Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Hands-On Brothers (and sisters)

In January, a group of twentysomethings arrived in South Africa as semester missionaries in the Hands-On Africa program. Until this team arrived, I was the only single guy with our company in Joburg so I was axiously anticipating the group of four guys who would serve here.

Over these last few months Jack, Ryan, Justin and Micah have become some of my closest friends and brothers in SA. God answered my prayers for close friendships when He sent these guys to Joburg. Along with them, there were also four girls who I became great friends with - Jarah, Amanda Hill, Amanda Holiday and Nikki. What an incredible group of people they are.

And just in the last few weeks I was able to spend some time with a Hands-On team who served in Botswana. Hunter, Brett, Stirling & Allison are a fun group and I wish we could have had more time to hang out.

Today I had to say goodbye to my Hands-On brothers and sisters. Their time here is almost done as they finish their days at debrief before heading back to the states Friday. Goodbyes are never easy and in this life God has given me here in SA, goodbyes are frequent and have yet to not stir up any bittersweet emotions.

Jack, Ryan, Justin and Micah, I love you guys and am blessed to have you in my life. You guys amaze me and it will definitely be different around my apartment without you being around. The Lord has big plans for you in the states and for some, big plans for you back in AFRICA. I'll look forward to the time we see each other whether it's this side of the world or the American side.

Cheers bru's!

Hands-On Johannesburg team

My Joburg brothers

My Botswana brothers & sister

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Old Friends & New Friends

Some great friends from my home church in Arkansas came to visit last week prior to their volunteer team arriving over the weekend. Kyle & Katie Reno served as College & Missions Pastor at The Summit Church in Little Rock and I actually interned for Kyle when he first moved to Little Rock in 2006. They are currently serving as College Pastors at Crossgates Church in Brandon, MS.
I also made some new friends in Pete & Jenna Lee who came with Kyle & Katie. Pete leads worship at Crossgates and I had a great time getting to know them. Their visit was such a blessing and time of encouragement for me. They will be serving with a team of students from Mississippi College this week near Pretoria.
While staying with me, we went to the Lion Park, Kruger National Park and Swaziland. Below are a few photos from last week. Enjoy!
At the Lion Park, a lion cub is biting Pete on the ankle

Kyle, Katie, me, Jenna & Pete on the rocks at the Hippo Pools in Kruger

Kyle, me & Katie in Kruger

Pete, me & Jenna at Kruger