South Africa-After VBS

As you can tell, the posts about South Africa are winding down.  After a long week of VBS and lots of kids, we had fulfilled what we had come to do.  I think it is safe to say, we all came expecting to pour ourselves into the children and change their lives.  But oh, how our God has a different plan.  No doubt we poured ourselves into the kids and LSEs, but the blessing was most received in them touching and changing our lives.  There is no doubt that each of the 17 team members on this trip have been forever changed. 

Departure from the LSEs and volunteers on Friday was difficult, but we knew that they were not new to the comings and goings of volunteer teams from the US.  Somehow, that made leaving them just a little bit easier for me.  Plus, most of the LSEs and volunteers have Facebook accounts so even from the other side of the world, we knew we could stay in touch.

One thing I didn't touch on was what happened during our nightly debrief meetings.  Almost without fail, there was always a story from one team that would touch us all and give us pause.  But right along with those stories were stories of hilarity and fun.  Thursday night, Amy asked the teams to act out (charade fashion) the most memorable event from that day.  Here are just a few of the action shots of that night.
Beth and Dustin-no, she didn't really hit him but it sure looks like she is about to.

I sure wish I could post the picture the immediately followed, but it might get someone fired from their job.

Don't ask.

And I say again, don't ask.
Needless to say, we laughed until we cried.  And not just this night, but several nights.  I think these times, along with the serious ones, were what bonded this team so tightly.  I have heard from other team members since we came back how unusually close we feel to each other. 

Saturday we had all day as a free day before the first part of the team left.  Since their flight didn't leave until midnight, a bunch of us had the opportunity to go to a safari.  We were very excited about that until we realized it meant we'd have to leave the house at 5:30am.  Nevertheless, 8 of us braved the early alarm and hopped in the van to make it to Aquila which was about 3 hours away.  About an hour away from the house, I realized I had left my memory card in my roommates computer as I was uploading pictures to Facebook the night before.

I seriously thought I was going to cry.  But my sweet friend Jaina had a camera similar to mine and she let me take pictures with hers while she videoed.  And was it worth it! Being so close to these amazing animals was stunning!  In fact, there was a point where it was so beautiful and surreal that it brought tears to my eyes.  I would have felt silly about that until I turned around and there was someone else doing the same thing!  We had the best tour guide named...wait for it...ROMEO. 

Saturday afternoon we returned from the Safari in enough time for the first travel group to get packed up and ready to go.  We ate at a sweet little restaurant called Mama Africa and then sadly bade farewell to about 2/3 of our team.

Sunday would be our last night in South Africa and it would prove to be a memorable evening at that.  Stay tuned...

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