Monday, November 30, 2009
Just a quick note to let you know of something extraordinary and wonderful that I have the privilege of attending this week. It's a conference at the University of Cape Town (UCT) that is called 'Beyond Reconciliation.' In short, it is 5 days of seminars, sessions, and lectures concerning all the justice issues I am really passionate about. I am SO excited about this and also will be seeking out people and contacts for possible further study at UCT, which has been an interest of mine for some time. The conference info is at the link www.beyondreconciliation.co.za, feel free to check it out, and I would love your prayers beginning on Wednesday as I soak up all this knowledge, wisdom, and experience!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
It's so hard to describe the emotions I am feeling, but you know that I'll enjoy trying :)
So this process of shipping our stuff here, emotionally, has taken us on a roller-coaster. First, we knew we wanted to ship stuff because we figured we had to. We had two suitcases each that we could bring on the plane and needed more than that because of Kieren and her stuff. We have been living out of four suitcases (between all three of us) for 10 weeks now. When we started to pack stuff to ship, it was first Kieren's stuff, then books, then towels and sheets (expensive to buy, easy to ship), then kitchen stuff, then clothes, then shoes, then clothes, then more clothes, then I went on come insane Target runs trying to get ANYTHING I would need (I was in a manic state at this point). We also shipped bikes, Kieren's stroller, and a couple other bigger items. It was annoying even at the time because I KNEW we would be annoyed that we had it all once it arrived in South Africa because we wouldn't need it all and then be living a simpler life in Africa. At the end of the day, we shipped stuff knowing we might even give it away, but knew it would go to grateful people.
Once we got here, we first greatly longed for our missed items. My 'Scrubs' TV show DVDs (WHY did I ship them?!? I needed them those first weeks...), maybe ONE hammer or screwdriver, a nice pair of shoes for church, little things from our house. Then, we began to furnish our home here and I realized we had shipped WAY too much and just HAD too much. Uugghh. Why do we have to be so 'American' and have so much??!? Then I began again to long for our things, the Scrubs DVDs, just little things for the house, etc.
Today our boxes were dropped off. We were jumping around and hugging each other when they called this morning to say today was the day. Casey is out now running a couple errands, so I have opened by myself four boxes and feel like I'm moving through the stages of grief or something. Denial (it's not that much), happiness (oh this stuff is so nice to have again!), upset stomach (oh no, only through four boxes and the house is full.... can we send it back?), and major REALITY CHECK (our stuff is here, now we live here FOR REAL).
So yeah, we will now spend the next week unpacking, joyously celebrating things we have missed, giving away things we know we don't need, making our home totally OURS now and settling in for good. The strangest emotion I feel is one that is mixed with peace, sadness, and joy at the realization that this is now our home. Permanently. It's so right but there is still a twinge of mourning. But it's so right. I am thinking a bike ride along the beach on this beautiful 75 degree day might help ease the pain :)
Lots of love,
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
It is so unbelievable that this is the week of Thanksgiving because it is not celebrated at all here in Africa (the pilgrims didn't make it over here on their journey...). One of those things that of course makes sense, but I would love to see a cartoon turkey this week! We will be celebrating with a feast and football on Thursday with a group of American missionaries, so don't worry, we will be getting started on our pre-Christmas weight gain too :) Around here, the build up for Christmas very muted compared to what you are experiencing in the States, but there are echos of the season approaching. The main problem is that it is HOT right now – I sing the song mentioned in this blog title to say it is frightfully summery here. I found it notably odd that I finally noticed Christmas trees at the mall yesterday as I was wiping the sweat from my brow from the walk from car to mall entrance. Hopefully one day our little mall will get air conditioning....
In other Prince news, baby Kieren is back to her old self and seemingly feeling all better. You could tell she was on the mend by about Friday when she was again overly 'talkative' and bouncing all around the house. I have been still struggling with cough and migraines, but went AGAIN to a doctor yesterday and hope to be on the road towards health. It has been frustrating and depressing working through these past weeks as many days I can't make it through the whole day because of migraines and am forced to rest often. It's not that I mind resting, it's that I would rather sleep at night and be active in the day. So I would love prayers as I continue to try to get healthy; I know it will happen eventually.
We are relatively busy around here with many different things going on. I am visiting various support group meetings and functions for Living Hope and trying to get a feel for how things have been running here so I can lead and mentor these friends well. It really is inspiring to see how sacrificially these people support and lead others in their community – it is so much more than just a job for them. Also, EVERY staff member at Living Hope will receive a 15% pay cut in the new year, as much of Living Hope's funding was cut because PEPFAR (Presidents Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief) in Obama's new budget. It's a real shame, but these people are having such a positive attitude about it and even will be helping to raise money for the organization in the new year. I think will eventually be a good thing as it will help Living Hope to not be reliant on our government, but it's hard right now. Also, I helped on Sunday night with a church service we held – it was a service of 'Remembrance and Light' to remember those who had passed this year. It was particularly meaningful for Casey as he had some time to give thanks for Patrick Looney, who passed last week. For me, it was special because I got to assist in serving Holy Communion for the first time to my new congregation – which is always such a gift! This week I will assist Kyle, the pastor, in bringing communion to some church members who are home-bound, so I look forward to that, as well.
Casey is keeping busy with making plans for December as he will hold some soccer clinics at local schools for Ubuntu Sports Outreach. We are so excited to be taking our first steps – and would love your prayers as Casey decides how to navigate in these early months.
Oh, and PRAISE – our shipped items from home are being delivered on WEDNESDAY! We are excited!
Well, that's all for now, have a great day!
Lots of love,
Friday, November 20, 2009
This is our very good friend Bernadette's daughter, Amy. She LOVES Kieren!
This is Marleen. She is in Sarah's support group. She also LOVES Kieren. She always brings her gifts. She has started doing some 'gardening' for us.
She is a 'chip off the old block'. We even have the same hairline and style! Yes, I do look tired, it was early!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Songs of Praise
1 In that day you will say:
"I will praise you, O
Although you were angry with
your anger has turned away
and you have comforted me.
2 Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be
The LORD, the LORD, is my
strength and my song;
he has become my salvation."
3 With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.
4 In that day you will say:
"Give thanks to the LORD, call
on his name;
make known among the nations
what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is
5 Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the
6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of
Israel among you."
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I just received an email that has wrecked me to my core. Patrick Looney, a beloved mentor and friend died on Tuesday. Patrick was the Student and Associate Pastor at Millbrook Methodist Church during my middle school and high school years. For those of you that knew me then, you will remember him, but those who didn’t know me missed out.
He had an enormous influence on my spiritual life. No other man, outside of my own dad, had as much influence during those years than Patrick. He was there at some massively shaping moments.
He was the one that took me (with John Massey and Susan Massey Resar) to the Franklin Graham Youth Rally when I was a 10th grader where I heard the Gospel in a new way and fully committed my life to following Jesus.
He was in the hospital with my Mom at the moment that she had to decide to turn off the machines that were keeping my Dad alive. And he was with her when they came back to the house to tell me. He walked the road closely with us.
And he again walked the road with me as my Mother died about a year and a half later. Patrick was available, loyal, and loving to me during the most important times in my life.
But he was also there in some really great moments where he displayed his sense of humor and sensitivity. He once took Mikey Resar and I to an Acquire the Fire conference and explained the charismatic world to us when the girl in front us “fell out.” We were young spiritually, but he helped us understand it. He was always reminding me what an accomplished baseball player he once was, which I didn’t believe. J He also tried to make a point of telling me how good the Georgia Bulldogs were. He would try to come watch me play soccer, but we began to notice a pattern of us losing when he came. So, he thought he was cursed, but he still wanted to support me, so he would stand outside the gates thinking that somehow that didn’t bring on the curse. Patrick, in this great sense of humor, is the one that said of my Dad, at his funeral, “Wilbur could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves on a hot summer day.” I wonder what funny line will be crafted to describe him on Friday?
Patrick and I had spoken some this summer as I shared with him what our family was about to do. And then I got to see him in late August at an anniversary celebration at Millbrook Methodist. I hope that he had a little pride in knowing that the seeds he planted in me all those years ago were still being harvested and now planted into others.
Though I am completely broken-hearted today I know that when Patrick entered Heaven that many people greeted him that have been touched and influenced by his life. I now look forward to him greeting me there one day and me getting to thank him for what he has done in me.
Thanks for the love and prayers!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Wow, ear infections are SO common in the US, and it was just Kieren's first. I thought so much yesterday about our pediatrician's office in Raleigh, called Raleigh Pediatrics. It is a beautiful facility, with timely, educated staff and doctors. They also have a 24 hour nurse help-line for every parent's tiny scare and worry. Here in South Africa, parents wait all day for their child to be seen by a doctor or someone else. My mother yesterday was asking about the swine flu and if it is a problem in SA. Honestly, I have no idea, because it probably isn't being diagnosed if it is here! I hear about kids having fevers and stomach bugs, but they just stay home from school until they get better. Rarely does anyone go to the doctor, and sickness just isn't a worry. Health care officials are more talking about testing and treatment for HIV and tuberculosis here, problems that make an ear infection look trite.
Here was the real frustration for me yesterday – myself. I couldn't believe how frustrated I could get, and just what I believed I 'deserved' for my privileged, white family. Of course, I didn't verbalize these thoughts, but I was ashamed that I even thought them. We are so privileged to have great health care in America (if we can afford it, of course) and it is a gift that we so often overlook. And we were able to finally leave the dingy halls of that clinic and pay to see a doctor, when these other people didn't have that luxury. Even more, for most of the world, they don't even have access to a doctor because there isn't one or they can't afford.
So another great lesson in the classroom of life today, and I leave this session recognizing my need to be so grateful that I can care for my child whenever a problem arises. Kieren is of course FINE and probably just had a slight annoyance at some ear pain for a day or two....
Thanks for learning with me,
Monday, November 16, 2009
I am writing this Monday morning and just trying to get some things done today! We are learning about the pace of life here in Africa, and it seems that weekends don't include any time for tasks and getting things done. Pretty much most of the weekend people are coming by the house, calling, and hanging out. It was also BEAUTIFUL weather (finally) and so everyone wanted to be outside and enjoy it. Some of the highlights of the weekend were: enjoying watching the kids play soccer in our yard on Saturday, dinner with American and African friends on Saturday night, hitting up the crazy 'market' near the beach on Sunday, a birthday 'braii' (or BBQ) for Andy celebrating him turning 19 years old on Sunday night. Many things in between, but it was certainly a great time. We are really blessed to have so many wonderful people already in our life here, and it's just a joy to share it. Kieren is the icing on top (and I really love icing!) and just makes every time with friends an extra joy as we watch and enjoy her. This week we hope to catch up on some loose end details, and both move forward with some more details of our ministries. Casey hopes to get into schools and meet up with principals and teachers he can partner with. I want to clarify more my role with Living Hope and then hopefully spend some time getting to hear more about the groups and leaders I will be supporting.
Hope you all had lovely weekends as well; lots of love to you!
Friday, November 13, 2009
The whole time we spent there was only just over an hour, and I could have stayed much longer, but it was precious time for me. These moments certainly don't happy every day; that is not the reality of missionary life. But they DO happen, and what a treasure they are. I am so thankful that God has brought us here and today He reminded me why. Praise God!
Lots of love,
He’s a Life Skills Educator for Living Hope. We grew close with him when we were here before and we quickly and easily reconnected since we’ve been back.
Shagmie is getting married in February to a young lady named Lauren whom we really adore. Her family invited us in to their home when we were here before and that one evening convinced us that we should live in Oceanview. So, as a couple, they are very special to us.
Well, Shagmie came over to ask me to be the Best Man in his wedding!! I’m so totally humbled! He said amazing things about me being a man that will hold him accountable to the things he is promising and that they really look up to Sarah and I for our marriage.
I’m so excited about this day. It’s a wedding on the beach in Fish Hoek, I get to wear white linen (!), and we’ll get to party with our colored friends. But mostly, we’re just so excited to have connected with people here in this significant way. To be invited into someone’s life for such a significant occasion is just amazing. We were just hoping to get invited and now I get to stand up there next to Shagmie.
Thanks be to God for connecting brothers across cultures, nations, and distance.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I Need Thee Every Hour
I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.
I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.
I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.
I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.
I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me Thine indeed, Thou blessèd Son.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I'm here at the internet cafe connecting with email and people, just trying to stay dry and warm here in South Africa! It's supposed to be summer here but it's COLD (well, 50 degrees almost at 60) and very windy and rainy which makes it feel awful outside! I am going to overdose on hot tea because I crave it all the time in this weather! Despite the weather we are having a good week, finding ourselves busy each day with many things as we settle and venture out further into ministry. Casey met with another school principal in our area this week, and continues to try to being forming relationships with schools in order to start Ubuntu programs there. So far he has been very welcomed and well-received. I have been meeting with some support group leaders and met with my 'boss' Avril for Living Hope on Monday and will soon clarify my roles more fully with them. This morning I went to the Ocean View Methodist church and led a Bible study there - it is open for all but is attended by about 10-15 of the older generation at the church. It was a wonderful time of study, discussion, and just getting to know these new friends. And as is almost required in South Africa, it was followed with hot tea, cookies, and more conversation. Things are so much slower here in pace and it's really enjoyable! I am thankful to get to know the church here more and more and they are so welcoming and open to me!
Well, I will be off to work through some other tasks of the day. Hope you week is also moving along beautifully! Enjoy the changing and falling leaves for us - we miss them (but not raking them up...).
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Everyone has been asking about our mailing address here in South Africa, so here it is below. We get letters right at our house, and they come into a box that is locked with a key so they will be safe. For packages, we will have to pay a tax on them by the size, so know that when you send them. Anything bigger than a letter, we will get a notice in our box to pick it up at the post office. Bubble envelope mailers are easiest to send because they are cheapest for us to receive and pay tax on. I hear it takes around 10 days to receive something from the States (but I think it's probably longer...). Thanks everyone, and we would love to get any mail!
Casey and Sarah Prince
c/o Ocean View Methodist Church
1 Zodiac Way
Ocean View 7975
Republic of South Africa
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Just wanted to see if you want to be involved in something we are doing for a special group we work with here. Last time we worked here I helped to lead a support group of persons living with HIV, and I am helping to lead the group again. Most of the members are still in the group and it has been wonderful to reconnect with them again and share Kieren with them.
In December, the new leader (and my friend Bernedette) is planning an outing for the group to Cape Point, which is a beautiful site and the southernmost point in Africa. We want to see the site and have a picnic lunch for them. We would like to provide the food for the lunch and Bernedette and I will prepare it. This is a bit out of our budget, so we would love some financial help if you would like to donate to this. Please let me know if you are interested by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The outing will be December 8th and I will share the pictures and stories soon afterwards!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
It is mid-day on Tuesday, and Kieren is taking a nap giving us a few quiet minutes to update you. We wish you a belated Happy Halloween and hope you are enjoying some great candy stashes! Here they really don't celebrate the holiday. In the malls you saw a few places where you could get some Halloween stuff, but especially in the townships it is ignored and really considered something that worships or celebrates demonic things. They did have some 'festivals' this weekend, but nothing related to the holiday. We sure missed our candy corns – and how cute would Kieren have been as a fat pumpkin or something?? Our church had a 'bazaar' on the lawn which also happens to be our front yard, and they had a jumping castle, games, food, and booths selling small items. It was a great event to meet some people and enjoy the beautiful day. We walked to our community library which was so much fun and got our very own cards! You can get books, magazines, games, and dvds there, so we plan on visiting frequently. It's also just a nice thing to meet more people here and be among the community.
Sunday we visited our new church, Ocean View Methodist Church, for the first time. We were welcomed in and began the awkward process of meeting all our new family here and learning about this church. It honestly made me miss our church in Raleigh, Grace Community, and just how it feels to know everyone and what is going on. But I know this is a new season for us from God and we have to welcome it even when it feels uncomfortable. I went to a meeting of sorts last night at the church, it was some of the leaders and was supposed to be a bible study but ended up being a big discussion about some of the problems in the church. It was striking at how similar the issues are to what I have experienced at our church in Raleigh! I already love these leaders though because they are spunky and have a great attitude, and it looks like much of my work at the church will be helping to lead and raise them up. I am greatly looking forward to it, but again not sure how to start this process – it's just so new and so many new people! I would love prayers as I begin to wade into these new waters!
We are experiencing beautiful weather here right now and trying to enjoy it with walks and runs and sitting out on the lawn with Kieren. Summer is on the horizon and it feels great (don't mean to rub it in!). One strange thing about the weather is that many days it is unbelievably windy, where it can even be hard to walk around outside and the wind howls and beats on the house all night. It is hectic!
With lots of love,