Greetings from Rocky Valley Camp!
We were overwhelmed with the many emotions we were experiencing as we spent the week debriefing and preparing to say goodbye to the beautiful country and community that has stolen our hearts. We started the week by debriefing our time in South Africa, and ended it by searching for the big five on a safari. This week was also filled with silent reflection time and intentional time spent to keep building relationships by playing games, lazing in hammocks, pool time, and watching monkeys.
The first few days of the week were spent debriefing the last three months. We started off by mapping the semester week by week, sharing memories from each place we stayed at. We were reminded by Chris, our leader, how faithful God is, and were encouraged to look back at the last seven months to reflect on how God has remained faithful throughout our journey. One challenge with going home is knowing how to tell your story, so we spent a session looking at ways to make it easier to integrate and tell our stories well. We ended debrief with Johan, a country partner who has joined us throughout South Africa, looking at ourselves before Outtatown and comparing how we have changed. He challenged us to think of ways to take those things we learned back home and how not only to look at the near future, but also think of how we want to travel through life to become the person we want to be.
Johan always tells us that we are given two ears and one mouth for a reason. This past week we were given the opportunity to apply his lesson through the sharing of personal testimonies. Each person spent fifteen minutes sharing what the past seven months looked like in their eyes. They spoke of their favourite memories and what they learned about themselves, God, and the world. This was a time of mixed emotions as we laughed at the happy memories and cried during times of encouragement. We were reminded of how much each person brought to the team, and that we would soon be saying goodbye. The two days of testimonies were a good reminder that each person has their own story, and how important it is to listen and validate the stories we hear.
The end of the semester felt very near as we went to a market for a day as a last chance to buy souvenirs and then went on the safari we had been waiting for all semester. We were all buzzing with excitement as we arrived at the resort we would be spending the night at. We kicked the safari off at four in the afternoon and soon saw our first animal, an elephant. We were all in awe as we watched and felt the greatness of the gentle giant move past us, so close we would have reached out and touched it. We drove through the park for the next three hours, encountering all but one of the big five famous animals, amazed by the uniqueness of each one we saw. After three hours on the safari, we went back to our rooms to prepare for an early morning as we would once again go out at six to see some more animals.
As we look forward to our last few days together, we are excited to celebrate with our friends and families, the closing of this season of life. Thank you to all of you that have supported our team through your thoughts and prayers. We are so excited to see where God takes all 22 of us in this next season of life!
Carolyn and Megan