As I sit here enjoying my almond croissant and coffee in downtown Nyack I have a hard time believing I will be in Africa three days from now. Tomorrow at 8:00 PM I will board a plane and begin the two day journey to Johannesburg, South Africa. I am overjoyed at the prospect of reuniting with my friends there, however slightly anxious about flying by myself. This is my first time travelling solo as well as my first independent missions endeavor (i.e. not on a team/planned out trip). It is another step forward; one that I am excited to take. I have been going on "missions trips" for years now, and am ready to transition from that phase into the next, where it's not just going on trips- it's my life. I guess that's called being a missionary, but recently I have found that when I tell people I want to be a missionary they automatically envision something that is quite different from what I intended. I want to go into economic/community development work, which is a little different from the stock image of missionaries as primarily evangelists and pastors.
While in South Africa this summer I will be strengthening ministry ties and exploring the idea of potentially moving out there after school. I will be living among a wonderful community of believers at Alabanza (www.alabanza.co/za
) and helping them with the mundane yet all too important tasks of cooking and cleaning, as well as helping with their new coffee shop (I have been a barista for three years now) and various outreaches including two week-long children's camps. I am looking forward to the community there the most. Alabanza is the closest replication of the Acts church I have ever seen. To the untrained eye they resemble a hippie commune, but when you look deeper I believe it is a beautiful representation of the early church. It is refreshing, and living there challenges me to live in closer intimacy with God as well as my fellow believers. I look forward to the fellowship, as well as the times of solitude, which are much easier to find in a place without TV or readily available internet access.