Katie Justice is spending a year in South Africa volunteering as part of the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program. The program relies on coordinators who facilitate the young adults’ ministry and provide mentoring and spiritual guidance. To support a coordinator, go to www.ELCA.org/missionarysponsorship.
So you know there are some days that I just get caught up in all the craziness of the world. Watching the news can be depressing a lot of times and sometimes it just makes me angry. I start to wonder as I am watching the news here with my host family if this world can get any better. I have come to realize that it takes small things for me to see this.
This past weekend, I went to Taung, Northwest, with my host family to visit one of my host mom’s family friends. When we pulled up late on Friday night, we were immediately welcomed by the family. I was greeted with a big hug and I even got to see an adorable baby. We were there for the baby’s dedication at church the next morning (Saturday). It is always amazing to me that even though I am going to someone’s house as a stranger, they still welcome me with open arms. I know that the hospitality that I have learned here will be something that I will take back with me when I go home. Anyway, on Saturday we had a big celebration at church for the baby and even had a big meal afterward. I was able to meet more people and I had a gogo (Zulu for “grandmother”) tell me that I was her long-lost family member. As I sat down with gogo, she said something that I will never forget. She said that she and I are one. Black and White we are one. Talk about having tears come to your eyes.
I realized that even with all this craziness that I have seen, I also have seen and experienced many beautiful things in this world. I was telling someone today that I am living a beautiful life, and it is true. Being with my extended family in the Taung and with my family throughout South Africa made me realize that regardless of all the craziness, I do still believe that I live in a beautiful world.