the program. I have been using the story of Joseph to teach the kids about how God loves us like a Father and is with us all the time. Mid morning I load up the Land Rover with drums, keyboards, and juice and then drive to the local supermarket to purchase 150 buns. Next, I enjoy the beautiful drive to the first village. There are many farms growing sugar cane, bananas, and oranges and the view of the rolling fields and the mountains of Mozambique is just amazing. In the first village I pick up Selby and Nontokozo who are 2 of our staff members and we then drive to another village to pick up 4 more staff. From there we all pile in the Land Rover and drop 2 staff and equipment and snacks at each of the 3 different schools. During the program I usually help with teaching song lyrics, passing out buns and juice, teaching a Bible Story and occasionally helping with teaching dance moves (those of you that know me well know that this is a stretch for me!) I LOVE being in the village schools with the children in these programs! They love to give the staff hugs and high fives! It is amazing to see how a something as small as a smile or just a pat on the back can transform these children! At the beginning of our time together they often come looking a little sad or worn out but they leave singing, dancing, and jumping around! Then 2 of us load up the Land Rover again and drive back to the other 2 school to pick up the staff and equipment. I drop off all of the staff and then head back to Komatipoort. I arrive back around 4:30 and then I might unload the Land Rover and make juice for the next day. I usually then go and spend a little time with my choir #33 kids. I help with homework, chat with the girls in their rooms or just hang out outside under a tree with the Residence Assistants. After that I say goodbye and go home for the day (unless I decide to come back to the school after dinner for evening Devotions with the children!).

The past few weeks I have also been busy planning and organizing for a group of volunteers who are currently here facilitating Bible School Camps at 2 of our village schools. I was very happy to get the responsibility of communicating with the volunteers before their arrival. I first got involved with MFL through a volunteer trip to Uganda so I could relate to their email questions about what to bring and what to expect! The team consists of 2 Americans, 2 Canadians and 1 South African and I was so excited to find out that 2 of the volunteers were people I had met while I was touring with Choir #30 . Lisa is from Canada and I talked with her after a concert about short term volunteer opportunities and now she has come to South Africa twice to volunteer! The other person is Jen and she was a host family when I was in Omaha, Nebraska in 2007! It is great to see how God has used my choir #30 children to inspire others to be apart of what MFL is doing in Africa!

I have exciting news to share about what has been happening with Choir #33! We have just returned from spending about 2 weeks in Cape Town and Johannesburg. We have just had an official “launch” to introduce The African Children's Choir to South Africa because even though we have been working in South Africa for some years many people do not know about the choir. The children performed on a live tv show, live radio show and also recorded for a tv show that will air in June. We are praying that this will lead to support from the community. The other news is that I am going to travel to Europe at the end of April with Choir #33! We are going to spend about a month touring in France, Monaco, Switzerland and Germany. This is literally a “ground breaking” tour for The African Children's Choir and I am excited to be a part of it! Please pray for all the details and logistics of this tour!

I cannot express how thankful I am for each of you who are investing in this journey I am on! I am extremely thankful for your prayers, emails, financial support, and encouragement!

Love, Jenny

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What's your mission story?

Recently someone asked me this Question:

What's you mission story?

I would love to tell you how God called me into mission work in Africa! It actually all started at CCA (Cornerstone Christian Academy) in Bloomington, Illinois. I taught preschool there for 8 years before I began working with The African Children's Choir. In one of the early years our preschool staff decided to get our classes involved in sponsoring a student from another country. We wanted to help the kids see outside of their own little lives. (little did I know about what it would do for my own perspective on life!) We started sponsoring a little girl named Zamambo that was from South Africa. She went to an Association of Christian Schools International School (same organization that CCA is a part of). Our class prayed for her, learned about her country and also gave money to support her care and education. I loved seeing how the children ages 3-5 years were so "black and white" about giving. Since I told them that Zamambo needed money for food and school they thought nothing of giving all they had. The kids would bring in whole piggy banks full of money or give the money they got from their birthdays for Zamambo. God used that experience with my students to give me the desire to go to Africa and do mission work during my summer break. I started looking for organizations to work with but it seemed like most places just wanted money not me. Then in the fall of 2005 The African Children's Choir came to my church. They performed a wonderful concert and God used it to move my heart. During the concert they told of a need for people to come and do short term work in the countries they work in. Immediately after the concert I inquired about going on the next trip. So in the summer of 2006 I went to Uganda and joined a group of about 10 westerners (people I didn't know from all over Canada, US, and UK) and we spent about a month in Uganda doing Bible School Camps in the outreach schools that ACC supports. While doing the camps our team worked with 6 former ACC members who were university students. They were wonderful young people who loved the Lord and wanted to give back to the organization who changed their lives. It was like seeing the direct outcome of the work the organization does. Because of this I decided I wanted to become involved in a more full-time basis and started planning to travel with a choir as a chaperone. The way the choir works is that ACC finds children that are in vulnerable situations, places them in a loving Christian environment and teaches them music and dance. The music is wonderful therapy for these little ones who have been through so much trauma. The children become so confident after receiving so much praise and love. In 2007 I went back to Uganda to meet the 26 precious children that I was going to tour with. It was an amazing experience to see the kids in their own environment and meet many of their families. I spent about 2 months in Uganda and loved every minute of it! The next month the children came to America and I began traveling with them. For the next 15 months I traveled many places in the US and even coast to coast in Canada. Touring with ACC is a unique experience. During tour we are busy doing concerts, continuing the kid's education, and making sure the children many fun experiences in the West. During this time I fell in love with the children and came to truly think of them as my own. When the tour was over in Dec. 2008 the children went back home to Uganda and Kenya and go to our boarding schools there. I miss them so much and can hardly believe it has been an entire year since I have seen them! After tour I found it very hard to consider living a "normal" western life! I had been praying for God to show me what He had next for me. I had been home for about 3 or 4 months when the organization contacted me about working with ACC in South Africa....
To be continued.....

My Choir #30 Family

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wow, sometimes I am just in awe of my life. God has been so good to me. Sure, I have struggles, hurts and frustrations but I am amazed at the way God has been faithful to me. None of you may have realized it but I was facing some pretty big and real fears before coming here to South Africa. When I made the commitment to come back in the spring of 2009 I didn't really have much fear about leaving my comfortable, easy, North American life for South Africa. I just felt a lot of joy about being clear on what God had called me to do. Somehow, during a spiritually vulnerable time during tour with the choir in the UK, satan snuck in and replaced the original joy I had with fear. I'm not sure how that happened but it did. I was fearful about failing in what God had called me to do. I also had huge fears about my relationship with the people I would be working with here. I wish I could describe how I felt when after completing the long journey here. After a 11 hour flight and a 5 hour drive I sat alone in South Africa and wondered "What in the word am I doing here?" Even though I had met a very nice MFL staff family and was looking forward to seeing the 23 kids and 2 chaperones I had traveled with I still felt very much alone. Now, looking back, I am so glad that God put me in that "alone" place because it caused me to run directly into His ever present arms and seek out refuge. I knew I was beat.... I couldn't do anything on my own. I am so thankful that God gave me strength and perseverance to face the fears head on. He was faithful to replace my fear with joy. I know things won't be perfect or even easy here with ACC in South Africa but I know it's where He has called me to be for the moment. So for now I will take each day as it comes. I will drive the Land Rover on the "wrong" side of the road listening to the small children yell "Music for Life" as I drive through the villages to our outreach programs. I will spend time sitting eating peri peri chips (french fries with hot peppers and vinegar) at the picnic table at the gas station with my co-workers building relationships with them. After telling a Bible Story I will serve juice and buns to the 50 little children sitting on the dirty school room floor at a village school. I will spend time with "my" choir kids helping them with homework or just playing. I will sit on the old swingset at Music for Life Academy and chat with the R.A.'s (residence assistants) who live at the school and act as parents to all the children in the boarding school. I will do my best to encourage them in their hard work. I will try to cheerful do whatever God asks of me while asking Him to continually replace my fear with His joy. Thanks for joining me on the journey.

Monday, January 04, 2010

God's plans are PERFECT

Notes on my UK holidays

God is so good to me and has reminded me that His plans are perfect. When I first set out to join choir #33 here in the UK I was planning on flying to South Africa with the choir when the tour was over. A few months ago it became apparent that God had different plans and I needed to wait a few weeks before going to S. Africa. I must admit I was somewhat frustrated and really wondered what God was doing. I should have known He just wanted to bless me. I have just spent 2 weeks having a mini vacation here in the UK and it was exactly what I needed. I spent a week in Scotland with Eleni (another chaperone) with a family that had hosted the choir back in June. They are a great family that have become huge fans of the choir and have really done a lot for ACC and specifically my Choir #33 kids. They live on a hill on a mountain and we had a beautiful snowy Christmas. Eleni and I had fun playing with the 2 girls and went sledding (or sledging as they call it) and built a snowman and an igloo. It was a blessing to me because it was exactly what I would have been doing if I was at home- hanging out with my sisters and their families. I learned that I don't really like Christmas Pudding (fruitcake with nuts with Brandy poured over it and lit on fire) and I LOVE Sticky Toffee Pudding. After Scotland my next destination was London. Eleni came with me to Edinburgh (where we had spent a month with the choir back in Aug.) before I traveled on to London. It was fun to spend part of the day there remembering all the fun I had there when I first joined Choir #33. My time in London has been great also. Considering I have spent the last 5 months traveling with 33 people I was really happy to be on my own at a little B&B. It was the perfect opportunity to “regroup” and “refocus” on life. My friend Adrian (who I met on a ACC trip to Uganda in 2006) lives here so it has been wonderful to catch up with him and also spend a fair amount of time with him and his friends. Adrian was brave enough to let me practice driving on the “wrong side” of the road in his new car. I didn't dent anything or kill anyone and I think Adrian is still my friend so I guess it was pretty successful. It is great to know I have even just the tiniest bit of driving experience before heading to South Africa where I will be driving right away. I was also blessed to be able to go to Adrian's church with his friends. Being on tour has taught me to never take church for granted. Typically on tour we are in church all the time but never just to be there, if you know what I mean. Plus you just can't go to church with 23 cute African kids and be “normal”. So it was wonderful to just enjoy worship and teaching without any strings attached. (and I think that this church is just about perfect because mid-service they pass around chocolate!) So today I am off on a new adventure to South Africa and I'm going to work hard at remembering that God's plans are perfect! Thanks everyone for your love, support and encouragement! Please keep it coming!