So I've been here in Plettenberg Bay for a full week. And I love it! It's so beautiful here! And the people are so kind and thoughtful! I've been told that I'm still in my 'honeymoon period' but I can't help it. I really like it here! That's not to say that I don't miss my family and friends. Because I do! But with technology being what it is I feel like I can still keep in touch with most of you and know what's going on back in the US. And yet still be here to serve the Lord. We live in an amazing time! And I thank God often for these blessings.
So far this week I've been able to work with the Merryfield Village team three days this week, which will be my normal (M, W, & F). I've spend most of that time learning and catching up on where we are in the process for the village. There's a lot to learn, both in the process and just in how to do things in another country. The idea of the children's village, or a cluster foster care system as they call it here, is very new for South Africa, and especially for our area (Western Cape). It's not been done here before so it's not like we can speak with the government and say "We just want to do what they've done" and get things started. There's a lot of explaining and writing documentation and finding the right people to talk to just to get started with the government paperwork. But the MV team has been amazing at getting through all of this!! We still have a ways to go with the government but it's worth all the work to have their blessing in what we're trying to do. We're also working through ideas to help raise funds for the village and we're praying through land opportunities and asking God to direct us towards the land He would have for us to purchase to get the village off the ground. Please feel free to pray with us for all of this!
This week I also got to meet the first two kiddos that have come under the Merryfield Village care. "Bella" and "Mia" are sisters who are being transitioned into foster care with the directors, Steve and Julie James. I'm not going to be able to share much information with you all about them because (just like my previous foster kids) they are under the protection of the government. So no photos of their faces and no use of their real names. But I'll do my best to share with you what I can so that you can be praying for these two sweet girls and everyone involved in their transition. Currently they stay with the James family on Sundays so that they can get to know the family. But soon the kids will be on school holiday for several days and will be able to spend that time with the James'. And shortly after that they will be under the care of the James' family full time. They are both such sweet girls and so eager for love and attention. It's a joy to see them with Steve and Julie and their sons! So sweet!
Beyond that I've spend my time getting to know my surroundings and learning how to walk everywhere I need to go or plan my needs around transportation. LOL! I'm also working on learning how the Rand compares to the US Dollar and what these strange foods are that they sell in the stores. Thankfully everything is in English and everyone speaks English. But I do hope to learn Afrikaans along the way to help me communicate in their native tongue.
I'm currently still staying at my landlord's flat (apartment) until mine is done. But, Lord willing, my flat should be ready early next week. I'm incredibly blessed to be here at my landlord's flat while he's working out of town. His family members all live in this same building and they have been so sweet and accommodating; even when I accidentally used all their wifi for the month by trying to update my phone! Yikes!! Learning the cost of data and download speeds has been quite an adjustment. Free wifi is hard to come by but thankfully there's a little French cafe in town that offers it unlimited, allowing me the opportunity to talk with my Mom twice so far and hopefully soon to some of my other family members. I've also, of course, wandered around town with my camera and taken so many photos! I'm hoping to use these in the future to help the village.
It's all a very large learning process but I'm so blessed to be here and be a part of what God is doing here! I love seeing Him all over the place and being surrounded by strong believers that teach me more and more all the time! I know not everything will be great along this path, in fact there may be more hard days than good ones in the future. But I'm so grateful for this first week and how easily God has helped me to adjust so far. I have more adjustments to come I know but so far so good. And I can only give credit for that to God! He's amazing!!