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Recycling, Marketing, Deciding to stay longer 

January 17, 2017

 

Flying out from Durban - what started as such a question mark in this South African adventure ended up as a complete gift. I decided in August to come to Durban... and I was set to arrive in October and leave in April. Flights were booked... but when I went to get the 6 month visa, I realized I was too late to apply. I questioned whether it was really from God to come. Along with that, some technical glitches made it seem that all of the donations were refunded. I surrendered to God and asked what He had for me. The technical glitch ended up only being with my boyfriend- and God told him that HE (God) would bring me to Durban, and it wasn't going to be because of my boyfriend. The glitch wasn't with any other donation, but it alerted me that if I didn't fill out a form, all the donations WOULD HAVE been refunded. God really was showing me that He was providing for this trip. But that didn't solve the visa problem. In talking to some people, my boyfriend found out that to get another 90 day visa after the first 3 months, I just have to leave the country for more than 7 days, and it has be to a country that doesn't touch South Africa. Apparently, it also had to be a flight. When looking up flights, everything was the same price for Africa, Europe, and Middle East. When we started working out prices of staying/flights/food, we realized that Germany (of all places!) would actually be the cheapest for us. Not only that, but we get to see dear friends and stay with them, AND I've always wanted to go to Germany, because it's a huge part of my heritage. So basically, what started as something that made me think God was saying no to South Africa turned out to be a gigantic blessing. I get to (actually - have to!) take a trip with my love to a winter wonderland. A part of me feels so guilty, but then I realize that God is really blessing us, when we would have probably never blessed ourselves with something like this at this time. Such a gift !!!! Can't wait - almost there!   

After trip: It was wonderful! And very cold. We got to see the alps with (plenty of) snow on them and we froze our toes off as we enjoyed the beauty of Europe. Mostly, we stuck with our people, staying with friends of ours in Western Germany, Eastern Germany (both in the South), Zurich..and even hopping to Salzburg and France for a bit. We tried to be as absolutely cheap as possible which was an adventure. We could be seen lugging around our suitcases in snow, taking many rides of 'Flixbus' and walking around for fun...but we loved it! We loved experiencing raclette in Switzerland and Weiss beer in Germany, along with many other foods. I feel so spoiled that we were blessed with this trip, not only so that we could see such beauty, but even more because I could stay in South Africa for another 3 months. We arrived back and I returned the loads of hats, scarves, gloves, and jackets that loving people on the village lent me. I was so surprised at how much winter gear people in South Africa have haha! They were so gracious. 

February, 2017

 

I've realized that I have done a great job at explaining the details of traveling here, but haven't included much of what I am doing. Typical. I think sometimes the most constant activities are the ones I fail to write about- because I figure everyone already knows! Well, what a normal day looks like is going into the office and sitting at the desk, sometimes taking a break to watch the 3-5 year olds do gym class. (cutest thing ever). My job here is mainly helping organize a database. At the moment, LIV's donations have grown and the baton of keeping track of the donations has been passed so many times that there is a messy system. My job is to work with the leaders of the village and departments to understand who the donors are and to put them into a database, where they can be better kept in contact with. I love organizing and I love clarity, so this job feels very much in my wheelhouse. 

What I originally came to do- set up a recycling and composting system for the village- is progressing. Recycling has fallen into place swimmingly. When I arrived, I researched what it would take to start recycling. Companies in South Africa want to charge to offer recycling. I knew that LIV wouldn't be able to prioritize this money to recycling, so I kept looking. Then, I find out that a company offered LOV recycling for free. Not just that, in order to help LIV as well as cover some of there bases as a business, they would donate all of the proceeds from LIV's recycled goods back to LIV. We are now in a waiting period because this company also offered to pay someone from the local community to sort through the recycled material, so we are waiting on the finalization of his employment. Its all very exciting. In terms of compost, this will have to come after recycling, and that is okay. 

Other than that, I have really enjoyed being on the marketing team and helping with events. LIV is a pretty well-known name across South Africa. We have conferences and wristbands and famous athletes as our ambassadors. Coming from the US, I had only heard about LIV from my boyfriend...but in South Africa (and also the UK), LIV is more well-known. I've loved meeting with different departments and seeing what goes into running a place like this. I've loved hearing how it started from 2 confident people...and its grown my confidence in myself to chase what God has put on my heart. 

Finally...the kids! They are lovely. I mostly hang out with the younger kids. I teach Sunday school and I live on site, so I'm always around some kids. They are hilarious and so earnest and sweet. They are also very wild and Sunday School usually exhausts me so much that I'm down for the day. I love seeing unique personalities of the kids come out. For example, there is one four year old that I have a soft spot for because we think he is like Erns (boyfriend)... mostly because of how he looks, but also because he loves puzzles and is analytical. I have a soft spot for all of kids I know, but in different ways. Its been really so much fun to have joy with them. 

I think thats it for now! 

March 16, 2017

 

Reposted from LIV Village Facebook page: 

 

"LIV now has a brand new RECYCLING Programme and we are so excited about it! Each home has their own recycling bins and each family has been taught about how recycling at LIV works. We have our own sorting area on site and thanks to WastePlan Pty Ltd, we are ale to employ members of the Cottonlands community to do the sorting. We are so happy to be able to play a role in trying to make the earth a better place, but also to teach the children of LIV how to care for the planet."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Its been amazing to talk to the kids about where their trash goes. It doesn't just disappear. In fact plastic, which was invented (in the sense that we know it) around 110 years ago takes 400 years give or take to decompose. This means that every piece of plastic that has ever been used is sitting on the earth somewhere. It has been amazing to see the kids respond with questions and with a positive attitude. Recycling is such a gift in that it is the solution to how much plastic, glass, tin, paper, and cardboard the world uses. Mostly, my job now in recycling is staying in contact with WastePlan and making sure that we keep increasing the understanding of what is to be recycled on the village. 

April 17, 2017

 

I was supposed to leave on the 19th, but I am staying in Durban until July now!

 

Staying in Durban

 

I’m anxious beyond belief. By staying, I feel i’m giving up things. I was excited to see friends and family. I miss some parts about being in the US: not worrying about cars getting broken into and I miss understanding everyone. (People DO speak english here, but I still find my most used word “what?”) I feel like I’m disappointing people- I’m missing weddings and I feel like I’m being irresponsible to many. and I turn 26 in 2 weeks and then i have no medical insurance. And while that may sound silly, I planned my trip so that I can come back to California and go to every doctor and dentist before I turned 26. I’m totally someone who appreciates the doctor, so i think I’m reeling from that. 

 

Also- its hard here. Not in every way, but I find myself completely emotionally exhausted most days. Something about living where you work is exhausting enough, and then there are a few other factors here that really hit hard. Also- last week I found a flea in my bed for the second time. That nearly set me off. Some things just aren’t comfortable or relaxing or overall conducive to my sanity. 

 

I’m afraid

I’m afraid of getting home and God saying, ‘well…if you came back in April, I would have provided you with the perfect job, but now you miss out.’ I am scared that I misheard God’s blessing in this. (thats a typical fear of mine). Also-  I am scared of having no money when I get back. No job. No place to live. No home city at the moment. I’ll have to figure out everything! And while, before, I set aside some money so I’d have some for when I get back, now I will have none of that.

 

BUT

All of these things are fears. Some- yes- are responsible fears, but fears nonetheless. I don’t want to live that way: Curbing trips so I can get a doctor appointment, and letting my anxiety of ‘what ifs’ determine my steps. 

 

What ultimately made this decision of staying even possible for me was being gifted/blessed with a trip this week to south east asia to meet up with my friends Danika and John. I couldn't believe what a huge blessing.  

 

And even when offered that, I wasn’t sure. I kept going back and forth. Was this actually from God? But yesterday for Easter, I was reading a lot in Luke. I realized that if I took away the stresses that God tells me not to have (like worrying about tomorrow or about money) and focused on being present, I felt good in staying. I still was afraid that I was missing an opportunity. I thought He was lining up something for me, but I heard no. I realize now that the mixed messages could have been a “not yet” and I’m excited to see how that plays out. 

 

A few days ago, I wrote out all of my dreams- 'I’d like to do this, and this.’ I voiced my desires to Him. I think He loves that. More than anything, I begged that my free will wouldn’t get in the way of what He wants to do in my life. I told Him that I have no desire to go against Him and I begged Him to please shut the doors that aren’t for me. Staying here for a few more months was on that list of desires, but I didn’t want it to jeopardize the other dreams He has given me. And I didn’t want to be stressed here. But yesterday morning, as I read my Bible, I felt God telling me that He would take care of me here. I saw Him hugging me…and I felt so firmly that I wasn't rebelling in wanting to stay a bit longer. I still have some fear, but I feel God teaching me that making decisions is good and He won’t punish me with ’no job’ if I don’t hear Him perfectly. I really am feeling Him wants to rid that fear from my life- of feeling like if I can’t hear Him and don’t know what to do, I’m going to screw myself over. I feel like He is trying to teach me how to make choices when He doesn’t close doors. 

 

Also, God is giving me excitement for the future. I’m excited for when I go back to the states in July. He has given me dreams of where to live and what to work towards. And He has shown me how I can begin to work towards that while I’m here. God has specifically shown me so many of my own dreams. I used to doubt whether I was ever going to be successful in the world. I couldn’t understand how all of my passions would combine and be used, and I now feel He is beginning to show me a bit of His purpose for me. 

 

 

So for now, I’m staying until July. I’m leaving to Bali (!) tomorrow for a week, which then allows me to get a new South African visa when I get back in the country. At that point, my passport will have no more pages and I will have no choice but to come back, which actually feels completely right. I get to keep working on a few things here that didn’t feel complete. I wanted to pass on the recycling job to someone properly. I’m working on updating a database here so LIV has better communication with donors, and I was only 3/4 done with what I wanted to do. I also mentor a few girls here who are leaving in July. We were going to continue over Skype, but now, we can continue in person. I also get to enjoy my boyfriends company for a few more months, which is amazing because we actually don’t know how or when or if He will be able to come to the states. We were about to start an undefined time of long-distance, which I was confident we could do... But I thank God we can soak up more time with each other now. I get to see some of my closest friends in Bali, which is absurd to me. (I just felt God correcting me: nothing is absurd with Him). I guess I have mentioned my dream to go to Bali quite a bit...and when I asked Danika and John where they were going to be, I was in awe that they answered Bali! I’m so excited to hike and see beauty there, while also hanging out with people so dear to me. And I’ve always been a very willing 3rd wheel, so this will be very fun.

As for LIV, I'm confident that Jesus will take care of me here. :) I would love prayers for God to conquer even more of these fears of mine! Also, I would love prayers for LIV in general- that it would thrive and that it would be a place where Jesus is in charge ...just prayers of blessings for this place. Thank you, friends. 

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