Being here in Bloemfontein for two months has been an eye opener for me in some ways. There are a few things that I have discovered about myself and the community of Manguang where I am living. It is kind of surprising for me to notice the few changes that have been taking place in my life. I can tell you that it took a lot of patience, faith and trust on my part but I believe it is with these things that I have discovered the changes that are taking place in my life.
First, I can tell you that when I arrived that I did not have a place to volunteer right away. This was frustrating because that is how I am use to things happening. Having something lined up and starting right away. Of course this is how we are all use to things. We are used to being doers and doing things that we feel will make a difference. What I have begun to realize though is that while it is ok to do, I also need to just be. Just being is actually a lot harder than what it seems. You see, as much as I love to do I have never taken the time to just be. This is what I remember being told to us at orientation in Chicago time after time. This really did not hit me until I actually had to learn to just be. I slowly had to realize that things do not happen on my time or right away. As Dean Monama has told me repeatedly when things did not happen right away for me “Just give it time.” I can say that if I had not taken the time to just be, I would not have developed a bond with my host family. I would not have had a chance to get to know the people in the community of Manguang nor would I have learned about the history of South Africa during apartheid. I also would have not bonded well with my little siblings that I live with because they mean so much to me now. To just be is hard and something that I have not been used to, but if I didn’t take the time I would never have experienced the love in this community and to discover what it really means to be in relationship with God and with others. To really be living in community and to be interdependent on one another has really been a spiritual growth for me. I am slowly starting to understand why it is important to be intentional in relationships and community. My host family, my church friends here and the people in this community have taught me all of this and it is because of them that I have and am still learning what it really means to Just Be.