Ok, the time has come to try and succinctly put into words what's been happening over here in South Africa the past few months. Who am I kidding, I am never succinct, but I will try to be less wordy than usual.
We came to South Africa a little over a year ago with plans to open and run a petrol station in order to support our family so that we could get involved with projects in the Hammanskraal area both physically and financially. So far, half of our plan has worked out great, while the other half has hit a few brick walls. Over the past year, we have been able to deepen our involvement with two organizations in particular; Tshwaraganang, aka Mama Cathrine's, and Tshepo Ya Bana, aka across the road. The petrol station, on the other hand, continues to be an elusive beast. Suffice it to say, our plans to move to South Africa and be self supported have eluded us as well.
Over the past few months, the last 2 in particular, Darin and I have been having a lot of conversations about our future and if we would be able to remain here in South Africa or if it was time to just throw in the towel and go back to Michigan. We talked a lot, but struggled to make a decision one way or the other. We were starting to lean towards returning to the states, where the kids could seamlessly slip back into school, we'd be close to friends and not so far from family and Darin would have a job, which would mean a salary and health insurance! It would be so easy to just go back and get on with life, but when we'd talk about going back it just didn't feel right. On the other hand, we were still excited about our current involvement with Mama C and TYB and other people/organizations we've been introduced to and we were hoping to increase our involvement with these places. However, with the future of the petrol station still being such a huge question mark and our personal finances running out too many months ago to remember, we were kind of in a pickle.
About 6 weeks ago, a business associate of Darin made contact with him about a potential opportunity in South Africa. I did not pay much attention to the emails that were being sent as we have had a string of potential opportunities come into view the past few months and not one of them has panned out. Thankfully I am the only pessimist in our marriage and Darin "the cup is half full" Fey is always willing to look into things that seem like bleak and hopeless situations to me. About 4 weeks ago Darin met with this associate in Pretoria. They were going to meet on a Thursday morning for a few hours, but then got together again on Friday and then once more on Saturday. Darin came home from each of these meetings feeling energized and excited about our future here in South Africa, while I continued to be a Debbie Downer.
Last week, we were house sitting in Pretoria so our kids could attend Holiday Club at our church. On Wednesday, Darin and I dropped the kids off at church and headed out to Hammanskraal to pick up a few items from our house and visit with our friends across the road. As we were driving, I was feeling so overwhelmed about needing to make a decision. I hate, HATE making decisions. Like I really, really struggle to just choose something and move on. Decision making wears me down, tires me out, causes me much anxiety and stress and just pretty much makes me not even like to be around myself! While we were driving in silence, which would not have been possible if the kids had been along, I heard myself blurting out "Ok, let's just stay" and once I said it I could feel my whole body relax.
So, the short story is we are planning to stay right where we are for at least 6 more months. As my dear friend Michelle recently wrote "ultimately it's useless to make plans with the thought that 100% of these things (that you've planned) will happen (how you've planned them, or at all)", so we'll be moving forward with our eyes open to where God is leading and try not to hold on too firmly to our own ideas and expectations. At the same time, we see this new opportunity that Darin has been given as a gift from God. We came out here intending to follow the "business as mission" model with the petrol station and now we have been given an opportunity to follow that model, just with a different business! I'm not trying to be secretive about Darin's new venture, but I am sure he can better put into words what he is going to be doing and I'm guessing he'll manage to get a post up soon telling all about it!
The other big change on the horizon is that Tyson and Jori will be going to school. In less than two weeks they will be heading out to Jabulane Christian Academy, all uniformed and ready to go. Next week they go in for testing and I'm hoping that they'll be able to take a peek at their classrooms as well, but it is winter break right now so they might just have to wait until the 16th for that. You'd think that after dealing with the ill effects of anxiety just a week ago that I would be cool as a cucumber with the idea of the kids heading off to school, but I find myself stressing out over all sorts of things, real or imagined, that keep rolling through my head, so prayers for peace would be much appreciated and of course prayers for our two scholars as they head off on a new adventure of their own!
One final change is that we have accepted that our plans to be fully self supported may not be what God has intended for our family at this time. So, we are going to be raising support, which is something that is a bit outside of our comfort zone. Why this is, I'm not exactly sure, but I'm guessing that most people struggle with asking other people for money and trying to put into words the value of what they are hoping to accomplish. Now, we will get to join their ranks!