Step Into My World…

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Our Stories…

Once upon a time, a situation happened where I think I accidentally pooped on a policeman… I’ll get to that story in a second. This week has been a big week for me!

For starters I learnt how to ride a motorbike, alone?! Ok so my friend was chasing the bike up and down the road in case I started to tumble but still, I was alone on the bike! Secondly, I hosted my first ever dinner “party” here! For 2 years I’ve been putting it off, mainly due to the size of my flat. But I really really miss having people over so I just decided to make it happen. God was kind, the thunder and lightning was CRAY (down with the lingo) and it rained but not enough for us to move from outside to inside. However what made this a big week was – for the first time in South Africa I told someone my testimony.

It’s been interesting for me coming to South Africa. I came to a place where really no one knew me. Apart from one person who was my cabin mate on the ship. I have no history here. No one I went to school with, did life with… in so many ways it has been kind of freeing. Like a way to start over. No one remembers that one time I may or may not have pooped on a policeman. True story. It’s titled “The Flying Poo Story”. Keep reading, I will get to it.

But what has also been interesting is no one has asked to hear my story until very recently. Each one of us has a life story; stories of powerful journeys that shape us into who we are today. Our hopes, dreams, fears, memories, heartbreaks, failures, winning moments, funny stories, family… our heart and mind is formed from these. So I’ve been wondering a question, do people not ask me, or is asking, “tell me your story”, something we just don’t do?

If my guess is right, and we are just not very good at asking people to share their story, then why is that?

When I was invited to share my life story this week I was a little anxious. Anxious because it has potential to bring up thoughts or even past addictions; and anxious because it does definitely bring up fear. Fear of rejection, fear of judgement. I know in my head the issue lies with that person if they chose to reject or judge but in my heart it’s still painful. I find people sometimes don’t look at me the same way again. I’m so sensitive to loss and change; and that type of relationship shift is next level sucky.

On the flip side, do we actually really want to know people? Sometimes I chose to not ask people to share their stories because I fear being burdened with it. Like somehow I will open Pandora’s Box by asking them to share and I then will have to deal with any life issues they reveal about themselves. Sometimes my relationships existed only for the purpose of having a good time; and there was no reason to break the illusion by bringing authenticity in it. I think I was a little too broken to know how to do real friendship with my old party friends. We only knew how to party. Hard.

In other words, maybe we don’t ask people because we’re afraid of their reaction; the impact it might have on us; the fear of being burdened; or maybe we just don’t want that kind of friendship. Maybe we have relationships where we are actually actively saying, “I chose not to know you.

I know right… #micdrop

I’ve always loved people but I think my attitude to relationships changed after I got sick when I was 19 years old. My body gave up a little and I found myself in hospital for 3 weeks, then a wheelchair for an additional month. It changed even more when I was 20 years old, once I went to the ship for a year. Then when Mike died… shoot, at 21 years old there was no going back for me after that.

I changed, and I’m not the same person anymore. I still struggle with that change. Especially after Mike. It messes a lot with one’s identity. Like for so long I was confused whether I really was an extrovert or if I was actually an introvert. Thankfully I’m still 100% an extrovert?! But I’m deeper, way more sensitive, far more intentional, and the story matters to me. Your story, their story, my story, His story.

Asking someone to share their story is major. Yes, you need wisdom and discernment in doing so. But where possible I really want to encourage you to look for those opportunities to ask someone to tell you their story! It has so so so much potential:to bring healing to the person; to bring fresh revelations of who God is for you and for them; to bring reestablishment of their identity and value; and to basically bring truth, hope, and freedom to their lives.

Unless you really want to choose not know someone, if asking a person to share their story has so much power, why wouldn’t we want to embrace these beautiful opportunities to say to each other, “I see you”.

P.s. Yea, so sorry. I’m totally not ready to blog about the poop story yet haha 😉

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My Life Group

PCOS is not a new concept to me. In 2007 I was struggling with my health and I had a laparoscopy operation where they went through my belly button to investigate. The doctor later told me I was borderline, some doctors would say I had PCOS and others wouldn’t. In his opinion I didn’t have PSCO.

However I was apparently borderline and so when things seemed to be getting serious with my last boyfriend I told him. I just explained what had happened, what the condition was and that maybe there might be difficulty getting pregnant. He couldn’t handle it. More than once in the months to follow he said, “Akila did you do something to cause this? You must have done something.

The possibility of having PCOS was one of the reasons why our relationship came to an end. So you can forgive me for being so afraid of rejection now that it’s been confirmed I do have PCOS. Why in my last blog I said, “I can’t envision a guy having that faith. Am I belittling people’s faith – no, not at all. What I’m saying is I don’t think a guy will have faith in me. I can’t imagine being good enough just as I am for someone else. I can’t imagine a guy would pick me…

But God is incredibly faithful. I didn’t tell anyone back home that I was going to the hospital last month; and the very day after my hospital appointment my sister told me she received a message from my pastor.

Laura was just thinking about your Akila and then Genesis 8:11 popped into my head ad I just wanted to pass it on to her. A seemingly random verse but wondered if it is specific to her situation this week. But I don’t have her number on this phone or whatsapp?! Could you please forward this message please? ‘He waited 7 more days and sent out the dove again. It came back in the evening with a freshly picked olive leaf in its beak. Noah knew that the flood was about to be finished.’

I was so surprised. And yet not at all. Surprised my pastor sent this message to me but not surprised that God was speaking. Speaking hope, peace and truth back into my life. I suppose like Noah I felt a little trapped, scared, uncertain of the future, and no way to really know my fate. Noah looked out and only saw water, I looked out and only saw aloneness. Noah sent the dove out to get confirmation of his being able to return to land; God sent me an olive leaf confirmation that He is faithful and He hasn’t abandoned me.

My church life group here in South Africa have been amazing. God’s really used them to bring community and belonging into my life again.

Side note: for the first time in my life I find myself feeling so free to be me. I don’t feel inadequate in their spirituality, I don’t feel I need to prove anything, I just feel embraced and included. It helps that some of them seemingly have very high emotional intelligence levels haha. But because they give me so much freedom to be myself I find that I just want to keep giving back to them. At the moment it seems to involve a lot of food haha. Two girls moved recently and there were plenty of guys to help them physically move their belongings, I just bought the cinnamon rolls and chocolate croissants to keep them all fed and happy haha.

Side Note 2.0: I miss my parent’s house so much. I miss the big kitchen and the big living room to have people over. I miss people coming over for a cup of tea, or for dinner or just to hang out. But because my friends in my life group bring out a desire in me to invest in them I’m looking for ways to make things happen in the context I’m in. This week I’m attempting my first dinner party in my teeny tiny flat haha.

But back on topic. The depth of community and belonging is going deeper than what most of them probably realize. For example there is a guy in my life group that is really helping me navigate through some of the health things. I don’t think he really knows about my health, or that he’s helping me, but he is.

Back in August he was in a bike accident where a lady in a car turned right and cut him off. He was in hospital for a couple weeks and the doctor had to remove 3 toes on his right foot because they were too damaged. His attitude though is really amazing. I keep thinking if someone did that to me I’d be so pissed off. But he’s really trying to lay it down and give it all to Jesus.

Our health situations are very different but his continual laying it down and walking in grace helps me to think about my situation and how I can do that. He seems pretty unburdened by the accident, and that encourages me to keep working on getting to a place where I too can just be free and unafraid.

I just find it so special when God uses our friends to help us in deep ways without them realizing it. It inspires me to keep striving to be available to God to help others like that also. And to believe I too can be a candle in people’s lives even if I can’t always see it. But mostly I’m just really grateful God is using this amazing group of people to redeem past words, past rejections and past dreams that have been buried out of fear. I hope one day they each really understand what they did for me.

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:4-7

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The Day I Was Told I Might Not Have Kids…

Tuesday night I was with my church small group for our weekly “doing life together”, and we were talking about guilt and shame. I have to admit I felt pretty detached throughout the whole evening but towards the end I started praying & a revelation literally hit me so intensely that I lost it crying.

Exactly 5 weeks ago today I went to visit the hospital; and I was diagnosed with PCOS. My revelation on Tuesday night was that since that hospital trip I’ve been walking around with so much fear, and so much shame. My head knows truth, my heart is struggling to stay on the same track.

PCOS is short for polycystic ovarian syndrome. Apparently it effects 10-20% of women, according to the internet, though I’m not sure how much I trust the internet. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I feel a little sick I try to diagnose myself by googling my symptoms. And every time I do so Google tells me I need to seek urgent medical help because I’m basically dying of some random disease that I’ve never heard of.

I’m going to save you the biological lesson, you can Google “PCOS” and research it yourself, but basically I’m not producing the hormones needed to release eggs and that has a knock on effect in other ways. For example it also messes with insulin and causes one to be resistant to insulin. If you don’t get that under control then it can lead to diabetes and heart disease.

The great news is I don’t have diabetes and there’s a lot I can do to keep things going in a good direction – eat a low GI diet, exercise, be healthy… basically do all the things I should be doing anyways. But there is one key thing that it also effects, fertility.

I have talked to people since finding all this out but I don’t tell them the fertility part. Just the insulin part. I call the PCOS, “a medical condition”. It’s not that I don’t want people to know, it’s I just don’t know what to say. What do you say? Actually… there is a lot to be said. Which brings me to my blog.

PCOS causes certain things to happen, for example a bit of extra hair in places. Thankfully that isn’t such a big deal except I do have slightly hairy feet. Once a boy called me monkey feet and since then I wax them all the time. I hate my feet. Even if they are hair free which they usually are… I still hate my feet. And I still think that boy is a loser. Because he spoke something out over me that I still today, 15 years later, cannot shake off.

It also causes weight gain because of the whole insulin factor. The weight thing is a battle. Girls as a general statement have a real issue with self-image. My testimony for those who know it has been my battle with proving my self-worth. In every way not just self-image. I put on weight and the king of lies has a field day with my head.

But then losing weight, well that’s ironic in itself because now I find I’m fighting the battle not to take things in extreme ways. Right now I feel like there is so much riding on losing weight. The words in my head, “if you lose weight everything will be ok” and “you’re not good enough, you’re not good enough, you’re not good enough…” over and over again. Do I believe that, my head tells me no and I truly believe no. My heart, well Jesus is working on its conviction.

But the fertility thing. I never really imagined having kids. I guess I just hadn’t met the guy I wanted to have a family with. But I know I love family, love doing life with others, and I don’t want to be alone. I really do hope God has someone for me… But that hope is being challenged. Fertility is a big deal. And for many guys a deal breaker.

I genuinely believe all life is from God and if it’s His plan on my life it WILL happen. I feel really quite chill about that! But I just don’t see a guy being ok with it. I can’t envision a guy having that kind of faith. Am I belittling people’s faith – no, not at all. What I’m saying is I don’t think a guy will have faith in me. I can’t imagine being good enough just as I am for someone else. I can’t imagine a guy would pick me: Akila, with PCOS, and her monkey feet.

But I really really DO hope that God will include someone else in my story one day. And yes, yes, yes I KNOW if a guy picks me it will be because for the great qualities haha. But remember there’s a tension between head and heart right now.

But there’s something else I realise in all this. What I’m actually journeying with is not PCOS itself, but lies that I have allowed to be spoken over me which cause shame. I’ve even realised I thought I wasn’t sharing my news with others to be appropriate but actually I was just hiding out of fear and shame. “Akila you are not good enough and you really shouldn’t show others that awful side of you.”

Well Satan get on your bike and do one.

For a long time God used Mike’s death to show Himself to me, and show me my identity in Him. Now, like a multifaceted diamond, I have a whole new adventure to go on that will reveal even more to me.

I’m really honoured you are reading this; and please have total freedom to talk to me about anything. I really hope as I journey through this, and write, that it brings you hope too. But please do remember this blog is my space and I will be real. For some that might result in a decision to not read this blog. And that’s ok. I’m choosing to speak openly and honestly like this for the very simple reason…

… When a light shines on a lie it becomes powerless. When things are declared publicly, something happens in a spiritual realm. Given the situation I am supposedly in, and given that my bible tells me all I need is faith the size of a mustard seed, I’m not even going to debate this in my heart I’m just going to chose to take that leap.

“For God has unveiled them and revealed them to us through the Holy Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things diligently; even sounding and measuring the profound depths of God, the divine counsels and things far beyond human understanding. For what person knows the thoughts and motives of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So also no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Holy Spirit who is from God, so that we may know and understand the wonderful things freely given to us by God.”

1 Corinthians 2:10-12

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Eagle Nebula from the Hubble Telescope

The Avocardo Tree

There is so much division between skin colour here. I can’t really tell you real situations that are happening or my thoughts… But I can tell you what I see in the form of stories.

The Story of The Avocardo Tree

Once a upon a time there was an avocado tree that grew so many avos that it was nearly impossible to eat them all. When it was really windy avos would drop into garden & the owner, Mr. Avo, liked that because he didn’t need to get a ladder to pick them!

Mr Avo was kind. When it was windy not only did avos fall in his garden but also into Mrs. Neighbour’s garden next door & Mr. Avo was pleased Mrs. Neighbour could also enjoy then. Mrs Neighbour of course didn’t complain about avos falling all over her garden because she could eat them for free instead of buying them!

One day Mrs. Neighbour saw Mr. Gardener going behind the tool shed & then coming back round to enter the shed a couple times. She wondered what he was doing so when she could she went to have a look. Mrs. Neighbour was very angry to discover Mr. Gardener had collected the avos from behind the shed & piled them up.

As soon as Mr. Neighbour, her husband, came home that day she complained to him that Mr. Gardener was stealing her avos. Mr. Neighbour told Mrs. Neighbour he told Mr. Gardener to take the ones that fell behind the shed. Mrs. Neighbour was quite displeased with this.

The Story of the Toilet Paper

Mrs. Braai & her friends were discussing how much they pay their help & gardeners. Mrs. Braai told them she pays her help & gardener R100 (£5) a day because any more encourages them to waste it on alcohol & drugs.

A little further into the conversation  Mrs. Braai complained that she often found little things like toilet paper, salt & paper went missing.

Mrs. Braai said to her friends, “If they (her help & gardener) were taking bigger things I would say something. But they are just little things & so I just turn a blind eye because they obviously need it.

The Story of the Shack

This past winter Mrs. Warm complained a lot about it being cold in her house. Every day she would have a fire & every night her would turn on the electric blanket on her bed.

Mrs. Warm’s help & gardener lived in her garden in a wooden shack that had holes in the roof & walls.

The Story of the Shop Keeper, the Fair Maiden & the Chimney Sweeper

There once was a Shop Keeper who hired a Fair Maiden to help around his shop. It wasn’t longer before this Fair Maiden fell in love with the Chimney Sweeper. The shop owner advised the Fair Maiden & the Chimney Sweeper to become friends before pursuing a deeper friendship.

Sadly the Shop Owner shortly died & his Brother took over the shop. The Brother was deeply unhappy with the arrangement the between the Fair Maiden & the Chimney Sweeper. However even though the Shop Owner died the Fair Maiden & Chimney Sweeper held onto his advice.

Time passed soon it became time for the Fair Maiden & Chimney Sweeper to ask the village for permission to marry. Upon hearing the request, the Brother decided he simply could not sit by & watch this go ahead. He took the Fair Maiden aside & told her, “Fair Maiden please do not go ahead with this is marriage. Those who come from a Chimney Sweeper background are the kind to find other Fair Maidens & marry them also.

Note: These stories are not to fuel fire. These are simply stories to help a white girl from the UK, who studied Social Work, process situations that culturally are so different to her own.

The Prince & The Toad

I’ve been wanting to blog again for so long however every time I think about it I follow the thought with excuses. Either I don’t have anything to say or I have too much incriminating evidence about myself. That’s right, “Miss Lay It All Out” has secrets.

Let me tell you a secret that isn’t actually a secret, alongside being a missionary in South Africa serving God, every day I daylight as the lead actress in a story called The Prince & The Toad.

I actually called someone a toad today without meaning too. Thankfully she – OMG I called a girl a toad – knows me well enought to know my jokes sometimes get all muddled up in meaning.

But that isn’t the story for today.

Today I won. Today I yet again got accused of something. I’m so tired of it. I’m tired of the accusations. I’m tired that in my one sided limited understanding it seems others don’t do their jobs & I get blamed for it. I’m tired of the lack of questions. I’m tired of the ignorance. I’m tired. Tired. Tired.

So I pulled out the emails from our previous conversations. I pointed out HIS mistakes. I showed him HE failed. I refused to back down. Because this time I’m clearing my name & will do whatever it takes to PROVE what he was saying to me was ignorant, unjust & inaccurate. I got the outcome I wanted. I showed him.

But… but… he goes & admits to me & others he made a mistake. He apologised. He acknowledged what could have been done differently. Damn it he even humbled himself.

I may have got the outcome I wanted but now I feel like a toad.

I knew I could respond in love, kindness, gentleness, patience & with grace. But I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to believe those things have power. They’re too slow. I want to change things now. Immediately. Even if I risk relationships…. actually no. I didn’t let my thinking go there, thinking about risking relationships, because I just wanted to be right. It wasn’t about wanting to clear my name – I could have done that with no words but simply just forward our previous emails. Nope, it would seem I just wanted to selfishly win a battle. I wanted to be Queen of the pond.

The only upside to all this is whilst I’m kissing other toads – meet my toad friends: anger toad, selfishness toad, pride toad & fear toad – Jesus is loving my heart.

I Just Don’t Trust God…

Back in April I was on a week-long “Missions Mobilizing Training” program. One evening the team and I took part in a world poverty simulation.

There were 4 groups, and each group represented a true portion of wealth around the world. The first group was the smallest and they were given an amazing 3 course meal. The second group was the largest and they were given a meat and rice dish. The third group was the second largest and they were given just plain rice. Finally fourth group, the third largest, wasn’t given anything at all to eat.

In real life many of us fit into the smallest and most wealthy group. It’s nearly impossible to capture the true essence of real poverty when we live above the poverty line and therefore it cannot be claimed that this simulation turns us into experts. But it does create awareness and it does give our western minds context.

There was a lot of playful behaviour throughout the simulation. Groups two and three kept stealing off each other. But as I watched them, it stirred up something in me, Frustration. I was in the last group, the one without any food at all. These groups had food. So why were they not content with what they had? Why did they feel it was their right to take more?

It made me think of all the times I opened my own fridge and thought, “There is a lot of food in here, but nothing looks appealing, I will go to the shop and buy something else.” It made me think of all the times I consequently wasted food just because I didn’t want it at the time. It made me think of the times I chose to be selfish, greedy and dissatisfied with what I had.

Eventually, people from groups two and three started to bring food to us. At first I was grateful as I was hungry! But then I got, Angry. They were sharing their left overs with me. Left overs. Stuff that they had literally dug about in with their hands, took all they wanted, and gave me the remainder. I wasn’t good enough for anything more than “left overs”.

God calls us to tithe 10% of what we have but the more I thought about it, the more I realised, “I don’t miss that 10%, I barely notice it’s gone, it’s just my left overs.” It is bold of me to speak on behalf of those other than myself but I feel confident in saying that I see myself and so many others giving our left overs to people.

We give our left overs to others when it comes to our time, our money, our attention, our clothing, our belongings… We take what we want, what we think we need and then offer the remainder to those around us. Or we offer what is of least cost to us. Is that not insulting? Why do we act so sacrificial, righteous and as though we have done something pleasant? Have we really truly? Or did we give left overs?

I would never treat my sister like that. If she needed something, I wouldn’t give her my left overs. I would literally give her my kidney before letting her live below the poverty line. So why does it stop there? Why do I not have the same attitude towards others? God calls us to LOVE one another, He didn’t call us to LIKE one another. So why am I willing to give my sister everything and not someone else?

Pride? Greed? I earned this money. I worked for this opportunity. I saved for this item of clothing. I take nothing to the grave so why then do I go about life saying “this is mine”. In England I was brought up in a cultural, social and economic society that said told me if I wanted something I had to work for it and/or do it myself. So it’s hard for me to change my mentality to reflect actually what is true: everything I have is a gift from God. As for our time, God calls us to be in relationship with one another. Why then do I give less than 10% of my time to quality relationships with others?

We talk so much about being a body of Christ, being family, we are all God’s people… why does there seem to be such a struggle extend that into our finances? Into our processions? Into our time? What then is community? What then is God calling us to do when He says, “Give”. Do I really see you as family if I withhold myself and anything in my procession?

My own argument was, “Yes, we need to give but we need wisdom because we have responsibilities.” But the more I examined my own heart on that the more I realised, “No, I just don’t trust God.” I don’t fully trust God that He will provide for me. I don’t fully trust God that if I see someone in need and give them what I have, that God will make sure I am not without and will bless me for it. I don’t fully trust God that if I bless someone He will bless me for it. I don’t fully trust God that if I spend time with someone He will bless me with rest elsewhere. I chose to not live and see God’s blessings, I chose to not be a part of God’s greater story, and I chose to rob God of opportunities. God has proved over and over again that I cannot out give Him. And yet I still don’t trust Him.

God forgive me for my total lack of trust in You. Thank you so showing me over and over again that You are GOD. Give me wisdom and the ability to offer You so much more of my time, being and what I have. Continue to speak truth to me that with You, I cannot go wrong.

“Taste & see that the Lord is Good. The joys of those who trust in Him! Let the Lord’s people show Him reverence. For those who honour Him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will never lack any good thing.” – Psalm 34:8-10

Durban, Sharks & The Serial Killer

In the past few days so many people have asked me, “So how are you settling in?” It’s insane to think I have only been here 26 days… 2 days shy of 4 weeks. I feel like I’ve been here a life time already. I’m really enjoying it here.

Let’s start with an update on working in Personnel. It’s actually hard to explain what I do because it can be SO varied. Personnel is absolutely overlapping with recruitment, finance, immigration and member care. And I could be doing any or all of those at any given time depending on a person’s situation.

We get a lot of people enquiring about OM and so we have a small team of people called “mobilizers” that filter out those who are just asking questions to those who are genuinely looking to volunteer with us. From there, the mobilizers send Personnel the information of these potential recruits and we go through the application process. Depending on what area of OM they want to volunteer I could be talking to any one of 100+ OM bases around the world. If they want to volunteer for something in South Africa then I just work alongside that particular base. Then, while a recruit is volunteering with us I help to look after them and recently the OM South Africa leadership team were looking for someone to oversee the exit interviews and so I asked to be that person.

Basically when someone is leaving OM they’ll have a final interview with me assessing their experience with OM. This is after they have all their formal leaving interviews and appraisals. The exit interview is more looking at where we as OM can grow and develop in supporting our volunteers.

It seems along with my daily jobs I have some bigger projects on the side. Last week one of those projects was to compile information regarding visas from about 100 recruits. This past week I’ve been sorting out our file room and this week I hope to shred everything that is over 5 years old. One of the core underlining things my job entails is working with a computer database system that hold everyone’s information. Thankfully it seems things are going well with learning this database and I seem to pick up on it all quite fast. I knew all those hours spent using Facebook would come in handy!

On the side, I’m aiming for one day a week, I’m doing hands on ministry. So far I’ve got to spend a little bit of time with Aids Hope and last weekend I went to Durban for partnership functions. Durban is on the East coast of South Africa and about an 8 hour drive from Pretoria. It was cool to drive through and to see more of the country. Partnership functions and connecting with churches is definitely the more glamorous side of what OM does.

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On the Saturday morning we had a partnership brunch whereby business men and women were invited to attend. Whilst they enjoy a spectacular meal we put on a program sharing what OM does and why we would like them to partner with us. Usually these said business people will give financial donations but sometimes they are able to give more specifically. For example, if someone owns a factory that makes stationary then they may give a donation of stationary for our Aids Hope school kids.

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On the Sunday our team split up and went to 3 different churches and shared at a total of 5 different services or meetings. We share about missions, what we do in OM and why the world needs more missionaries. This is a great time to share specifically about the programs OM South Africa does and to encourage people to get involved.

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Our weekend was exhausting and so Ema, Deborah, Josh and I decided to go Shark Diving at the aquarium next to where we were having one of our functions. Jonathan took pictures from the viewing floor. It was so much fun. I laughed so much I’m sure I would have drowned. P.S. I think I need to elaborate on the enormity of me getting in the water – I have a serious phobia of FISH! True story! In fact I was so scared of them touching my toes I kept my feet moving at all times… And accidently kicked Josh a lot. Including in the head haha. OOPS!  The drive back from Durban was rather entertaining! I saw 10 tornados, monkeys, an out of control bush fire and ostrich.

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I think this is a good spot to share about some of the people I’ve made friends with here. You know, I started writing their names and nationalities down for you but there are actually too many people to list for you. There is a girl here called Chanri and she was actually one of my cabin mates 5 and a half years ago when we were on the ship. Now her desk is the one next to mine. It’s cool how our paths have crossed again like this.

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So there are a couple pieces of news for you. Firstly, the visa situation. After a lot of prayer and discussion I’ve decided I’m coming back to England at the end of November. There is nothing I can do about the visa here. Dad and I will go down to London and visit the embassy in person in order to sort out my visa. My chest X-Ray will be out of date and so I may need to get that redone however we will still go to the embassy without it in hope they can just accept my current X-Ray.

It will take a minimum of 30 days to process the visa and should I need an x-ray I’m intending to give a leeway of an additional 30 days. So bizarrely enough, it looks like I’ll be home for Christmas, Laura’s 21st and a friend’s wedding. Work wise there will be lots for me to do but I can do it all from England which means I will continue to work with OM South Africa whilst I’m back.

The car situation also continued to be a bit of a drama haha. Last week we decided the best way forward is to wait until the person I’m buying the car from is back in South Africa. There’s just too much red tape involved trying to sort out the tax for the car when it’s not in my name.

So, so this means I’m quite limited in how I do things as I’m so dependent on transport (public transport and walking are not options) but that’s OK. I do enjoy my down time on an evening because I’m with people from about 7.30am until 6pm. Plus I live on the property of my boss and her family so I get to spend time with them outside of work hours. Weekends are quite busy! :)My first weekend here in Pretoria I did a lot of chilling out; my second weekend was sports fanatic weekend whereby I watched a 3 hour cricket match, a 5 hour swimming gala and then a football match on TV; last weekend I was in Durban (if we’re friends on FB you need to check out my album called “Remember Who You Are.”); and today I was at Aids Hope in Mamelodi for a braai.

It’s such a sad situation in Mamelodi at the moment as there’s a serial killer who is raping and killing young women. The police are on it but it’s not like England. Mamelodi is one giant township of around 1 million people… where and how do you even start looking for a killer? So it’s been additionally hard for the Aids Hope Team who live and work in Mamelodi with all this extra turmoil going on. The community keep taking things into their own hands which makes things so much worse. There have been many “suspects” who have fallen victim of revenge beatings and even one person was killed. Sadly they killed the wrong person and so the serial killings continue.

Speaking of safety, the car I hoped to get is operated by a standard key and an immobilizer. And it has a hijack button that sets off a crazy alarm should I need to press it in such a situation. Surreal.

I know I have so much more to share with you all but it seems all memory has left me at it inches closer to 9pm. I’ll save anything else to share for another time! 🙂