Sunday, July 19, 2009


it is hard to find a word or even a sentence to describe this trip. It was good and discouraging and beautiful and sad. There is so much potential. There is still such a big economic gap. The final word has to be hope, not in the government structure but in the lives of individuals. Babies are cured of HIV/AIDS prenatally or at birth. Generations of poverty are, in a few places, overcome by hard work and good people. Nothing stops that from spreading. As usual, the compassionate people are connected to the body of Christ. Nothing will stop that from spreading, either. It is not easy or quick, and we run the risk of discouragement and disinterest. I cannot look again at news from South Africa without memories of open homes, warm smiles, and gracious acceptance for my differences. If, in following my journey, you, too, look at this part of the world differently, then truly hope and time are the answers.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Air Time

Touch down in Chicago on July 9 was followed by a crazy family weekend. Safely home, but it will take some time to sort out the thoughts and feelings as well as the pictures.

Plus somewhere over the Atlantic, I lost my voice...

In the Jo-burg airport a guy was taking surveys of visitors so they can upgrade the services for 2010 World Cup. I did not exactly attend any sporting events, casinos or even bars and had no opinion on tourist infrastructure. But he took my He commented at the end that he meets lots of people from US and Canada who come to build or teach or nurse in South Africa. Then he asked, "So why do I never see anything like you are doing on the TV?" Good question. There is plenty to do.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Heavy thoughts

How to describe HIV-AIDS statistics that now have names and faces? How to bridge the gap between the town and the Township now that is no longer law, but still reality? Which layer to start unpeeling first: employment, education, politics, transportation, housing? This has been a trip with many questions. Perhaps the only real answer is there is no way anyone who is not here - and here for a long time - can know. It will take some time to get it all processed in my head and filtered through my heart.


The South African word for BBQ - meat on the grill - and we mean meat! Steak and chicken and something I thought was identified as "War Horse" but I have learned not to ask about anything until after I eat it. Turns out it was "Boer Wurst" - kind of a Brat. Come to think of it I never knew what was in those either...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Just for fun...

Who all is out there? If you are following this blog, just "comment" with your name, OK? Then I won't bore you with the same stories! (Except Bob.)Thanks!


80 clergy, three Bishops, fully robed and hated, headed out of the Bishop’s house across the street at 8:45. We processed to Holy, Holy, Holy – only they have a lot more verse than we do. There were over 1500 Zulu (Black) gathered in a large meeting space and spilling out onto the lawn and porch.

In the kitchen for 2 days have been women preparing to feed them all – both sit down and Take Away. Metals tubs of raw chicken and beef. Mounds of onions and beets.

I was honored to read the Old Testament lesson and then called on to sponsor one of the ordained! What a joy to place a stole and lay on hands in blessing. I was a white American woman but the title Pastor surpassed all that.

Singing went on non-stop. There was a leader but the best songs were random – just a group started and pretty soon ½ the place is up dancing and the rest know all the words. Amazing energy and community.

The Bishop lived in Chicago - in fact he and his wife and I overlapped one summer at LSTC! He is very fluent in English, but even in Zulu it is easy to se what is going on. We are Lutheran – “The Lord be with you” looks pretty much the same globally!

At 2:30 (yeah – pm) we concluded and headed for the food. It was a thrilling and amazing event. And somewhere in the middle the Bishop said the sponsors are responsible for our pastors for life…

Sunday, July 5, 2009

USA through other eyes...

I asked some of the kids what they thought the USA was like. The said we are all good looking and rich and have fast cars. And lots of land. And guns. I showed them I was unarmed...