We have had a great (BUSY) first week in Stellenbosch, South Africa. We have been so busy that we haven’t had much time to write, so here is a mass update, complete with pictures.

  1. We are a very long way from home:

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This means several things. First, since we’re below the equator, it’s winter here. Second, we spent much of the first week in a jet-lag haze. Today is day 8 here and I think I’m finally over it. Laura of course has been fine for several days….Settling in on day 1 involved the usual things: unpacking, getting new SIM cards for our phones, finding some local currency (Rand, each worth 1/12 of a US dollar), and buying a one-month membership at a local gym. What, you don’t join a health club for your vacation?……

2. We are working with some former ACU students who lead a growing sports ministry program called Kingdom DNA. Led by Casper Steenkamp, a native of South Africa who played tennis for ACU, this organization reaches out using tennis.

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(Casper is second from left. The other two folks are also ACU grads. Go Wildcats!)

3. One cool aspect of this ministry is a tennis program in a very poor area a few kilometers from here. If you can visualize acres and acres of families living in tiny wooden and tin shacks, you get the idea. Many afternoons the group rolls up to the basketball court there, sets up portable tennis nets, and the games begin as neighborhood children practice and do drills. Note the non-traditional tennis footwear.IMG_5272IMG_5271IMG_5270

And of course Laura still has her college-level overhead smash.

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4. People here drive on the left side of the road, which is utterly confusing to Americans. On day 1, still quite jet-lagged and out for my first solo drive in the dark, I drifted too far left and clipped a curb, ruining a tire. In left-hand countries I am now 2 for 2 on tire fatalities. I have gotten the hang of it now. Maybe. Hopefully.

5. We are kinda really busy. We are working with Casper and his family on general issues related to growing and managing the organization, but he invited us here primarily to mentor and teach his interns and apprentices, all of whom are current or former ACU students. Over 2-3 weeks we are delivering about 22 hours of material, which is roughly half of a semester course. We have four major topics:

  • Social Entrepreneurship. Laura is an expert in this area, so right now, about 5 feet from me, she is doing a morning session on it. I, being not an expert in this, am writing this update for both of us, then reviewing our material for tonight’s session. You are sleeping, as it’s still night-time where you are, and of course President Trump is probably tweeting something.
  • Servant Leadership. Neither of us is an expert on this, but we have some exposure to it and will be covering it next week. “The son of man came to serve” and all that.
  • Personal Finance. We both have educational and practical experience with this and we are trying to give them the basics in how to manage money well, or at least how to avoid committing financial suicide during their first decade out of school.
  • Life Design. This is a new area for us, a topic I opened up several months back, and that we have both quickly gotten into. It asks the fundamental question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and seems particularly relevant to college students and mid-life folks. Stay tuned for chances to explore this with us back in ABI after we return!        Here is our very first ever “Planning your life” group:
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So our days consist mostly of doing ministry with the group, spending informal time with them, presenting material, and preparing the next day’s material! We are having a blast and I will be tired, but also sorry when our time here ends.

Stay tuned for a post on what the group here calls “Missional Community” and what it can teach us in the US about how the church is supposed to handle differences and create unity (hint: it’s not easy).

I’ll close with this shot of Laura, looking at a mountain, while Colonel Sanders looks at her. Some things here feel pretty familiar.

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Read more about Kingdom DNA and Casper here and here.

Hear an audio clip of Chewbacca from Star Wars here.