{The Bear, unsure of whether he wants to leave the comforts of North Carolina behind…}

Flying from Johannesburg to Cape Town was a peaceful two hours. Looking out the plane window, you first see the clay-red rooftops of the houses in Joburg fading into the distance, along with the tall shiny buildings of the city centre, the phone lines, and the blue of the backyard swimming pools. And then sometimes, for as far as your eye can see, it’s just this clay-red-brown earthy colour in every direction. It is beautiful. Lots of people say it’s Mama Africa’s red dust. Once it gets under your skin, into your blood, you always want to return. At some stages the clouds might space out below you like the circles on a Twister game. Perfect little round pillows stretching into the distance in white cotton rows. And you see mountains, one after another, some rough and rocky, some green and lush and verdant, and you wonder if anyone knows the names of all of them.

Then the wilderness turns into busyness again, as you arrive in Cape Town. The cape flats that sit behind the mountains of Cape Town stretch out for what seems like ages. The mountains are so beautiful you want the plane to slow down so you can stare at them a little longer. And then as you fly in, you often get to see Cape Town’s famous Table Mountain and the range that runs, and spills into the beautiful blue-green water. The beauty here is unmistakably wild — it’s hard to explain what I mean. If you visit the Lake District in England, it is also beautiful, but it seems tame. There are cute bunnies and ducks and swans and signs to beware of squirrels crossing the road. Here the mountains just seem so vast and expansive and rugged and rough — so beautiful you want to get closer, so rough you’re not sure you’ll do well on the climb. And the road signs don’t warn you about squirrels.

Our arrival at the airport was relatively uneventful. We picked up the rental car and the nice gentleman who helped us pack up the car taught me a few things to say in Xhosa (thank you and God Bless You). I absolutely struggled to convince my tongue to make some of the sounds he made, and I still don’t have it! I took his picture and thanked him for being my first friend in Cape Town. Then we were off to find the accommodation we’ve booked for the next three weeks. You might feel like this place is just like North Carolina, or anywhere you might call home in the states. Then you pass Khayelitsha, a huge and sprawling township of tiny shacks squished beside each other, with their four walls made of tin roofing, almost built on top of each other. You think about what it must be like to live there. You’re traveling at sixty miles per hour and the shacks seem to be never ending. As they’re sprawling along beside the highway, it feels like they’re running along with you, and then off into the distance. I remembered that the gentleman who helped pack our car lives there. And we wondered how we might go about arranging an opportunity to give people there shoes.

This is Africa. The beauty is great. The need is great. Our God is great. We hope He’ll let us be a part of what He’s doing here.

We’re currently staying in rented holiday accommodation while we look for a place to live. I think we have found our place to live now! I’ll share pictures as soon as I can and it’s for sure! Getting set up in a new country is challenging, but God is making smooth paths for us. Not having a credit history around here makes making anything happen a bit tough, but it’s coming together!  Thank you for your prayers, for your encouragement, and many of you, your financial support. Without it, we couldn’t be here!

{This lovely gent is writing down a few words for me in Xhosa!}