Let me start this update with an apology for those of you who follow me by newsletter. I realized the other day that I hadn't written a monthly newsletter since March. So....yeah.... not so monthly anymore. I'm so sorry!! But hopefully I can do a better job of communicating with you all here on the blog as God lays things on my heart to share with you.
Now, on to the big stuff of late:
As most of you know we have had an insane couple of weeks here in South Africa. While Jordan Miller and I were in nearby George for a training course, our beloved Plett was fighting fires. According to the reports I have found, there were at least 22 fires that broke out in Knysna (the K is silent), Brenton-on-the-Sea, Buffalo Bay, Sedgefield, Wilderness, Humansdorp, Plettenberg Bay, and the surrounding areas. Nearly 10,000 people were evacuated from their homes, some on more than one occasion, and it's been confirmed that at least seven people lost their lives. One life lost was that of 24-year-old Bradley who was a volunteer fire fighter and a member of the church we attend. I didn't have the privilege of knowing him personally but I've heard stories of him since I first arrived here in Plett. He was a special young man who will be missed by so many.
I don't have a lot of information to offer you. It is South Africa and reliable information isn't as readily available here as we're used to in the States. But if you have questions that you'd like to ask me, please feel free to comment below and I'll do my best to find answers for you. The fires are all under control now. But we are still very much in need of rain. So please be in prayer for more and more rain! The amount of water used to put out the fires has put many communities in jeopardy and there is still lots of cleanup and repair to be done. Lord, grant us the favor of Your rain!
I will say that while many have told us it was a blessing we were in George during the fires, and I agree, it was still so incredibly difficult to be "stuck" there getting messages from friends in panic asking for prayers or reading updates online or watching the smoke rise in the distance and only being able to pray and watch. I am amazed to see how God protected His children and soothed so many hearts during these rough days. And I look forward to all that He's going to do in the days to come to show His glory in all of this. But I think I will always remember the flood of emotions that came from those far-off, yet so close, fire-filled days.
Attachment Training in George
On Monday, June 5, Jordan and I headed to George (thanks to the generosity of many of you) to attend a course on Attachment Styles and Practices. George is a nearby town about an hour and a half drive from Plett. Most of my training experiences come from George as this is also the home of Options Pregnancy Center, who is our covering from the Hope Pregnancy Center in Plett. The original plan was for Jordan and I to attend the first level of Attachment Training that Tuesday through Friday. But during the time we were in the course we were asked to consider staying into the next week to attend the Advanced Training and Practices course. Honestly it was a bit of a struggle to make that decision knowing that our friends in Plett were dealing with all things fire-related. But we decided to stay for the course, as it wasn't going to be offered again anytime soon and our director was generous enough to help us pay the extra expenses to stay.
The course discussed the various types of attachment styles formed between babies and moms in the first years of life and how these attachment styles can follow you into adulthood and your other relationships. The advanced training helped us learn how to work with adults who may have hindered attachment styles and show them how to form healthy relationships with others based on "earned" attachment. (I know this may not make sense. So if you have questions or you're curious and want to know more, please email me. I'll be glad to explain).
To say that God wanted me in this course would be an understatement. I learned so much about myself and how I work and why I do some of the things I do in relationships (primarily with my immediate family and close friends). And God worked in it to show me some ways to walk more in line with the abundant life He designed for me. Now I'm just working on following through those steps, as difficult as some of them may be. And I can see already how this training has helped me to see those around me in need in a different light, with more love and compassion and understanding for the struggles they may be carrying on the inside. I really am grateful for this course, the amazing instructor, the absolutely precious ladies who joined us in the learning fun and even helped push me along in gentle loving ways, and for what God is going to do through it all. And I am especially grateful to have walked through this emotional training with Jordan. God knew what He was doing when He introduced me to her. I don't think I could have made it through these difficult weeks if He didn't decide to send her along for the "fun". Thank you, as well, to each of you who helped us to be able to attend these courses. I do believe it was a moment of real life change for me. And that happened because of you all. Thank you!
I mentioned in the fire update about the young man who passed away, Bradley. On Thursday, just after Jordan and I go back into town from our training, the community came together to honor Bradley at a memorial service at our church, Plett Community Church. I didn't attend this memorial but I've heard all about it since. During the memorial service our church was honored to play host to the president of South Africa, President Jacob Zuma. He was visiting the nearby Knysna to show support for the communities after the fire and decided to attend Bradley's memorial as well. Because I wasn't there I don't have much to say about his visit. But I will say that it's so funny to hear this story from different people here in town. You can really see what people think of the president just in how they tell this one story. I've heard it from at least five different people now and I honestly have no idea what the man actually said, because each time the story is told, he says something different. LOL! In any case, it was a historical moment for the community and the church. And one I will remember, even not being there.
Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement. This isn't an easy road but it is a blessed one. And a lot of those blessings come from you all! Thank you! Please don't hesitate to ask for prayers or encouragement from me. That's what I'm here for! As I recently read in one of my new training manuals (for Sozo): "Only orphans function in isolation. Sons and daughters live in community and dependency on the Holy Spirit and on each other, without fear, competition, or jealousy."
Alright my friends. That's all I have to say. Have a blessed day! I love you all, I miss you all, and I'm praying for you all! ((Hugs))