Finally, it is real - I am back in South Africa, the much-missed country of my heart.
Johannesburg, 2nd of june 2018: Driving down Pelindaba Road, everything looks just like I left it, we take a left, down the dirt road as the "Refilwe" sign appears. Rachel and Katie, two of my new flatmates picked me up from the airport and are witnessing my return. I feel the butterflies in my stomach. A few kids are outside, playing on the lawn, under the trees and between the houses. As we drive through the property towards our house, they scan the faces in the car and freeze in astonishment before their smiles and shiny eyes come out. "JoJo!" Some set after us, running or riding a bike. Oh, what a joy to see them again! They have grown...
And there it is: My new life on know grounds. I move into the "Girl`s house", where I get the warmest welcome from 5 lovely strangers, soon to be my friends.
It is winter here. That means it gets cold just before it grows dark at 6pm and warm blankets and hot water bottles are needed. There is frost on our cars and the mornings can be icy until the sun warms everything up and we get over 20°C in the sun for most of the day. These weather variations are a bit confusing, but they reflect nicely the variations of feelings I went through during my first week.
It has been a joyful week. There were many happy explosions in my heart, when I was able to reunit with friends - and they are so many. And it is a special privilege to live close to my South-African brothers again (read "The unthinkable" - entry). I have made many new friends already and feel beyond blessed to be back at this unique, wonderful and challenging place. There are also moments, when the idea of "This is my life now, it is not just a visit.", gives me the chills. I got a rough idea of what my work could include, while I dived right into the children`s ministry. And it is fun hanging out with our little people =). There are beautiful visions and goals, as Refilwe is going through a changing and growing process at the moment, which also reveals many needs and opportunities for me to be involved in. So choices need to be made over the next weeks and months. For now, I am thankful for my team and the time I am getting to pray about things and settle in. Well, it is all very exciting and I am looking forward to my new adventures on known grounds. The journey has only just begun.