Jordan Muller is an ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) volunteer, who will soon complete his time in South Africa. The YAGM program relies on coordinators who facilitate the young adults’ ministry and provide mentoring and spiritual guidance. To support a YAGM coordinator, go to www.elca.org/missionarysponsorship.
Although it’s hard to believe, I have arrived at my last 10 days at the Kwaz and my final two weeks in South Africa. On July 10 I will head to Pietermaritzburg for a few days … and (then) return to the States. I find myself filled with a myriad of emotions as the end draws near: sad, happy, proud, anxious, nervous, excited — to name a few. It feels like I’m coming to the end of a book. However, if this is the end of a book then it would have to be a part of a series because, just as my story didn’t start when I boarded the plane to Chicago over 10 months ago, my story does not end when I go to Pietermaritzburg or when I get off the plane in Lincoln, Neb.
The difficulty now will be to figure out what the point of this book was and how it fits into the series. What has it meant for me, my community in South Africa, my community in Nebraska, my role as a YAGM, as a church member? I don’t know if I will ever be able to come up with an answer that anyone else will fully understand but I will try to head in that direction.
I didn’t come to South Africa to say that I’ve been to South Africa or to say that I’ve lived in another country for a year. I came to experience. I came to accompany the people, to experience a new culture and customs, to learn about the struggles that others face, to grow in as many ways as I could and to be challenged by all of it. And to be honest, my time here was more challenging than I ever thought it would be but, at the same time, I know that the struggles I faced helped me to grow and to learn lessons I never could have been taught in a classroom or read from a book.
The reality is that this experience was never about just me. I do not live in a world that is isolated from everyone else. If you haven’t read any of my previous posts, Ubuntu is a Zulu/Xhosa word that basically says that a person is a person through other people. We are all connected to each other as humans and, because of this, we are called into a greater community. There are so many people that have made this experience possible and made it what is has been. For that, I am forever grateful. I was blessed with an amazing opportunity and I hope that I was able to be a blessing to those that I accompanied throughout my time here.
As this book comes to an end, I am eager to see what the plot of the next book will be. Above all, though, I pray that I am able to continue to experience new things, to learn, to grow, to hope, to be grateful, to need less, to give more, to love much, to laugh often and to have a good time doing it!