Category Archives: Lessons in South Africa

Why I Loved South Africa Today

Photo: Sullivan Photography

It’s alive today. Not in a perfect way. In a broken, hurting, raging way, for a pile of different reasons. Standing in the middle of Main Road, a chain of people line the sidewalks and streets in a nationwide protest against the current president, Jacob Zuma.  Car horns are sounding, flags are waving and there is something alive in the air. I am standing mostly beside elderly white people holding South African flags almost too big for their frail bodies. The wind whips and twirls the flag but these old ladies can hold their own against great white sharks during a morning swim. A rambunctious flag is no problem.

It’s not perfect, this protest. It should’ve happened sooner, for more humane causes. It should’ve been easier to call these voices to action when injustice sneered but people couldn’t be bothered.

But, there is today. Today, I saw a glimpse of the spirit of the nation-the nation that I read about in newspapers 23 years ago-I saw it, first hand in all of its colorful glory.

It’s unlike anything I can describe to you, this presence, this moment. It’s bulky and awkward and moves like a lumbering monster on a crowded street, appendages flailing, causing collateral damage in its wake. But moving it is. Rising it is. Roaring it is. The spirit of South Africa and her people, all their glorious diversity and rainbow nation-ness. This young republic, cumbersome with pain from the past, daring to wrestle with its future.

Photo: Sullivan Photography

I see different people groups standing together. I see each one, balancing both their wounds and their rage, each riddled with injustice or exhausted from fear.

I see the toyi-toying rhythms and hear the deep, low chanting. It gives me shivers and brings tears to my eyes. People born to sing and dance, well-practiced in the language of resistance. Their dancing and chanting need no instructor or guide. Each one innately knows the dance, learned from a small age. This is who we are. Powerful. Beautiful. A call to action that resonates from the soil itself.

I see the posters and cardboard signs outside the Coloured community, reminding passerby’s that they are there, right where the government left them 50 years ago. They are there, a community born to celebrate and laugh, burdened with violence and invisibility. But they are there, standing proud, taking their turn in the protest, voices heard, faces seen. They are aching and beautiful. They hold the healing answers. They are all of us.

I see the red, blue, green and white colors of the flag waving, just a baby in the life of this new South Africa. There, under the shadow of Nelson Mandela’s mosaic, stand the crowd of thousands reminding themselves that it was here, in this space, where the nation learned the power of a unified voice. Today, I saw a nation rise, lumbering and shaky, sore from the sitting. Together, the rainbow nation made a collective statement. This nation is more important than an empire, the people more valuable than a demagogue.

Today, I felt an electric jolt of hope that whispered of possibility as it winged its way through town.

And I marvel at how much this struggling nation will teach the struggling world.


*video Michael Bullock



Our new friend Sara inspired us to ASK BIG! So here it is!

OPERATION HOPE: As we have sought God’s heart, we find it more vast and more expansive than we ever dreamed. The depth of His love of us is without equal and without limit. He has big plans for His people and we are thrilled to be a part of it. We believe He has placed us here in Cape Town, the Mother City, to be a part of Him birthing something new into the earth. He is always doing a new thing.


WHO: We believe the first nation people of southern Africa, the Khoisan, to be a key component in God’s new thing. (Some believe they are the first nation people of the whole earth.) They are gate-keepers to the land, to the soil. As God draws us close to show us who we really are, we find that He is telling us we are both fully physical, people formed from the dust, and fully spiritual, made in the image and likeness of God. These gate keepers have a deeply spiritual way about them. Continue reading THE BIG ASK NEWS!

One of “Those” Weeks

IMG_0227Sunday: We dropped Dylan off at  Cape Town International airport to begin his six month study in Amsterdam. He’s pursuing God and running after adventure, which we fully embrace and applaud. It doesn’t make it any easier watching our blond-haired surfer walk through international security all by himself.

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 7.26.53 PMMonday: Our oldest, Jackson, turned 21 years old. Quite a significant milestone. Too bad we are 10,000 miles apart and were only able to celebrate with him over Skype. It’s not the first time we’ve been apart for his birthday, but the day still feels vacant. Screenshots don’t make the most attractive pictures.

IMG_0234Also on Monday: After three years of homeschooling, Ethan and Hudson begin their first day of high school in South Africa. We are super excited  they will be going to school yet…the unknowns create anxiety in this mom’s heart. Yes, today I spent most of the day worried that I’ve either thrown them to the wolves or given them wings to fly. *Yes, there is a height differential, even though they’re twins. Puberty is cruel and unjust. Continue reading One of “Those” Weeks

The “Just So Happened” Night

Tonight I “just so happened” to stop working on the computer to walk through the lounge on my way to the kitchen. I just so happened to have the urge to pull back the curtain to look outside to make sure the boogie man isn’t lurking in our bushes.

Lo, and behold. Tonight he was lurking. The boogie man made an appearance wearing capri pants and powder blue sweatshirt.

I just so happened to see a male figure walk in front of the van parked in front of the garage. My first thought was, “Oh, someone is coming to visit,” which would have worked if it weren’t nearly midnight. Continue reading The “Just So Happened” Night

Missions and Life Support


The last straw was the Facebook message I received. It was a good straw, as far as last straws go. A sweet friend messaged to ask how I “was really doing, and not just what she’s reading on Facebook or the website. Really.”

A caring friend will do that—recognize that you’re camouflaged under the social media facade and call you on it. Looking back over my blog posts and Facebook and twitter feed, I can see that my language changed; I became more cautious and less candid. Continue reading Missions and Life Support

I Wasn’t Expecting THAT for Christmas

The day before Christmas, somewhere between baking cinnamon rolls, and trying to remember if I have enough gifts for each child I have, there was a knock at the door. With flour on my hands and down the front of my shirt, I open the door wondering, “Who shows up here the day before Christmas and I hope this won’t take long.” Continue reading I Wasn’t Expecting THAT for Christmas

Emmanuel, God With Us. Really?

prickly2This is not a very merry Christmas and good tidings post. Maybe it’s tidings, but they sure don’t feel good.

Do you know when you hear the voice of God leading you to do something, go somewhere, speak to someone, and you do it? And crazy, cool things happen. And it gives you all the feelings and you float around all day in a cloud of awesomeness? I like when that plan comes together.

Usually, I hear pretty well and it leads to miracles and all sorts of fun. But I have to tell you, either I heard completely wrong or God just played an awfully mean trick. Continue reading Emmanuel, God With Us. Really?

An Afternoon with God in Greenmarket Square

watercolors1Perfect weather. Friday afternoon, Halloween weekend. Downtown Cape Town. We set up a tent in a little space in one of the busiest areas of the city: Greenmarket Square. Vendors from all over Africa try to convince tourists they need to buy pricey ostrich eggs, hand painted canvas and leather belts.

I have never done ‘prophetic art’ which is where you sit across from a complete stranger, ask God what He wants to say to that person and then paint a picture or word about that message. First, I don’t paint, draw or have nice handwriting. So you can imagine my surprise when people would clutch their paintings and swear to frame them. Continue reading An Afternoon with God in Greenmarket Square