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