Friday, October 30, 2009

Becoming Aquainted

Life is quickly passing us by here in Cape Town, and as may have been expected, I am not finding as much time to update here as I hoped. I still hope that will change, but I make no promises.

This week brought with it a great deal of change, as the SHADE office we were introduced to last week is now no more. As our office is in transition in preparation for the big move to Johannesburg in January, we have moved from our large space in Woodstock into a much smaller office only a short distance away. Monday was our last day in the old office, and by the time we left, all that was left of that office was the carpet on the floor. Really.

Following work Monday, we made it to pick up our Congolese dresses!! We tried them on, and after a couple small alterations were made on spot, they were perfect fits and we can’t wait to wear them!!! I’m so honored to have been invited to be a part of that evening in this way. Really. (Aren’t the dresses are BEAUTIFUL!?!)

As last minute preparations for the Sister 2 Sister Conference in DRC are well underway and the office was in transition as it was being moved, we were phoned after arriving home on Monday and asked not to come in to work on Tuesday and Wednesday. Surely the work we had to do could be done from home (as we are working on our personal computers anyway), not to mention the fact that by looking at us they could very much tell that we were in need of some good rest.

Goodness, were they right! We took advantage of the invitation to have some time to get a bit of much-needed rest and enjoyed some real quality Sabbath time. Friends, never underestimate the power and importance of this time each week. We had not yet had a day of rest since arriving, and these two consecutive days made a world of difference as we returned to work once again alive with energy, passion and a desire to work in the midst of the “stress bucket” that is the SHADE office in these days of important conference preparations. I only wish everyone were able to have a day off... I certainly know it would make a world of difference at the office!

The good news is that all staff going to the conference have been asked to have their preparations completed by now (confession: I have a bit yet to do, but I have 5 days to do it... plenty of time!). We have also been asked to take at least one day, but up to 3-4 days before the conference not just off from work, but truly to rest. We are not expecting to so much as sleep much during the conference, so storing it up will be wise. I am looking forward to our time in The DRC, but reality is we are expected to be awake and functioning 20hrs/day for 7 days, so it will be exhausting and we need to be prepared for this in as many ways as possible now!

While most were out of the office on Friday, we returned there in the afternoon to wrap up a few

things, including the newsletter distributed to the youth each month. Last week, we were handed a couple of old copies and asked to prepare an issue for this month. Always more work because it was our first one and we weren’t really sure what to do with it (as we hardly know the youth by now!), we had a good time making it and it felt good to print and distribute it today. I went to youth group this afternoon and am really enjoying getting to know them. Its really too bad exams, etc have come so quickly, as now we only have one gathering left with them (A Stay Awake in December) before we leave. It really is a great program, I was glad to learn today that Yannick will be continuing it.

That wraps up our week. Oh - and how could I forget? We have internet now! We have purchased a couple of wireless cards to share and have each purchased our own DATA packages to connect, so we should be able to use it anywhere in South Africa - meaning this connection will move with us to Johannesburg and we shouldn't have such a delay again when we move. That being said, I must also confess I am enjoying this bit of disconnect from cyberspace, as it allows me to be more fully present here and now. That is, after all, why I came here, and so I am enjoying the opportunity to embrace it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rounding out Week 1

To begin this update, I would like to give a shout-out to my Ride:Well family, who I thought of lots this week while you were at the Venture banquet! I even made... I mean “invited” my roommates here to watch the ’09 Ride:Well Video (courtesy of Josh McNeilly and the wonderful world of Facebook) Thursday night about the same time as you all were gathering for the banquet. I hope it went well- miss you all!

After a busy week at the office, we were informed that Joyce would be coming to stay and accompany us on our journeys for the weekend. This was a welcome surprise, and so the weekend began with a trip to get fitted for Congolese cultural dresses, to be handmade by a friend of her family. The fabric she gave to us to have them made is absolutely BEAUTIFUL, and I can’t wait to see how they turn out!

Friday evening brought with it whole new sides of Vixa and Joyce we were yet to see. As it turns out, not only Joyce was staying with Vixa for the weekend, but also 2 of Vixa’s brothers - Raul and Yannick. We learned so much about Vixa (our co-worker and driver, who lives across the street) that I hardly know where to begin. One thing is certain... one should never trust in anything he and Yannick agree on, haha. You should have seen them over card games on Friday and Saturday night, switching between French and Swahili to keep us from catching on to what they were saying. I dont think I’ve laughed so hard in a very, very long time. I’m thankful for the friendships that have come so easily out of spending this time together. I’m looking forward to getting to know them better, for sure.

When not trying to play an “honest” game, we did take time out for tourism to go down to Cape Point. We did a bit of light hiking, much to Joyce’s dismay. It was gorgeous! Though I have to say, myfavorite part was likely the drive through Simonstown, where we stopped to see the many whales in the bay. I’d never seen whales before, so I was pretty excited.

The weekend also consisted of lots of cooking... its funny its only been a week and we “finally” cooked for those poor boys who are clearly starving. I made pancakes, Rachel baked cookies. Yannick is certain that no matter what we make, his is better. This was actually good news for us, for if his is better, we’re convinced we shouldn’t waste our time with sub-par meals, and next time he comes for the weekend, he is going to cook for us! I’ll let you know how that turns out, though...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A New Chapter Opens

My life has certainly not been void of adventure, and so I carefully consider the weight of such a promise when I say that I came to South Africa looking for what I know will be the greatest adventure of my life. With each passing day, I am more convinced of the great adventure that lies ahead of me, though I am also convinced that as usual, it is not going to be the adventure I was looking for. Its going to be even better.

The first couple of days have brought with them many new people to meet, places to visit, and communities to explore as we struggle through our jet lag. Rachel did a great job talking about some of the people we will be working closely with, I encourage you to check out her blog for introductions.

 (Me, Rachel, Lunch break on the front porch of SHADE offices. YEA sunshine!)

The first day at SHADE was Monday, and it was spent trying to soak in as much information as possible. We knew before we arrived here that we would be going to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a few weeks’ time, but we didn’t know why. Today, that date seems like it is only a few days away as we are welcomed with open arms. We are anxious to get some of the groundwork set so that our open arms we offer in return may soon be used to help carry the burden of work for this upcoming journey. After getting a short history of SHADE, how they came to be, how their projects have come to grow, and where they may be going next, we were briefed on why we are going to DRC.

SHADE is hosting an international women’s conference (Sister 2 Sister) in Lubumbashi, DRC. It is an annual gathering of women leaders (and now also some key male leaders, mostly clergy) from all over southern Africa. It is an opportunity for these leaders to gather, learn, pray and plan together for the communities they will return to and the communities SHADE is yet to reach. I am looking forward to meeting some of the leaders of Satellite Projects I will be working with over the next couple of years.

Yesterday (Tuesday) brought with it another overload of information, which will likely be the case over the next several weeks. It also brought with it more concrete information about what our tasks will look like, at least in terms of the upcoming conference. In addition to helping out with preparations now, we are also each leading one plenary session and leading twice daily hour-long workshops. For as ill-prepared as we feel, we recognize both what a great privilege it is to be invited to lead in this way, as well as the huge responsibility it brings.

Rather than a lecture, I’ve been invited to offer a morning devotion (read: 30 minute message) on the topic of “True Worshipers.” At first, I was really excited about this and thought I got the “easy” one, but then I realized the topic for the day is “The church’s response to the abuse of women and children, and to the endless violence in the world.” With the overarching theme of the conference as “HOPE,” this may prove to be more challenging than originally anticipated, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’ve begun with a light outline am excited to see where it takes me.

Slowly but sure we’re finding our way here in the office. Whether we find ourselves useful by making folders and packing bags to go to the conference or by preparing lectures for either the conference there or confirmation classes here (I start teaching them tomorrow), I am enjoying the fact that we are quickly adapting and feeling useful.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Morning in Cape Town!

Its a beautiful morning in Cape Town, and the three of us have all arrived safely and had a good night’s rest. We woke up early when Tembo’s brother stopped by to check on us... and to let us know he would be back later to take us to get phones and find internet (hence this is finally posted!). While we were up, we weren’t quite awake, so we took advantage of the morning off by gathering in one bed under a blanket and chatting the morning away. Before long, we had taken a liking to the beauty of the silence of the morning, and the time flew by. Its taken until nearly 11 for us to awake, eat, and now to blog a bit on our first morning in South Africa!

In a short while we’ll have phones, and we’ll let the world know we’re alive and well and soaking in the beauty that is around us. I look forward to the opportunity to update more in the near future!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Arrival in South Africa

It took walking off of the plane and into the international airport in Johannesburg to make this move seem real.

It seems quite strange to say it, but there is a strange comfort that comes from a familiar smell, and as I walked off the plane and into the terminal this morning, I was welcomed with a familiar smell I had not sensed in two years. It was a delightful sensation that came over me as I began processing this move in a whole new way. It is becoming a reality, this calling I have sought after for so long. I am not just on a short-term mission journey as in the past, but I have finally made a move overseas for mission work. I shall reside in South Africa for the next 16 months. While I am certain I will someday look back and understand this as short-term as well, it is a huge step for today. What a great blessing to be able to share in this work in this beautiful country!

I have now arrived in Cape Town, and in a couple of hours my two sisters and roommates - Hannah and Rachel - will also arrive. I am excited for their arrival, and looking forward to settling in together. And yes - also looking forward to finding internet and phone so that I may let everyone (both folks at home and my friends I am excited to greet here!) know I have arrived safely. (this has been posted and back-dated to when written).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Great Visa Expedition

New Blog - Visa Expedition

Good news, friends - we have visas!

Up until an hour before closing time of the South African Consolate’s office yesterday, there was no certainty as to whether all three of us would have visas to depart today. The good news we had was that Hannah and Rachel were likely going to have theirs and would thus have no difficulty departing the next afternoon. The bad news was that the same was not true for me.

As a result of the previous story I shared about them going home to get proper background checks with their State Police offices and me getting mine only over the phone, there was question as to whether or not mine would be adequate enough. From the way the letters were written, it was clear to the Consulate that I had not presented myself as requested. I was also missing the fingerprints the other two had turned in. This did not mean I would be turned down permanently, but it did mean I may have to return home after all to make up for these missing pieces.

Fortunately, our beloved Gail who is our Regional Executive (based in NYC) and who is from South Africa, decided she was going to do everything possible to get me that visa in a timely manner. So she gave up on such conversations over the phone and presented herself in person, even saying she would camp out (and that we would join her) until we got that visa. Oh, how we love her!!!

So down to the office Gail went, and when they told her she would surely receive two but maybe not three visas that day, she voiced to them how and why that was absolutely unacceptable. Gail tells us that rather than take no for an answer, she proceeded to yell (as much as Gail yells) at them, insisting they were wrong. It went something like, this:
(Gail) “Jen Tyler? You aren’t really going to turn down Jen Tyler, are you? You’ve got the wrong gal! If anyone should be allowed into South Africa, its Jen Tyler! Do you know that she rode her bicycle all the way from California to Delaware to raise over $100,000 so that people in southern Africa could have clean water? She of all people should be allowed into our country!”
(Consulate Secretary) “Is that true?”
(Gail) “Of course it is, I can’t make this stuff up!”

The she walks away. Sure enough, when she returned, we had three visas!! That’s right, friends, they decided I’m not a criminal and that I am in fact worthy of a visitor’s visa because of that epic bike tour called the Ride:Well Tour I embarked on the past two summers.

I would always have been the first to tell you Venture Expeditions and the Ride:Well Tour changed my life for the better in monumental and indescribable ways, but who would have thought it would also be the gateway that literally allowed me a visa to move overseas as a missionary? Thanks be to God!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


It is now official. I am a commissioned missionary for The United Methodist Church, and praise be to God, everything is now in order and visas now in hand, so I will be leaving in only a few hours to fly out to Cape Town, South Africa!

The commissioning service yesterday went beautifully. We worshiped, we laughed, we cried, and we were prayed over one at a time and officially sent for by Bishop Ough. There was a full crowd in the room to watch, and thousands more from 4 continents and all over the US watched via live stream on the internet. It was a great moment not just for those of us long anticipating this moment as missionaries, but more so for the global church. What an incredible gift that so many from all over the world were able to share in this moment with us.

Among the many blessings from this service was the opportunity to be commissioned with my brother in Christ Jonathan McCurley. He and I attended seminary together, have discussed our calls at length, and perhaps most importantly have really worked together to challenge one another on the many things we disagree on, yet maintaining our relationship due to the nature of love and the uniting power of our similarities. I believe the two of us being commissioned after this long road to be a beautiful display of the theological diversity of our Church, and I am honored to be a part of that.

To my huge and incredibly pleasant surprise, one of Jonathan and I’s classmates at Garrett came to see him be commissioned, having no idea I would also be there. Mike Rudd is a blessing to every life he touches, and was kind of the grandpa of the seminary during his time there. It brought such an added burst of joy to the night, and I definitely wish to say thank you to Mike for the incredible support over the years and for standing with me when my name was called - it was great to see you there.

Perhaps my favorite part of the evening was just after the service ended. All of those newly commissioned were led into the room next door where we would wait for photos to be taken, and immediately as we gathered in, the Mission Interns and US-2s circled up, holding one another and singing “Amen!” in great joy and with laughter. Soon, most of the room was joining us, and it truly was a witness to one another of the overcoming of struggles we have come to get this far and how very much it was worth it. God is indeed good, and it was great to celebrate in that together.

These are all of the missionaries with Bishop Ough immediately following our commissioning.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Group Credo

Over the past week, each missionary in my program has been asked to write a credo - I statement or expression of one’s believes that we seek to live by. It is a great privilege to be able take the time to respond to such a question from within a group as incredible as this one, to hear some of the things we believe articulated with such beauty and thoughtfulness. So upon the sharing of our Credos on this morning, we worked to combine the Credos we had each written individually into one we could all share in. We took one line from each person’s credo, then used this as a prayer and declaration of what we are being sent forth to do during our closing worship service. We both wrote it out and illustrated it. Together, we wrote:

These statements are rooted in our stories, unified to make this ever-changing credo.
We believe...
*There is beauty in nature, the simple, and the very complex.
*We are created to be in relationship and community.
*Rededicating ourselves to the long and bitter but beautiful struggle for a new world.
*There is unity in our own diversity.
*Grace is an invitation to be beautiful.
*Blessed is this life and we’re going to celebrate being alive!
*We can either stomp or sway in the struggle.
*There is love in the midst of fear.
*Struggle is where we learn the most.
*God is everywhere singing.
*Peace can happen through love.
*Life begins with joy, grows with love, and is rooted in grace.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Last-Minute Changes

If you have traveled on long-term journeys before, you know there are countless things to do in preparation for such a trip. That was definitely true as I prepared for South Africa. I just lived out of one suitcase (and a bin!) for three months, surely I would have no problem packing, right? Maybe... except for that tiny little detail that I was not just going on a trip this time - I am moving.

Something about that word is intimidating and reminds me of the many things to pack that I usually wouldn’t, such as certain books I want to keep on my shelf. It also meant I had to pack for four season, which was not a simple task with the goal of one suitcase for all of my clothes. Somehow I managed, though, so here I sit mid-flight with everything I need to live in a cargo hold underneath me. It is actually a bit liberating to know that I really can live on the things I packed in those suitcases, or even less if need be.

Some of the most challenging things to take care of pre-departure had nothing to do with getting everything into those suitcases, though. The biggest challenge was one that our dear regional executive Gail dealt with on our behalf: Visas.

Less than one week before our flights were set to depart, the three of us going to South Africa were pulled from a meeting and sat down. There was a problem with our Visas. It was unclear where the root of the problem was, but there was some sort of misunderstanding or miscommunication between our office and the South African Embassy issuing our visas. We had a problem, and it required our urgent attention.

While we submitted required background checks with our visa applications, they were now requesting that we have background checks from our state police or local FBI. The problem with this (beyond time, of course) was that to have these reports in time for our visas to be filed, we had to present ourselves in person at said offices that we may show ID and sign for them. It was already Thursday and Monday was a holiday, so this required leaving within an hour or so to get home that evening and get the paperwork filed the next morning. This was not painless but was at least simple enough for Hannah and Rachel who could jump on a train to their homes in VA and PA. I, however, would have to fly home, and there were evidently no flights to get me home that evening. Therefore, I was told I would not leave until Wednesday to go (for I couldn’t miss commissioning on Tuesday, the next business day), and would definitely miss my flight and be asked to reschedule.

Naturally, I was not excited about this plan, so I immediately set to work. My first instinct reminded me of people I know and the great fortune I have of being from a small town/state. So I started making calls, the first to the police chief in my hometown. He was more than willing to help me out and agreed to send the requested letter to our office in NYC. Next I got on the phone with the FBI, who was far from sure what I needed, but were helpful all the same.

Finally, I called our state police office in Pierre, South Dakota, and again they were not sure exactly what I was looking for. I talked to a few different people before finally finding someone who was still uncertain, but who was willing to help me out. It never occured to them that I would need to be there in person to make such a request, they just trusted that with such an unusual request, I was probably who I said I was - thank goodness for being from a small, trusting, friendly state! The officer even called back THREE TIMES to make sure he had the right thing, and to make sure I knew it had been sent next-day air, and should arrive first thing the next morning. THANK YOU!!

The paperwork did come through, and the only difference in mine and the other two girls was that it was requested of them to give fingerprints at the same time. I did not do this, obviously, so I am hoping this does not come back to be a bad thing. Only time will tell, though, as we will find out if what we have is sufficient on Tuesday. The good news is that I didn’t have to go home, but that there is still a good chance I will be able to depart on time on Thursday. We are hoping this is indeed the case, if for no other reason than to save the changing fees on the flight! I’ll be sure to keep you updated - thanks for the extra prayers it will work out!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Columbus Day

I have taken the posting of these lyrics from my dear friend Heather's blog, words that come timely as many in the US will celebrate Columbus Day on Monday. Many will also refuse to celebrate for countless reasons. I choose to use it as an opportunity to honor those we should truly be remembering on this day: Native Americans.

These are some lyrics from one of her favorite bands, show of hands

santa maria sailed out of the sun
warrior priests with crosses and guns
on a thousand tides and a million waves
they came carrying sickness, cattle and slaves

columbus didn’t find america
it wasn’t lost
it was always there
i won’t celebrate 500 years
of plundering wealth and scattering tears

alvarado and cortez,
amalgro, pizarro and all the rest
they raped the land and stole the sun
thieves and butchers everyone

columbus didn’t find america
it wasn’t lost
it was always there
i won’t celebrate 500 years
of plundering wealth and scattering tears

far a stretch from shore to shore
the water was clean and the air was pure
now driven from the land and living in slums
without names and without tongues

1492 columbus didn’t find america
columbus sailed the ocean blue
it wasn’t lost it was always there
now the new world sickens
and the old world grows fast
i won’t celebrate 500 years
might have been much better if the world was flat
plundering wealth and scattering tears

columbus didn’t find america
it wasn’t lost it was always there
i won’t celebrate 500 years
plundering wealth and scattering tears…

(Heather's blog can be found at

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Watch the Missionary Commissioning Service!

Training is progressing and we are covering our basis as we talked about forms of communication this morning, then safe sanctuaries and theological diversity this afternoon. Over lunch, someone mentioned that we are more than half done with training, which is a bit overwhelming when we think about what that means.

Our commissioning as United Methodist Missionaries will take place in only 6 days: on Tuesday, October 13 at 7pm ET at the Marriott in Stamford, Connecticut. If you are in the area, it is an open event and we would love to have you with us!

As most of you are not in the area, I would still like to take this opportunity to invite you to watch the service. For the first time, this service will be broadcast live over the internet! I am really excited about this opportunity for so many people from so many places to watch, pray and celebrate together! To watch, you can follow this link or visit

This is the press release offered on the website, and has been prepared as a bulletin insert for anyone wanting to invite their congregations. This insert is available for free download on the website in either color or black and white- please feel free to use it!

The day after the service, we will make our way from this retreat center at which our training is being held and back to New York City. The three of us moving to South Africa will then have one day to wrap up packing and preparations, and will fly out on the 15th. The time is drawing near, friends!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Reflection on Matthew 4:21

Training is going great. We've discussed important topics ranging from diversity and seeking mutuality in service to discussing where our stipends will come from and how our health benefits will work. Its been a busy time from morning to night, but a productive time and one that I am grateful to be going through with my fellow Mission Interns and US-2s. They have proven to provide great company and companionship, and know that lifelong friendships are sure to bloom out of the budding relationships begun here.

Sunday we had the honor of spending the afternoon to study Missiology together. Rather than a traditional lecture, we were each given a verse (or chapter) of Scripture to study independently for about an hour and then came back to share what we learned. It was a great way to study, learn, and spend a day of Sabbath.

The verse I was assigned was Matthew 4:21. This story is a familiar one, the story in which Jesus first calls upon the men who will become his disciples to follow him. It is a story that I have seen, heard and even taught as one that offers to us a vivid example of the immediacy and lack of hesitance we should have when called upon to follow Jesus. When Jesus comes across James and John, they are doing every day tasks, and in verse 22 they "Immediately" follow his call. I was not assigned verse 22 to pray about, though, I was assigned 21. In the NRSV translation, this reads,
As they went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zeb'e-dee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zeb'e-dee, mending their nets, and he called them.

For some reason this time, a few small words jumped out at me for the first time: "and he called them." I kept repeating it, trying to figure out what it meant and why I kept repeating this phrase over and over again until I finally realized the incredible significance of those four small words I had previously thought of as unassuming. As one who has struggled with my call to ministry and mission, its hard to believe and perhaps even embarrassing to admit how many times I have passed over this, but today nothing in the whole of that chapter seemed more important. "...and he called them." I kept repeating this phrase. My meditation on this verse has stuck with me, and so I have decided to share the reflections I wrote here...

James and John were busy and had important work to do. Its not like they were sitting around, looking for something to do. Quite the opposite, really. They were hard at work, focusing on the task of mending nets, preparing for the next time they would go out looking for fish.

"...and he called them"

If James and John were working so hard with their father alongside them, it sure seems like an inconvenient time for Jesus to walk by and pull them away. Yet that didn't stop Jesus from calling upon them and interrupting their lives or from pulling them away from their father who was sitting with them, but who was not called to follow with them. Jesus knew the timing was right, and James and John, though unexpecting, were ready. They trusted that Jesus had a plan greater than any they could understand, so they followed (immediately!). I couldn't help but squirm in my chair as I read it again,

"... he called them."

God doesn't always call us at a convenient time, but God's time is the right time.

"...and he called them."

But who will take care of our families? James and John were with their father, working toward perfecting his profession so they may take over and someday care for him. Yet Jesus called them away from their family and on to something more. Our stories are often the same - I know mine is. What if when I first heard God calling, I refused the call answering in honesty, "I cannot go now, for if I do, I may well give my poor mother a heart attack! I wouldn't want to put her through the stress and anxieties of so many unknowns that I call 'adventure'!"

"...and he called them."
"...and he called me."

The reality is, if we listen, we will hear that God is calling all of us to serve in some way. As we prepare to do so, we must remember that our active acceptance and obedience to follow Christ in response to our call is not something we have completed because we have accepted that call to serve. Especially for those of us preparing to work full time in our mission sites, it will be far too easy to go forth and become comfortable in our new homes. Soon, we will again have a routine we are following, we will be going on with our daily lives in these new places. It is then that we must remember again the words spoken to us here,

"...and he called them."
"...and he called me."

We will be called upon again and again, and as we seek to more fully live out that call, we shall seek to let go of the urgency of "fixing our nets" and to leave behind us our daily work to allow ourselves to be called, to be re-directed and re-shaped and re-formed into the kinds of servants that Christ is calling us to be in the here and the now.

"...and he called them."
"...and he called me."
"...and he called YOU."

What is Christ calling you to today? What is the net that you are focusing on while Jesus is calling us to move on, to follow him? There will always be a "net" that is easy to get caught up in. Are we willing to let God untangle us from it, that we might move beyond that which is comfortable and into a realm of the unknown service yet familiar (albeit intimidating) covenant of Christ?

Friday, October 2, 2009

A New Journey Begins

Mission Intern Update!

The planned site I was to be working at in Johannesburg ended up not working out, and at the last minute (the day before I was set to fly to NYC for training - I was already almost done packing, even!), I received a phone call telling me such. It came as a huge surprise to me - and certainly not a welcome one. I was informed my site would change, but that I would remain in South Africa. Instead, I would be working with an organization called SHADE (Sojourners: Health, Advocacy, Development, Education) alongside two other Mission Interns. We would will be roommates, travel and work together. Quite a change!

That was eight days ago, and I am already feeling significantly better about this change. It has certainly taken some adjustment for while it may not seem significant, this is indeed quite a change for me to take in. I am shifting from what would have been a role on pastoral staff serving Zimbabwean Refugees in the areas of community development and pastoral care, into a role that will mostly be fulfilled through an office.

My new position will be to work for SHADE as the "Health and Spirituality Facilitator for Satellite Projects in Mozambique, Lesotho, and Namibia." Quite a title, huh? I am not quite sure exactly what this will entail, but I do know our office base will be in Cape Town through January, at which time all of SHADE's offices are moving to Johannesburg, and so we will to. I also know this position will involve some traveling, including a conference in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in November and a visit to each of the satellite projects I will be working with.

I have been simultaneously grieving the loss of the position I was so excited about in Johannesburg, and growing in excitement over the great potential this new position with SHADE holds. While this process is not yet through, I am pleased to say that the overwhelming excitement is taking over, especially as I get to know the two girls with whom I will be living and working. We're very different, and oh-so-alike, all at the same time. I think it will prove for a lot of adventures and laughs in our time as roommates, and I'm really looking forward to it!

Before we know it, our training will conclude and on the 16th, we will arrive in Cape Town (though on different flights, as I had already booked a flight to Johannesburg).

I intend to keep updating this blog throughout the next three years as a missionary, effective immediately. Perhaps there will even be further updates from training in the next few days!