Snakes and Milestones

525,600 minutes. 8760 hours. 365 days. 12 months. No matter how you’re counting, I have been living, loving, and serving in South Africa for 1 YEAR!!! I still feel like a newbie, I am still learning and making mistakes, I still get lost, I still have a long way to go, but I am celebrating this milestone in my life!

I am sitting under our lapa (thatch-roofed, open air structure with picnic tables under it), listening to music, trying not to get heatstroke, and thinking about the last 12 months. At this time last year, I had only been in country for a few days and I was honestly wondering what in the world I had done. I was doubting the decision to follow, I was missing my family, I was HOT! But as I sit here today, I can’t imagine saying goodbye to this place…these people. I go away for a weekend and I miss this community desperately. My roots are going deeper. My heart is settling here. And that is all God’s work in my heart…helping this to become a home for me.

It’s hard to believe that I have completed my first year as a teacher! As with much in life, some days dragged on, but as a whole, the year with my students flew by. Those 23 children will forever hold a special place in my heart – my first kids. I loved them, learned so much from them, made tons of mistakes, would have done so much differently, and have grown as a teacher because of them. Our next school year will begin on 11 January, but for now, I will enjoy my holiday…even though it’s hot!

It has been a few months since I’ve written an update. Forgive me for that. Life happens and it gets hectic and I fall behind. Let me catch you guys up! In October I got to attend a missionary women’s conference in Cape Town with about 45 other women serving in southern Africa. It was run by THRIVE ministry and it was a wonderful, refreshing, and encouraging weekend with 2 of my teammates!

November was the month of SNAKES and animals! I met my very first snake here in South Africa while filling up my water bottles one night. Some very brave young men came to the rescue and disposed of our little friend for us. And then there were 2 more snake experiences in the following week. Again, the young men to the rescue! I’m thankful that there are a number of things here that I know I can count on not having to take care of…like kill snakes! For Thanksgiving, a group of my coworkers and myself spent several days in Kruger National Park to celebrate! We spent much of our days in the car, searching for animals and we saw some incredible sights! Each evening we would come together and cook and enjoy supper together. It was a great time away!

December brought the end of our school year and everything that comes along with that. I closed out my classroom, helped plan and run our end of year fun day, and then participated in Honours Programme. And now I get to rest! Until January and then we will start all over again!

I thank God often for all the partners I have in this work. Some of you will never be able to visit or experience life here, but you are making an impact for the Gospel nonetheless. Please continue to pray for me and the ministry of Bethesda! You are important to this work!

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2 thoughts on “Snakes and Milestones

  1. Ellie, we’re adding a link to your website to our directory, and maybe directory app if I can figure that out. Clover gave a great description of your ministry and context in a Ministry Moment. Maybe I’ll steal that and put it on the website too. We pray for you and think about your challenges with elephants and kids.

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