This trip is going to be different than any of my previous travels. Already it is shaping up to be more about what God is doing in me and how he is changing me, rather than an experience of some other sort. Breifly, not to bore, I will share about what my purpose is turning out to be and my time here and then share about how God is moving in my life and what I am learning about myself.

We have spent much of our time in meetings – my favorite, Board meetings. Although I have always loved meetings for strategic planning, just haven’t had them in Africa before. I deeply respect the team and the members that will be apart of this. We have quickly become friends and a level of trust is forming that will go great lengths for us. Simply put, I have met some amazing people – from the US, Canada, Swaziland and South Africa. We all believe that God has brought each one of us here for a purpose.

We spent 4 hours touring the town, barely got to see anything. We could be up here 8 hours a day for 2 weeks and not see everything. It is bigger than anything I imagined. The possibilities are endless. Currently, we believe there are over 1,000 people living here which are employed by our Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s). Today we are going to go and spend more time visiting the schools within the town, the hospital and evaluate the different types of homes. Some of the types of business that have begun are just amazing. From a grassroots level some of the Swazi people here in Bulembu have been so diligent and are unbelievable entrepreneurs. Dlami, who used to be a taxi-driver took over at the lumber mill as we let the Duma go to cut overhead (basically he was a white supervisor). Dlami has now ramped up production almost 50% and continues to grow production, doing a fantastic job with the 200 workers he manages. I could tell you story after story of how people here are so ready to overcome and are so hopeful. It is mind boggling how I walk around the town and see so many smiles, while at home as we walk around, smiles are nearly absent. I will certainly blog again and talk more about Bulembu, the people, the history the context.

I don’t understand why we are the way we are sometimes. The pain that I felt and the place of brokenness that I went through before I left I couldn’t attach to one event or to a single occurrence. It was a destined place by God though. Since leaving, that brokenness has allowed my affection to explode and cascade into my heart like a torrent of truth and love. I have learned much about myself over the year as I come more and more into my adulthood and discover who I am. Much of my pain I think comes from the fact that I see too much and feel too much. With some of my friends, I sit there and can just feel the pain they go through and it breaks my heart. It will way so heavy on me. I always thought I was more of a tough athletic jock – but the more I grow in age, I realize I have an artistic side. My mother is incredibly artistic, which I never thought was passed to me – well it was, just thought like I thought it would be. My feelings and ability to express them that is my art. I feel that I ricochet between agony and ecstasy because I take everything so personally. Where other people feel kicked by an unkind word, I feel disemboweled by it. The slightest provocation can induce a week long struggle of rejection for me. Such extraordinary sensitivity is a blessing and a heartache – just depending how you want to look at it. I am beginning to learn that I don’t regret this about myself, rather I thank God for how he has made me. The last few weeks before I left I cried often. I haven’t cried more than once in the last 2 years. It is a powerful experience to be brought to tears and not really know the source of such sadness. It has served me well here in Africa and I feel God was kind enough to bring me to a place of brokenness, to bring me to this unbelievable continent and to these people who are full of kindness and love. Oh how our God is so good.