This summer has been an incredible time of growth for me, and I believe it has helped define me into more of the man that God wants me to be. I never became stagnant, but instead, I grew. I learned a myriad of things about not just the Western Cape and all of it's treasures, but also about who I am. I am so thankful to EVERYONE who helped contribute to my time in South Africa, whether financially or prayerfully (or both).
As I flew back, I had quite some time (~35hrs) to reflect on these past few months. I jotted down a list of some of the many highlights of my time in the Western Cape, so here they are:
- Building relationships with the Academy boys and getting to be a part of their lives
- Being able to refresh the long-term missionaries there, and not being a burden to them
- Meeting Ryan Serfontein, my Ubuntu Teammate. I'd been supporting him since early this year, and I carry his player card in my wallet...so when I arrived and met him in person at Ubuntu Football Academy, it was awesome. I took him and several of the other guys out to grab some dinner and he was looking through my different IDs (student ID, driver's license, etc) in my wallet when he came across my player card for him. He vaguely knew what Ubuntu Teammates was, and so I explained to him how I help pay for his school fees. It was amazing getting to sow into someone's life financially and then meeting them face-to-face and seeing their talent and attending their school (Silvermine Academy) and seeing how that money is being put to good use! If you are interested in becoming an Ubuntu Teammate, check out www.ubuntuteammates.com.
- Learning to put all my trust in God, whether it's for finances, protection, or more, I definitely learned to trust Him more during this summer. I always felt his peace around me when drive-by shootings and gangsterism were terrorizing the streets of Ocean View during my time there. The safest place is in the will of God :)
- Meeting and making new friends from other NGOs around the world
- Growth in everything (my walk with Christ, in confidence, maturity, and more)
- Going to the Jewish Museum in Cape Town with Casey for our rainy day activity. It was definitely worth it!
- Going shark diving with the two Americans I supervised for 3 weeks, and having our bus driver get pulled over by a traffic cop...which create quite a bit of confusion among the passengers (he was released after about 20 minutes and we carried on to Gaansbai).
- Enjoying God's awesome creation all around the Western Cape by going on various hikes (Table Mountain, Devils Peak, Chapman's Peak, Lion's Head, Signal Hill, and Cape Point/Cape of Good Hope) and jogging down to the beach to workout.
- Playing as a defender (Right Back) for Fish Hoek AFC in their games against Vasco Da Gama (2-4 loss) and a week later against Bothasig (2-2 draw). It was definitely a new experience playing soccer (officially) in a different country, but I had a blast and felt like I held my own.
- Being welcomed into the Fish Hoek team and coaching staff. Not once did I feel like an outsider...I felt like family pretty much wherever I went!
- Going to Hillsong Cape Town for church on Sundays and attending the Hillsong ENCOUNTER conference where Robert Madu spoke
- Watching the UCT vs NMMU soccer game to scout a player...the vibe and atmosphere for a college soccer game was phenomenally loud and jubilant, althought the quality of college soccer was horrendous (which is so weird because the amount of talent in South Africa is astounding...but I think it's just because the university sports there are, in a sense, on the same level as university intramurals or university club sports in the USA)
- Learning to drive stick on the other side of the road was a definite growing experience. Now I just need to get used to driving on the right side of the road here in the US!
- Being welcomed by the Ocean View community and getting to know several of the residents there (especially the Muslims who owned the store where I bought my lunch from every day, and the Rastafarians who I bought apples and naartjies from)
- Going to the Muizenberg market and Haut Bay market with Casey and Sarah
- Teaching English at Kleinberg Primary and building relationships with several of the students there (Neo, Craig, and Jared who I had write stories about various topics to help improve both their English)
- Coaching with the U13A, U15B, and U15A teams at Fish Hoek who are affiliated with the Ubuntu Academy.
- Coaching the U13 and U15 goalkeepers. Thank God for Youtube and all of the various goalkeeper coaching resources available online!
- Praying for the boys (Chadley Philander, Wade Coetzee, Jade Wanga, and Nazario Talmakkies) on my last drive from Steenberg as I took them to school that morning
- Hanging out with Treswill and Cindy and talking with Treswill about various things pertaining to life and God...gonna miss those talks!
- Hanging out at the Green Room in Kommetjie and getting to know Brandon and Wes, two of the cool guys working there.
- Getting lunch with Cedric Present and getting to hear his heart about wanting to disciple and raise up youth
- Putting on a soccer camp for the younger Football Forward boys, and running several of the Football Forward sessions
- Going to a Bible study at ASD Cape Town, another soccer academy in Cape Town that I had connected with last summer on the trip with ORU and talking with Bruce Nadin, their team's pastor.
- Going to the Masi Spur with the boys from Masiphumelele, or going to the Blue Route Mall in Tokai with the Ocean View and Steenberg boys
- Coaching Cindy's netball team and being incredibly surprised by the braai that they put on for me when I was leaving
These are just some of the highlights I had during this summer...if I were to write them all, I'd have to write a book! Let me know if you want to hear more about my time in Cape Town! It was an incredible time there, and I hope to go back as soon as I can. Please be praying for me while I continue to do my best to follow the path God has for me!
Thanks again to everyone who helped be a part of this trip! To see all of the photos that I took in South Africa, they are available at this link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152923148305634.1073741830.794105633&type=1&l=4216016857
Thanks and God bless,
Below are a couple photos, but to see the rest, click HERE!