Hello from Johannesburg! 


I can’t even imagine listing all the things I have been thankful for in the last 10 days. So instead, I’m going to do some tidbits and tidings of thanks (I love alliteration).


Tidbit #1: I am so thankful for Heidi Torgerson-Martinez, Stephanie Berkas, and Janelle Neubauer for planning and executing a wonderful and transformative YAGM Orientation in Chicago last week. Also, the team of alumni who were there to accompany us were superb.  I feel so lucky to be a part of the YAGM family!

Tidbit #2: During our layover in Frankfurt, we were sitting near a South African youth choir who was singing beautiful a capella songs in Zulu and English. As we were preparing to board our flight to Johannesburg, they began to sing a wonderful hymn in perfect harmony. Hello, Holy Spirit.

Tidbit #3: On our flight, I was sitting in a window seat and got to experience seeing lights on the Northern coast of the African continent, seeing a sunrise somewhere over the middle of the continent, and an aerial view of Johannesburg.

Tidbit #4: It is lovely to have someone waiting for you with hugs and joy after 34 hours in airports and airplanes. Tessa, Jon, Isaac, and Sophia made up a fantastic welcoming committee.

Tidbit #5: I GOT TO HIGH FIVE A LION CUB AND FEED A GIRAFFE. And now that we had our day as tourists, we can spend the year focusing on living in the communities we will join.

Tidbit #6: Today, we saw the Apartheid Museum. It was a heavy day, but informative. Jon led us in a discussion of our expectations and reactions that was helpful in making it more than just a heavy day.

Tidbit #7: All 60 YAGMs are safely in their countries of service all around the world!

Tidbit #8: I am so so so thankful for the nine other YAGMs who have embarked on this journey to South Africa with me. Every day, I learn a little bit more about them and fall in love with them a whole lot more. The best part: we get to spend another week together!


I hope you are all also keeping up with your daily gratitude! Just try writing down three things a day you are thankful for- I bet you’ll be surprised at how easy it is and how good it feels.