Well, it’s official, I no longer live in the U.S. My two overweight checked bags and I have made it to beautiful South Africa. Leaving behind the most wonderful people I have ever met was definitely one of the hardest and emotional things I have experienced. Fortunately, I was given the incredible opportunity of accompanying one of my close au pair friends, Flo, and his host family to Colorado the week before my departure. Seeing the mountains and experiencing a new state kept me occupied and distracted from the emotional days that were to follow. Since I didn’t have a car to use freely anymore, my amazing friends came to pick me up and drive me around to get some last minute errands done. Walking through Target for the last time had me in tears over the fact that I wouldn’t be able to buy a fridge, bananas and that cute off shoulder dress in the same place anymore. My friend Hannah gave me the tough love I needed to cope for the next few days: “There is no crying in baseball!” A famous quote from the movie A League of their Own starring Tom Hanks. Any time I was close to tears, we would repeat that sentence, breath and finish our to do list (hence the title of this post). If you are wondering why I am leaving the US although I would have given the world to stay, you can read my last blog post here.
During my last weekend in Minnesota, I made sure to spend as much time with my friends as possible. This included a final sleepover with my sweet friend, Lydia, and a girls night turned surprise going away party on Sunday evening. I have never felt more loved. So many people came to say goodbye and write words of encouragement into a journal they had bought, complete with a polaroid picture of everyone who came. I can’t even put into words how grateful I am to everyone who came. And remember, there’s no crying in baseball!
On Monday I went to hand in my paperwork for the missions trip I signed up for. (More info on that at the end of this post.) I went to bed emotionally drained and exhausted. Not being able to fit everything in my suitcase was giving me a headache, the crying that followed didn’t help either (forget baseball!). On Tuesday my wonderful host mom drove me to the airport after I said my goodbyes to sweet little Matthew, whom I will miss immensely. At the airport I was greeted by all my friends who were sending me off in prayer and with all the love in the world. 15 of us gathered for a final goodbye. Such a precious yet heart breaking moment. I didn’t want to leave and I didn’t want this season to end. These have undoubtedly been the best two years of my life (literally crying as I write this), but I choose to believe that God knows what He’s doing and that He has even better plans for my future. It’s really hard to believe for better when you think you already know the best.
“It’s really hard to believe for better when you think you already know the best.”
Luckily, I am currently surrounded by blue skies and palm trees, and squawking Hadeda ibis birds in the back garden. South Africa, or tropical England as I like to call it, is filling my soul to the brim. The view from the Hartbeespoort Dam on Saturday reminded me once again of the beauty of God’s creation. This was exactly what I envisioned Africa to look like. Now all that’s missing was Tarzan swinging from the trees. That same day I had my foot licked by a lion cub, trying to take my flip flop, I had my hand covered in saliva after feeding a giraffe some peanuts and I got to see the wilder beasts that reminded me of the stampede in the Lion King. More than anything, I love getting to spend time with my all time best friend, Marisel, who is showing me her home country. She is a gift from God, a pure and loyal friend whom I love with all of my heart. I can’t wait to see where the road of life will take us. She is my favourite thing about South Africa.
Although my future is somewhat uncertain, I do have some exciting news to share with you: I have signed up for a missions trip organised by my church in Minnesota, led by my campus pastor there. In July we will be going to Spain where our team will be working with an international church in Barcelona, mostly focusing on creating a vacation bible school program (VBS) and caring for the children and families in the area. This includes outreach opportunities, prayer and small group engagement. I will get to disciple kids and use the abilities I have to engage children in fun activities, leading them into a greater understanding of our heavenly Father’s love for them. The church I attended has always had a heart for the nations and I’m excited to be apart of fulfilling the vision they have to reach the lost. Although I’ve lived in Europe for the majority of my life, I have never been to Spain. I’m believing this will be an amazing experience. About a year ago I had a dream of being in Spain. At the time I didn’t think much of it, but now I realise that this was a nudge from God, encouraging me to overcome my financial insecurities and take the leap of faith and trust His miraculous provision as well as spiritual guidance.
As I prepare for this trip, your prayers, thoughts and encouraging messages are greatly appreciated. I have to raise about $2000 in total, and $925 by April 2nd. Since I am currently unable to work (I am planning on finding a job when I get back to Germany… prayers for this are also very much appreciated!) I would be more than grateful for your financial support. In faith I paid the $200 deposit and am hoping to contribute more after I find a job after I return home from South Africa. Any donation you can give will bring me closer to being able to spread the love of God to children who may have never experienced His goodness before. To make a tax-deductible donation via check or online, please follow this link to download the instructions: Tax-Deductible Giving. To give through other money transfer services or if you would like more information on this trip, please don’t hesitate to fill out the contact form below. I will get back to you with more information.
Another simple way of getting in touch with me is by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have.
I look forward to sharing more of my adventures in South Africa with you and keeping you posted on everything that is happening in this new season of life. Unfortunately, I am unable to upload any pictures due to a slower connection and restricted data. If you’d like to see what I’ve been up to, be sure to follow me on instagram, where I tend to post the most. Click here to get to my profile: Cherrytree127.
I know all my Minnesotan friends are ready for spring to come soon, and I hope that this change of season leaves you refreshed and ready for new things to come, no matter where you are.
Love, Sophie x