Bring it on 2012 - Part 2

Happy 2012!

I am so stoked to start this new year here in PMB. I hope you made some special memories when the clock hit midnight on the 1st of January. My New Years was pretty chill. Watched Cool Runnings and than gathered with 18 other people connected to MCC to toast under the stars. Than we went swimming around 1am. How many times can I say that I went swimming on New Years! Than on New Years Day I got to lay on the beach and read a book- pretty perfect memories if you ask me.

This retreat away was just what I needed. I was pretty emotional writing to you in my last blog entry. Since the last time we chatted I've had more than enough time to think over every part of Christmas night and just be thankful that I'm alive. I've also had my blood work taken and ordered an epi pen that I have the joy of taking with me everywhere. I haven't gotten my blood work back yet but if I ever find out what I'm allergic too I'll for sure let you know. I was tested for 5 different types of peanuts. These tests are pretty expensive so let's pray we find out answers quickly.

I start work back on Monday and I am so excited to be back working at Gateway. Yes, I miss home but I don't want to be anywhere else right now. I am working for a NGO and doing what I love- how many times do people get to say that. I have my dream job already (if only it paid) and I want to soak up these next 7 months to be equipped for whatever life throws at me next. 

On our retreat I got to room with Jessica (SALTer who is based in Durban) and a past IVEPer from Swaziland named Dudu. Being here I am forced to live cross culturally instead of just reading about it.  I am constantly being forced to change and adapt to situations because if I don't.... well too bad for me.. life keeps happening and I'm left completely in the dark. Rooming with Dudu was so great because I got a window into her life, customs and learnt things that seem crazy to me are perfectly normal to her. A funny example was that when girls where shorts that are even a few cm above the knee are called "sexy pants." I couldn't imagine what some of the Sawzi boys would think if they ever saw how short some girls wear their shorts in North America. I learnt some pretty serious things as well- it is still custom for women to grow up and get married. The messages that I've grown up with about being single and in control. Hook-up and move on and don't look back. Marriage is getting less common in my opinion and divorce has become the norm. But for many countries still in the world. a women's worth and dignity comes with getting married. 
Another massive difference between the cultures we live in is how we respect our elders and people who are a few years older than us. Talking back to our parents- that would never happen. I asked her if she ever talked back to her parents or ever thought her parents made a wrong decision. She replied that her parents aren't perfect but that she would never not do what they say. When they told her to do something you did it. You never protested or asked questions. People older than you, you respect. It's as simple as that. 

I'm learning that my culture isn't "right or wrong" and neither is hers. It's different. And as 2012 starts I'm taking the time to realize each and every day what I like and don't like about my culture. What makes me so angry when I look at certain hidden rules that society puts on us. I'm also getting to experience what I don't like about South African culture and since there are 11 official lanuages here there are a lot of different cultures and types that I get to experience.

I get frustrated thinking about how there is such a push to buy more, get more, consume more and the list goes on. I fear that I will be upset about this when I come home but that I still won't do anything to change.  Will I still buy clothes that I know were made unethically and people didn't get far wages for? Will I continue to use a cell phone when I know that the rape in the Congo is happening because of the North American splurge for phones. All for what? Because it's convenient for me? Because I don't want to pay the extra 20 dollars to ensure that it is ethically made? These thoughts cross my mind on a daily basis and as I anticipate 2012 I am determined to make conscious decisions. I know now that my choices have an effect- they always do, no matter what I tell myself.  If there was no demand for 10 dollar shirts than the businesses could pay more to their workers - *sigh* if only it would be that easy. But do you get my point?

As 2012 starts I am determined to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly along my God who knows all things. (Micah Six) I have big hopes and dreams for 2012 and although one may call me naive when I tell them that I'm going to try and control my purchases and believe that slavery can end in my lifetime I know that I serve a God who is bigger than this world. I serve and love a God who loves this world but also is just. My God has the power to end slavery. I have no doubts. My faith is still growing but God is doing miracles all around me and I am stoked to see the miracles He will do in 2012.

So yes, I am still a little shaken from the many events that threatened my health in 2011 but I am trying to walk with a God who is all knowing. So why do I need to be afraid? Why do I need to worry? I named this post "Bring it on" and at the end of typing this I'm going to keep it titled that way because I am ready for whatever 2012 holds; not because I can do it on my own strength but I have a relationship with a God who is more than capable.


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