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Postings by different participants...maybe even someone you know.
Last Leg of an Incredible Journey
We are at the gate in de Gaulle waiting to board for the last leg of our journey. Our tour of Paris was cold, but fun. We all think Paris is really neat (except Cameron - he needs to come back when it is warmer!), but our hearts are still in South Africa. This was my 7th Swamp Corps trip and you might be wondering if all the planning and traveling gets old. Witnessing God work powerfully never gets old and I am honored and grateful to be a part of each trip - my faith is encouraged every time. I also love the opportunity to better get to know each participant. There is no bond like the bond of sharing the gospel together. Finally, meeting brothers and sisters in other places reminds me of how special and precious God's kingdom is - something I have at times struggled to believe.
Bye Byes and Bonjours
Well, the trip of a lifetime is wrapping up and I'm overwhelmed with emotions from the last 24 hours or so. Last year, the American campers and counselors had to leave directly from church and we had the great priviledge of spending all of Sunday and most of Monday in Joburg. Service was incredible and quite emotional and really helped cap off our week of camp. I got to lead some songs which was really intimidating but we all just had a blast up there praising God with the same songs we had been singing most of the week at our impromptu singing devos throughout camp. I cried multiple times during service because of how thankful I was for the week and because of the stories of some of the campers and the generosity I saw from the Joburg church and their faith and hope in the future of teens here at their camp.
After service, I was so grateful that I got to eat lunch with most of the boys from my cabin and then spend the day with my man Jade's family. His parents Leigh and Terry were so encouraging and I felt very at home there. The night was fun and really relaxing as the girls took the boys on a reverse date, but the end was bitter sweet as we began our goodbyes.
On Monday as we finally had to say goodbye and get on the bus, I finally lost it completely. When Jeff said it was boarding time I just wept as I hugged the campers and counselors who came to see us off. I can't describe my emotions there except to tell you that my heart now belongs to the people of Africa. The love they showed me and joy and peace that I felt with them cannot be explained so I will just leave it there and tell you that I would sell a kidney if that's what it takes to make it back next year.
Today we have been in Paris and I'm loving it but I must say that South Africa has much more of a draw for me. Sightseeing has nothing on the power of the Spirit at work.
Much love to you all,
Jacobus Nkosinathi Paw-Paw Richardson
Praying in Paris
Airplane food is a lot better on air France. We're on a train praying to God and I'm just grateful to be here. Thanks God thanks Africa, see ya next year!
No Fear in Love
Let on Rain
Well here we are waiting in the airport to board the plane. My heart is heavy from the sadness of having to leave South Africa yet again. This country has stolen my heart in so many ways. I am so thankful to God for allowing me to meet so many of my brothers and sisters from the southern African region. I love you all South Africans!
It's really cloudy outside and slightly rainy and all of me hopes that our flight is cancelled and we have no choice but to return to our host families and stay until our passports run out. That seems pretty unlikely though. There has never been a place that I have connected to so easily and never people I have gotten to know so well in such a short amount of time. My heart hurts to say goodbye, but I know I'll see them again, if not on earth I will in heaven.
I told Jeff I'd blog, because I thought I knew what to say, until he handed me the phone. We're on the bus, on the way to the airport. The South Africans chased us as far as they could up the road, as if there weren't enough tears already. Many tears are still being shed, but according to Psalms 126, much joy is still to come from them. Praise the Lord for his power and glory, and especially love. Savannah
Zebras on Holiday
I am eating brunch at the Heia Safari Ranch where Zebra, Springboks, Impala and Giraffes roam freely...and humans spend their holiday in Rondevals (huts) shall we say together. So cool!! The top picture is taken right from my table. There is a sign by the pool that reads "Please exit the pool when the zebras come to drink." Ha Ha
The other pictures were taken as we strolled the grounds. That giraffe was huge! Truly, a quiet time in motion. God is so creative and beautiful. Jeff
A Sunday of Gratitude
Melina Cole and Nifemi Ogunro
Although my trip isn't over yet, knowing that this camp is coming to an end is killing me. I blamed most of my tears on the fact that I am completely sleep deprived, but the truth is I can't imagine going back to America without my brothers and sisters in Africa. Being at this camp has taught me so much. I used to think that I knew how to worship God with my whole heart, but boy was I wrong. These Africans can worship!! The truth is, I may never see these people again in this lifetime but I hope I'll get the opportunity to meet with them ALL in heaven!
Love, Nifemi aka Fems
Wow this has been an amazing experience. These people have touched my heart. Yesterday we had the thankful devo. It amazed me how many people shared and how open everyone is. I have made so many friends. I love South Africa so much. I'm excited to see everyone in America but it is going to be awful when we leave everyone. I hope with all my heart I will be able to come back next year.