On the way to Doolof is a shoe store that makes leather shoes that are cheap compared to US prices for leather shoes. We stopped in quickly to shop on our way to Doolof.
At Doolof Meyer talked a little bit and then led a group on a river walk while others of us went to the labyrinth. The purpose was to be in the moment. We were to look around, listen to the sounds of nature and be in the moment. I walked the labyrinth because I LOVE labyrinths. As I walked the labyrinth there is one view that is amazing. The mountains are in the background with trees and green grass. It is a breathtaking view.
I saw that view but since I was to be in the moment and tuned into nature I saw other smaller items that were also beautiful.
This little yellow flower was one of the many things that stuck out to me. The message God spoke to me was don't miss out on the little smaller beautiful moments because you are so focused on the big amazing view of the mountains.
On these trips, people want to see something accomplished. We built a house. That is the big amazing view. Everyone wants to know what you accomplished on the trip. What is harder to see are the millions of little tiny interactions that make up our trip that are the tiny flowers that are easily overlooked. I didn't lay one brick on this trip. I took pictures on the worksite and handed out candy to everyone. I have nothing concrete to show for this trip but I have a million small moments that I wouldn't trade for anything.
I will never forget one of the workmen on the worksite asking me for a masking tape name tag. It was important to him. Everyone on the worksite had name tags so we could call people by name. You can see Abie's name tag on his shirt. He posed for this picture for my son Seth. This is one of the smaller beautiful moments from our trip that I don't want to forget.
The ice cream truck that we had on Friday for the Mosaic kids, employees and volunteers. I handed the ice cream out to the kids. It was a waffle cone with vanilla ice cream and sprinkles. We went for the deluxe cone. I started to tear up when I handed the cones out to the smallest kids that came up first. The look in their eyes was priceless. Another small flower or beautiful moment from our trip. was present and shared this moment in time with those kids, employees and volunteers.
Ma's for Wellington - After their Thursday program was over, we stayed and we anointed the volunteers and gave them a small packet of candy that included a Bible verse that I pray for them all the time.
May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.
I love encouraging these women. They are doing the hard work every week loving the 160 preschool age children that come to Ma's for Wellington on Tuesday and Thursday. We sang and danced during this time. This was once again another one of the beautiful moments on this trip. I can't show anyone anything concrete from this one moment in time but it is one where we were all connected and we loved each other with God's amazing pure love and it was beautiful.
I literally can go on and on with stories like this. The women's Bible study on Friday at OHISA that Louise led for the Mosaic mothers. The home visits with Cornel on Wednesday morning. Our group visiting from John the bead guy a friend of Cornels that has been very sick to buy souvenirs. The birthday meal at our house that Hennie and Katie cooked where they came out with two amazing cakes playing a birthday song and dancing. So many little moments where the lives of our group intersected with the lives of people in South Africa changing us both.
One last little flower from the trip is the friendships that the mission trip team members build on the trip. We shared so many special moments on this trip. We each brought different perspectives and life experiences to this trip. The trip touched all of us in different ways and I love how that happens. They were a great group and I will be forever changed because the paths of our lives crossed for this two week period in South Africa.
I am thankful for the reflection time that we had. I will be honest and say that I thought about missing it to go say goodbye to my friends at Ma's for Wellington. It breaks my heart that I didn't have time to do that but I am so glad I stayed. Meyer and Louise led us through a reflection time. Tony and I spoke a little and then we went around the table and said something we were thankful for. This was our one connection to Thanksgiving. :-)
After Doolof, we headed to Cape Town to visit the waterfront for a few hours before we flew out of the Cape Town airport that evening.
When Tony spoke at Doolof he told people to come up with a 30 second response to give to people when asked about the trip. I thought about this as we drove home from the DC airport. My 30 second response to the question "How was your trip?" is...
The trip was heartbreaking and humbling but full of God's hope and love.