Posted in Inspirational, People, South Africa

The banter of the Teller #Life#1

The other day when i was paying for my shopping at #Checkers – the teller bantered with me. ‘Joking that i did not have enough cash on my card.’ (*but i did have enough.)

But she was just teasing.

I liked the ease of her humour. I liked how two strangers (her and i) can laugh about something.

One of the biggest qualities about South Africans is their ability to laugh and talk with one another. Even with people you don’t know.

A beautiful life moment that.

Posted in Inspirational, People, Random, South Africa, Uncategorized

Pneu

I’ve been here in my new job for just over a month now. It’s been incredible!

I realised. Maybe my friends and some family, may wonder what I actually do? And also what is with the whole #pneulife and #pneugeneration I keep hashtagging in my Instagram posts. It’s not like I am spelling NEW incorrectly? ūüėČ

So last night, we held an event called WTF! Not what you think… but rather:

WE THE FAMOUS!

I was seriously blown away and so inspired by the talent that we have in our school. ¬†These students had me kinda emotional. ¬†From dances, to skits, to singing… it was seriously really good. ¬†I thought to myself: ¬†Thank you Jesus, I get to be part of this and surrounded by this creativity! ¬†Here are some pics from the night. ¬†But actually they don’t really do justice:

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To see some videos of the night go to the Pneukleus Instagram account.

So my role her is that of Gap Year Coordinator. ¬†What does that entail? ¬†Yes, some seriously adventurous and fun stuff. ¬†But that really is only 1/5 of the programme. ¬†In each week, with the students, we will do career exposure (cover about 13 different careers). ¬†Then we do some spiritually development stuff. ¬†Going deeper in connection with God and one self. ¬†There is also an aspect of self discovery. ¬†Each person working out who they are? ¬†Personality type, love languages, etc. ¬†Then there is the fitness side. ¬†And I cannot exclude, the massive tour prep. ¬†This is taking the gospel (good news) out to various towns around the country. ¬†Using dance and drama – ¬†But the quality of this is outstanding! ¬†The young adults are dancing to the likes of Michael W Smith. ¬†(When did teens in high schools ever connect with that? haha!) ¬†Nope! ¬†The Pneumatix crew is dancing with relevant stuff and bringing a message that hits home. ¬†That’s what grabbed me, when I saw them on tour… ¬†They were not afraid to cover and deal with the difficult topics.

And what is also something to note. ¬†Is that these youngsters we have here on campus. ¬†(52 this year.) ¬†They also come here with a story. ¬†Life hasn’t always been kind to them either. ¬†So this is a place where they will find healing too.

There are many places, these young folk can study.  And at those institutions, they are just a student number.  Here they are known, couched and cared for.  When these young adults leave, they will leave as gentlemen and ladies, who have been educated in excellence!


So they the point of this post… about the PNEU. ¬†Comes from the word “Pneuma”

It refers to the breath of God. ¬†Which is just pretty darn cool! ¬†Reminds me of the passage in Ezekiel 37. ¬†This¬†VIDEO¬†depicts it well. ¬†In this passage Ezekiel is show a valley of dry bones. ¬†He is asked by God if they can come back to life? ¬†God’s in inviting him to see something incredible. ¬† To be part of something incredible. ¬† To cut a long story short… the PNEU / “breath of God” is given to these dry bones and they are brought to life!

Another encounter of this PNEU is when God makes Adam. ¬†He’s breathes life into him.

So that’s what we are as a campus / college. ¬†We want each person to experience the “breath of God.” ¬†Thus giving them a #Pneulife and becoming a #Pneugeneration.

Besides… the whole PNEU thing is quite catchy! ūüėČ

So my gap year programme is called Pneukleus – again going with the whole Peu thing…

Pneumatix is best known for it’s performing arts department. ¬†Some seriously good dancing here, and acting. ¬†Then we have film school here and music. ¬†And theology. ¬†Any psychology. ¬†There is a lot to be done here.

So next time, you are in the area.  Do pop in, come and see what we are about.  Besides, we have the most incredible campus:

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So that’s it for now. A bit about #Pneumatix and what I do. If you want to know more. Feel free to ask.

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I must end off with this. In Secunda, one breathed in the pollution of Sasol. Here I keep singing the lyrics of Switchfoot to myself: “I can feel my lungs again”

Posted in Inspirational, People, South Africa, Travels

New Home

Long Summer days. Squirrels scampering across the garden. Vineyards basking in the sunlight. The Hottentots Holland  mountains standing nearby. The sea lining the horizon. An owl swooping from tree to tree. An early morning beachfront. Crisp fresh air.
I feel like we have found our home.

Yes, yes – this is coupled with that “holiday feeling.”

Work starts next week. I’m excited it for it. (Naturally, a bit nervous too.)
I’m basically in Christian education and empowerment now.
Thankful and happy for this new chapter of our lives.

It’s difficult to put all I am feeling into words and to even contain the emotion I have inside.

This part of the world is stunning! So much to take in.
There is so much to do.
Markets. Wine tasting. Hikes. Mountains. Beach. Coffee shops. Craft beer. Geocaching. New Friends. New experiences.

And yet there is no rush to do it all.
Even the ordinary things here are just so beautiful.

My heart and soul feel giddy.
Here’s to 2017!



Posted in Church, People, South Africa

Dear Secunda,

When they left for AUS, Lee had mentioned in one of her statuses on FB; “it’s the people not the place that make a place” (something to that effect)

That has stayed with me. There is some truth in that. Wherever you are it’s the people that matter.  That make a place for you.

Secunda, has been a good chapter.  A short one, but it has been full.

Here are some of my observations of things, in no particular order:

(Why am I writing? It’s thing I do. I like to take stock of my life. Count my blessings, if you will.  Read on if you like. If you don’t,  it doesn’t matter.)

Of recycling:
I started a recycling project in Secunda last year. It’s still an “infant” in its life span. But my prayer is that it won’t remain a project. That implies it has a start and an end.
Recycling is a lifestyle.
I hope the people at St Peters live differently and think green. The recycling can expand further. I’d be stoked if that happens!

Of love and wedding:
A lot of people move to Secunda for Sasol. A job there. I moved here for love. And what an incredible journey that has been.
Our venue was a quaint coffee shop. If you ever visit Secunda go check out #EataLot
And the day of the wedding was in the windy month of August… but on the 8th… there was no wind. It was a glorious day!
And I married the lady who stole my heart. ‚ô°

Of studying:
Because life has been quieter and the urge in me was growing stronger I started studying through #Unisa again last year June. 3 semesters down. 10 subjects passed. I’m on my way to getting a general management degree in Business. Excited about this journey.

Of football and soccer club:
One of my highlights of Secunda is meeting the guys through field and indoor soccer.
For a few months we got to play on Sundays at the sasol club. On their fields. Was good fun! (Until the greed of management kicked us out. Pun not intended.) Greed always ruins things.

The soccer club is a brilliant little bar/pub with cheap beers and amazing football memorabilia strewn across the walls and the ceiling. On match day the vibe would be great in there as various premier league fans gathered to watch the screening game.

Of children’s ministry:
Most of ministry has involved teens (in the previous years). in Secunda I had only three or four teens.
So I had to focus more on the children in the Sunday School. A different focus for me but I enjoyed it. Kids are often keen!

Of exiting the church:
I’m excited to be leaving the church. For the first time in 15 years I won’t be a paid staff member of the church.

I can visit a church with Catherine not being known by anyone. And not “being paid to be there” (not that my relationship with Jesus was dependent on a salary… but I’m sure those who have been on ministry understand what I mean.)

Of Sasol and the “fresh air”:
I can’t wait to not see thr pollution of Sasol anymore.
My new view from our new home will be that of a sea view (estate agent sea view) and a mountain. And some vineyards too.
To breathe is fresh air is gonna be a “breath of fresh air” ūüėČ

Then I always I didn’t understand how to residents of Secunda never got cheaper petrol prices. The residents have to suck in Sasol’s pollution . The least they can do is give cheaper petrol.

Of St Peters and people:
Meeting with the folk from St Peters at church or a social is like one big family gathering.
There is the one uncle with the jokes.
There is the one grandfather with the long stories.
There are the cute children running around.
There is the nosey aunt.
The grumpy. The joyful.
The committed.
St Peters has it all.
Hospitality is this church’s strength.
I’m thankful to have been part of the ‘family’ and with leaving… I still feel part of the family. Just at a distance.

I’ve made some friends along the way here. Jannie, Reinier and a few others.
Thanks everyone!

Of tourism and green spaces:
When they designed this town the planned many “green belts” – I liked that. With paths and benches.
A very good idea. (Obviously in SA, crime ruins the safe feeling of those spaces. But TIA, right?)


Soooo… whenever you live in a town you should be able to promote it as a tourguide. Well, that’s one of my philosophies.

If you ever pop into Secunda.

Eish! On the waterfront is a brilliant spot. A good South African feeling restaurant. On Secundas waterfront. (Inland style. Haha ;))
In fact there are a few places to eat at at the waterfront. Or to just ‘keuer’ (don’t know how to spell that.)
Also playing adventure golf along the water edge is pretty cool.

Then the duckpond is worth checking out. Lots of space to walk the dogs, go for a run or a ride, or to have a braai. On the weekends there is a little steam train that runs on a small track. Kids love it. Mind you, adults too.

Decent coffee shops. Symphony’s and “Eat a Lot”


Secunda, it’s been real!

See you (in blog world) in 2017!

Posted in Inspirational, South Africa

A lot can happen in a month

1month

Breathe in. A lot can happen in a month. To-do-list: In no particular order, Christmas play prep. Time with my mom. (She is visiting). Present the Christmas play. Recycle. Football. Preach. Letters to people. Car service? Prep for new job. Read through relevant documents. FAMSA – Christmas Shoe boxes collect and sort. Farewells with friends. Listen. Exercise. Fly to Cape Town. Finish off well. Tune In. Camping trip with St Peters. Collecting Boxes. Packing up our home. Moving company comes to fetch our things. Thankfully, in Him, we live and move and have our being. Breathe out.

Posted in People, South Africa

My “political speech”

In the wake of the local elections yesterday I have my two cents to offer. Take it or leave it:

“The two biggest parties are probably the ANC and DA.
And over the last few weeks we’ve all been flooded with sign pollution. All the parties promoting themselves. Offering some alluring promises. Although we’re all skeptical. These signs offering a good changed are strapped to light poles and bridges… I think about such things.

Sometimes these elections and these requests to vote for a certain party is about “the power” and “the position” in parliament.

We as the citizens of the country don’t care for that.
It would be great to know that our leaders are getting their hands dirty. Helping in community initiatives. And not even televising or “showing off” that they’re helping. Can you imagine seeing Zuma and Malema just being selfless and helping others>

Poverty
Broken Homes
Unemployment
Housing
Environment

These are just a few of the many issues we face. But this post is not about that!!!

Regardless of the leaders elected. regardless of the endless and sometime pointless discussions they have. The way the corruption runs through their veins and the way the our taxes are being stolen and used for selfish gains.

We cannot put our HOPE in these fallible people.
WE can’t keep looking up… but rather start from ourselves?

We moan at how corrupt our government is?
How selfish they are?
How self serving?
How they don’t care?

BUT can we not ask and expect the same things of our own lives?

How corrupt are you?
How selfish are you?
How often are you self serving?
How often do you not care about those on your very doorstep?

The change for our country begins with it’s citizens.
Not only the leadership of the country.

Think about this. What’s happening in the 5km (or even 5 miles) radius around you?
Are there hungry people there?
Are there lonely people?
Is there brokenness?
Is there despair?

The action and the need is where you are at.
I respect an organisation like LeadSA.
They’re making a change.
They’re making an impact from where they are.
They’re not waiting on the “government to get right”
We might wait our whole lives!

Local businesses and churches get on board!
Many churches have become irrelevant.
Many business are too inward looking.

Help your communities.
You have the power and resources (finances and skills to care for those around you.
To help alleviate poverty.
To provide more jobs.
To care and help the broken.

We can use the religious institutions. (Because the churches and mosques have been far too quiet.) – What I know of each faith is that their mandate is to look outwards and care.

And businesses – share you resources please…
There is an environment to care for. There are people to love and help.

There is this great African philosophy: Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu

“A person is a person because of people.”

How very true!
The change starts in our own homes.
And in our own communities.

We hope that a good party will take lead. We hope for an honest government. We hope that the corruption will stop. We hope our country will move forward. We hope that God (like He did in the Old Testament) will challenge and sway the minds and hearts of our leaders. After all He is God and can do that. So let’s pray for that.

But more than prayer, let’s be a people of action.
Who just give and damn and start caring for those right near us.
Handing over our own corrupt hearts and selfish ways.

That’s what I have to say. Thanks for reading; if you got this far.”

Posted in South Africa

Driving for Dummies (Pedestrian Crossings)

Sigh! ¬†A vent post. ¬†What’s with drivers not stopping at Pedestrian crossings? ¬†So annoying and selfish! ūüė¶

And one of the rules of the road….

  • I get it. ¬†If pedestrians are “jay walking” – then fine, you don’t need to stop.
  • They should cross at the designated areas.
  • But when, they are there? ¬†Regardless if there is a traffic light at the crossing or not… can you PLEASE just STOP for pedestrians?
  • Stop being so selfish and so unaware of us trying to cross the road.
  • A signs of first world thinking ¬†is to be considerate of others on the road. ¬†Even pedestrians.
  • Come to think of it… if drivers stopped at pedestrian crossings – then there may just be less “jay walking”
  • Because people cross anywhere these days, because they know that drivers don’t care enough to stop…
  • PLEASE be considerate!

 

Posted in South Africa, Travels

Clarens – the jewel of the Free State

My ‚Äúthen‚ÄĚ fianc√© arrived in one of those fancy ‚ÄėFortuners‚Äô… on our wedding day.¬† After a most incredible day of celebration and love with one another and our guests, we packed our things, conversation and desire for adventure in my humble little i10 and my beautiful wife and I headed off to Clarens.

Known as the jewel of the Freestate; and after a week there, we came to understand why:

Our first 2 nights were a few kilometres outside of Clarens at Garden Gate Hotel & Chalets.  Our self- catering chalet was magical.  The view from the veranda was beautiful.

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And of course we were feeling on top of the world (imagine the dragons…):

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The first day, we drove into Clarens to explore and get some food supplies.¬† As we approached it was as if this ‚Äúhand‚ÄĚ of the Cactus waved a greeting at us:

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We had heard about the famous Jacket Store and decided to see if we would find anything that we fancied.  We did.  These retro winter coats.

This mural is just outside the shop:

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Then my wife and I decided to be like the ‚Äėmillion‚Äô tourists before us and get a picture in this frame:

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(There is just something about South Africa, right?)

We ambled through the famous Clarens square and found this cute little spot called The Lazy Gecko:

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I love restaurants that have tables right on the sidewalks and people walk by.  (Kind of reminds me of places in Italy that I have visited.)

On our way back to Golden Gate, we found an abandoned house that we wanted explore.  I caught this image of the trees:

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And we drove past the Van Reenen’s family graveyard:

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That evening we were bid ‚Äėgood night‚Äô by the orange glow of the setting sun:

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We dined on scrumptious chicken burgers and sipped on a gift of wine.

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(I love how a simple meal like this can be so enjoyable.¬† Catherine and I are like that.¬† We‚Äôre not ‚Äúair and graces.‚ÄĚ We appreciate the smallest beautiful moments.)

The following day we climbed the Brandwag Buttress that overlooks the Golden Gate Hotel.

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After two nights in the Golden Gate area; we headed into Clarens for the remainder of the week.  Eating pizza in the warm August sun was in order:

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Then we found our next accommodation.  Clarens Retreat:

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There is a lot to do in Clarens.  For those who like the outdoors.  There are hikes around the town on the nearby mountains.  From them you can get a panoramic view of the town.

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For those who are into art & crafts, there are numerous galleries and quirky shops.

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For those who like to dine out.  For dinner, we can recommend Gosto (a Portuguese restaurant) and Clementines.

We were told to have breakfast at The Post House (isn’t that such a cool name?)

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Soaking in the morning sun while eating breakfast.  Bliss!

The Clarens Brewery is a must see; and taste too:

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There are various flavours of ciders and beers.  (One of my favourite moments was sitting under the afternoon sun sipping on beer with my wife and watching the day draw to an end; as the sun hid behind the nearby hill and the remains of the visitors scattered back home.)

For accommodation, we definitely recommend Clarens Retreat, but also Mount Rouge.  We stayed in one of their cosy rooms called The Attic.  Loved it.  The view of the nearby mountain was a great addition.

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If you like coffee; one must visit Highland Coffee:

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Clarens will stay in your heart one you visit there.  We had such a surreal week there and felt like one of the residents by the end of it.  It is definitely a peace of heaven; that place.

I managed to capture these pics too throughout the week:

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And how odd is this sign?

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‚ÄúBeware of the ducks!‚ÄĚ ūüėČ

Thank you Clarens for a wonderful and dreamy time.

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(Our travel companion; Paddington photobombed the photo too.)

Posted in Inspirational, People, South Africa

The 67 minute ‘guilt trap’…

So on the 18th of July is Nelson Mandela day:

Mandela-Day

And sadly the “perfect” Christians come out swinging with statements like:
“We should serve others every day, not just on Mandela Day.”

Why do that?
Why do they throw out statements like that?

The hype around doing 67 minutes… is a great thing!

Because truth is, for the rest of the year “life gets in the way” for some and they simply just don’t do things for others. So if for ONE day… they do 67 minutes… awesome!

Who knows, maybe the hype and helping will be contagious… and they may begin serving on the 19th, 20th.. and so on…

Are you with me?
Stop the guilt trip!

Sometimes people like to be part of something BIGGER “67 minutes on Mandela Day”

We must celebrate that!
And just think. For 67 minutes x (multiply) a whole lot of people doing something… that’s a big impact.

And perhaps as one throws a rock in a pond, the ripples created, go out far…

so maybe Mandela day… has the same effect!

Posted in Family, People, South Africa, Travels

(Life between brackets)

On Palm Sunday I slept over in Hillcrest with my friends, Lauren and Shoba – for what I thought would be the last time in a long while.

But exactly a week later (on Easter Sunday), Catherine and I both stayed over in Hillcrest with them, again.

Because on Monday (yesterday) in Howick we celebrated my Oma’s well lived life. ūüė¶

In a week we’ve covered a lot of ground physically and emotionally.

In seven days we’ve tracked over 3600 km. Doing the to and from Cape Town trip in one day twice this week. (15 hr and an 18 hr trip)

I’ve seen the scenery around me change so many times…
From the beautiful rolling hills of the free state and the vast expanse of the Karoo to the breath taking passes and mountains of Cape Town.

Last week Monday as I headed up to Secunda (oh, add anotgert 600km to the mileage) I stopped in Ladysmith catching up with my friend,¬† Daryl…
I heard of my Oma’s passing; as she fell asleep for the last time.

I wasn’t too emotional at the time. Because my heart and mind haven’t registered what’s going on yet…

Here now on Tuesday 7th April after this crazy week,  I sit in my new town. Have I even registered that yet?

In the movie Paddington the explorer says it like this:

“My body has travelled very fast (and far) but my heart takes a little while to arrive.”

That’s how I feel!
A lot is going on.

I live only 3km away from my fiancé
On Easter Saturday I married two good friends.
Even using the “gospel according to Dave Grohl” (intrigued?)
Then on Monday I read a letter to my Oma at her memorial service.

On Thursday I heard about students being gunned down in Kenya.
Catherine got to meet my UK friends and my cousin, Katie.

What a whole lot of various happenings.

And weirdly and refreshingly Easter was such a non event for me being in between two churches and two towns.

I liked it. For all my years,¬† Easter has been something on the church calendar and often takes the form of “work” for me.
So this year it was very different.
The whole of Easter we were sitting in a car… crossing 5 provinces.

The highlight of the week was my dad meeting Catherine.  ♡

His first words to her: You’re so lovely!

So true. ūüôā

It’s been a looong and eventful week.

Now I start a new chapter.

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Thanks for reading “my journal”

Have a good week ahead!