Learning to breathe

learningtobreathe

We’ve now been here for 8 months. It has been the quickest 8 months of my life… but also the slowest. It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever really been forced to slow down.

When we first arrived, oh I got bored!

Bored – of looking after the kids,
Bored – of there being nothing to do that wasn’t at least 20km away,
Bored – of being hot,
Bored – of myself who grew bigger and bigger as the quieter days continued.

We persevered and what has happened is a simpler more contented perspective.

I have grown to …

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No more foreigners

mthethwa

At the moment there’s a lot of fear and hype surrounding Xenophobia in SA. There has been a new wave of attacks on foreigners, in several big cities. Many hundreds of Zimbabweans, Congolese, and Indians have been forced to leave the country, whilst businesses have been burnt down and looted.

So far, there’s been very little sign of it in rural areas, and media coverage of the city violence appears to have been blown out of proportion – but its still a slightly tense time to be a non local living in South Africa.

You can deal with foreigners

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You are free

UsInHarrismith-forblog

In March, we had the opportunity to visit Harrismith, the town we’ve stayed in during all our previous South Africa visits. You can see the Platberg behind us in the photo, the majestic mountain that hovers over the town.

It was a real blessing to see our lovely friends, and Freedom Church gave me the honour of preaching at their Sunday morning fellowship.

Continuing on a theme from our talk on Sending Sunday, I used Ephesians 2 as the basis for my talk.

Feel free to download it here, or listen by clicking play below.


Apologies

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The New South Africa

The New South Africa

Last week we went to the beach at Sodwana. It was probably not the best time to visit, given that it was the day after New Year, a day that traditionally *everyone* heads to the seaside.

But we went anyway, with our lovely Scottish friends Paul & Debbie (read their awesome blog about living in Soshanguve township). As expected, the streams of tourists meant that the queue to get onto the beach parking took more than an hour – it usually takes us a few minutes – but we persevered.

Once through the parking barrier, there were approximately …

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Emmanuel

Neriah Alone

I’ll be honest, the past month has been tough. 

We’ve had illness, on calls, broken cars and stretched cash. It’s also been the first time in my life where I have felt homesick.

You see, I asked God to break me, change me, do what He needs to do to get me where He needs me to be. Shortly after that prayer… the car broke down on a remote beach whilst Joen and Chris were away camping. There really was a possibility that our car would have to stay there forever, and we’d have to say goodbye to convenience and …

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A trip to the beach

Joen on Black Rock Beach

This weekend, myself and Joen went away for a trip without the girls. Just father and son, enjoying a trip to the remote Black Rock Beach with some of our friends from the hospital.

It was my first experience of real 4×4 offroading. Not only did I have to use the 4×4, I had to put it in ultra low gear mode, and in the end I still had to give up on one hill and find another route round.

After a fairly exhilarating 2 hour scramble along sand dunes and vague attempts at dirt tracks, the beach was incredible. …

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Baby Chris

babychris

After a pretty difficult day on call for labour ward, I went in yesterday to check up on the baby I was worried about.

Happily, he is well, but I also discovered that he is now called “Chris” – after me!

I was euphoric for the whole day, telling all the other doctors, and generally grinning a lot. Difficult to explain exactly why, but having a child named after you, its breathtaking. I feel honoured, and undeserving, and protective, and… humbled.

Which is odd, because its an event that could be a big ego builder. “I’m so amazing, mothers

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An actual holiday

Joen & Neriah in Swaziland

I stopped working in the NHS on the 5th  August. It is currently the 7th  of September. Technically, I’ve been on holiday for more than a month now.

It has definitely not felt like a holiday.

Which, actually, is a bit odd : because its shared many of the same components as a holiday.

  • We had a period of time at home, packing, planning, preparing.
  • There was the travel, the cars, the airports, the planes, the baggage, the endless screaming of young children.
  • Finally, we just spent a week in a reasonably nice house –  just like a
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Start as you mean to go on…

wpid-img_20140821_151859.jpg

Lots of people have warned us that this is going to be hard.

Specifically, they’ve warned that a year of medical mission in a township with hardly any English speaking people, and none of our normal support around us, will be emotionally, physically, spiritually draining.

Just as we were getting better, Joen decided to spend an entire night vomiting. I got to sleep on the floor next to him, ready with a bucket.

I think we expect that, and we’ve tried to sensibly prepare for it. What we weren’t prepared for was:

  • Our children barely sleeping the night before we
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