Hello from Pietermaritzburg!

Note: It is possible I will not have reliable internet access for a few months after today. Do not be alarmed if there are no updates! I will tell you all about the journey when I get the chance.


Today is a hard, wonderful, beautiful, sad day. I soon get on a bus to Cape Town to begin my life in my placement site. I am thrilled to finally get there!

Unfortunately, going to Cape Town also means saying goodbye to my YAGM family in South Africa for the next few months. In honor of them and the relationships we share, I want to take some space to tell you a few of my favorite things about each of the nine other YAGMs in South Africa this year. There is also link to their blog (if they have one) so that you can follow their journey as well!

Luke: Luke emulates jazz music in every way.  It is in the way he walks, the way he smiles, the way he communicates. It is smooth, wonderful to behold, and often unpredictable. I love that Luke is the presence of jazz in my life.

Brent: Brent is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, but his humor is quiet and subtle. He is also completely full of surprises, and he someday wants to play Collins in Rent! In his own words, he is ‘an open book but a difficult read.’

Joe: Joe is just a lovely soul. When he sings, the world should stop to listen. Seriously. His voice is something to be appreciated. Joe also laughs at jokes, even if they are in a language he doesn’t speak. Follow Joe at: http://joeinsouthafrica.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/a-new-cultural-experience/

Keenan: Keenan is a fiercely independent wild mountain man. Underneath that rough exterior is an intuitive heart of gold. He teases me incessantly and also always knows when I just need a hug. Follow Keenan at: http://kwexperience.blogspot.com

Hannah: Hannah is a selfless, loving, stylish, adventurous woman. She is unafraid to speak her mind and be herself. I love her honesty. I also love the way she tells stories with passion and humor. Follow Hannah at: http://searchingforlogos.wordpress.com/

Emily: Emily loves to fly and her favorite animal is the goat. She is horrible at telling jokes, which makes them funnier. She reminds me to appreciate the simple pleasures in life, as well as the momentous ones. Follow Emily at: http://emilyinsouthernafrica.blogspot.com

Elle: Elle has the heart of a child in a way that makes her a joy to be around. When words can’t express her feelings, she makes noises or does a handstand or sings. I feel blessed to have her happy and deeply faithful presence in my life. Follow Elle at: http://comewalkwithelle.blogspot.com

Kelly: Kelly is the first person I felt truly connected to in this process, and her laughter is completely infectious. We often simply need to make eye contact to communicate, and I love her willingness to laugh at herself. Follow Kelly at: http://kmackinsouthafrica.blogspot.com/ 

Rachel: Rachel is my soul twin. We are so alike in so many ways, and there are so many other ways in which I admire her. My favorite thing about Rachel is how you can feel her compassion emanate from her every pore. Follow Rachel at: http://rachelswenson.wordpress.com/


My favorite thing about us as a group is our unconditional and overflowing love for one another. In the last few weeks with these people, I have had moments of anxiety and sadness and fear and joy and I have also laughed more than I ever have before in my life. I feel like I have found family in a way I did not realize family could exist. The support and safety and exuberance I feel with these people are overwhelming, and a blessing I was not expecting. Though we will not be together again for a few months, I know I carry a piece of them with me in my travels in the same way that pieces of my heart are now scattered around South Africa.

Please keep the 10 of us (and our fearless leaders, the Leiseth family) in your prayers in our journeys to our communities, and in our journeys with our communities.