OK, so my chances to get the internet are rare! I have arrived in South Africa and am really enjoying it so far. My supervisors are great and i am getting along real nice with my roommate and working partner Josh. We are learning the Zulu language, which has proved to be very difficult! It is a very tonal language and utilizes oral "clicks." In the Zulu language the C, Q and X are said with a click. On top of that, the O's and E's and other letters are said differently which take some serious practice. Also there are often M's on the beginning of words, but these M's are not followed by a vowel, but a S or a P or something. It takes some work!
Other than the language, i believe i'm adjusting well. I'm learning to pray like my life depended on it... and it might, you never know. I've met some cool people. One of the natives that i work with has invited me to work out with him at night. We go behind his house and lift "weights." These weights are iron bars with concrete-filled paint buckets on the ends. It is so great and a great way to build relationships with the guy i work with and with the security guard. The security guard is also a native who is bashful to use the little english that he knows. You can pray for me as i get to know him. I do not think that he knows the truth of Jesus, and i believe that i will be able to share with him before i leave.
One thing that i have noticed since i have been here is that people are flat out eager to hear the truth concerning Jesus! i have never seen anything like it! people will ask many questions and listen without argument to what is being said. In western culture, people find it offensive to have the gospel "imposed" on them, but here people are often excited to hear something new and radical.
While i have seen some exciting things, i have seen some hard things as well. HIV is digging new graves everyday. Every week i get to hangout with 15-20 HIV positive orphans all under age 7. They are precious little guys and gals! Although these are cared for, there are hundreds more that have not been helped. This is truly heartbreaking! I have already seen huts run by children due to all relatives dying from HIV. What is worse is that the community doesn't surround them and help them, they surround them to rob them and rape them. It makes my blood boil. Pray for these kids and that we can bring them hope, the Hope of Glory.
each week i hang with many kids, which excites me. when i first came i thought i would be helping with a church plant and adult Bible studies, but i have found that i will be working a lot with kids. while this was not my first choice, the all knowing One planned for this and has blessed me with some wisdom and understanding from His Word concerning His righteous judgement in accordance with His grace. God has showed me through His word that the children are the opportunity for change in this community. i know this sounds cliche, but it is so true!! these kids have a very hard road ahead of them with or without the hope of Jesus, but if there is to be a change in the community, and if the HIV pandemic is to be halted, these kids need to be rescued from the lies that the culture is living by. God clearly showed me by His spirit this weekend that this is the message that we need to speak to these children. This is only a quick recap of some very deep stuff, and i hope to write more in depth later on since i believe it is something we all can consider no matter what culture we live in.
i ask that you pray that i will be given an outlet to teach the children this message in it's fullness and that i can do so with boldness and without fear of those in the community who hold to evil very tightly. This seems to me to be the only hope that can be offered to these kids. i hope to share the scripture passages with you later on when i have my Bible handy. i am very excited to see how God uses this, even if it is years after i leave and i never know about it.
The landscape is amazing here!! Tall, rolling hills and deep valleys are all i can see in any direction! You know i enjoy that! Mountains and the beach are both within a 2 hour drive too. Zulu means "heaven" and now i see why they call this the land of heaven. It really is nice here.