Site 2 South Africa – Signing Out!

The Last one! – April 12, 2016
By Dayna Goerzen; Photos by Bethany Snyder

Currently I’m sitting on a couch in Winnipeg, playing Mario Kart Wii, watching Kate frantically finish her speech for grad, eating potato chips, and breathing in the fresh crisp Canadian air (when I’m outside of course). We’ve been in Canada a couple days now, and I personally already miss the warmth of South Africa!

South Africa was an amazing experience. We got to learn and grow so much in knowing ourselves, God, and the world – to try to describe our full experience would take a novel. It was a challenging year filled with so much fun and adventure! To try to give you a sense of our experience, we had everyone give a statement or quote on either where they’ve seen God, what they’re going to miss most about the community, a highlight, where they’ve grown, a quote from someone, or anything else. We also wanted to showcase everyone’s beautiful faces to go with it, because why not? Hope you enjoy!

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Caitlyn Hiemstra – I learned to ride the wave, and not to let it take me and toss me around.

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Kelsie Grothaus – I’m going to miss sharing everything from toothpaste to tears.

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Bram Jonkheer – I’m going to miss having friends around me all the time.

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Liz Allan – “Created to be Victorious.”

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Dana Berg – I’ve seen God in the way the community cares about each other.

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Sam Gillett – “Sweet hek.”

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Josie Ens – People that know another person and choose to tell only of what made that person good is a breath of fresh air; for some reason it’s hard to see people and love them, but it’s easier to see people and wish they were better.

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Carlie Neufeld – “Momma C to the rescue!”

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Kaylin Schroeder – “Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity.”

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Kate Hutchins – I’m not lactose intolerant, chase the sunset!

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Aaron Hamstra – “Teach a man to knit and he’ll knit for a day. Knit a man a sweater, and he’ll wear it for a lifetime.”

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Miranda DeJong – “Lekker.”

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Dayna Goerzen – Outtatown makes you grow …in pants size.

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Josiah Dewald – Adventure is out there.

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Brandon Janzen – I learned that there’s a lot to learn out there, so keep your mind open.

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Katrina Amos – “I may be gluten intolerant but I can still win at ping pong.”

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Ashley Enns – Being outtatown is always an adventure.

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Stephen Kang – I’ll miss having everyone around; the community had its ups and downs but by the end of it we were, in my opinion, what we hoped our community would be.

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Kaitlin Ellis – “The rest is still unwritten.”

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Bethany Snyder – On Outtatown, the first things to go: phone chargers, earbuds, and peanut butter.

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Katie Lemky – We need to choose to remember the the good and not the bad. Remembering the bad is easier but remembering the good is healthier. Thank you guys for such a great year. I’m really going to miss you all from the bottom of my heart!

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Daniel Peters – “The circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.”

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Ian Dyck – “Life’s short. Stunt it.”

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Hannah Los – To quote Katie Vander Deen, South Africa was “Drop-down-dead gorgeous!”

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Amalia Inglis – This year I’ve seen God in His creation, from beautiful landscapes to people.

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Rebecca Nanton – I will never forget galloping on the beach, having big dreams, and making new friends.

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Katie Vander Deen – “Wow. Where do I even begin.” That’s it!

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Cheyenne Epp – I learned to hit life, and to not let life hit you.

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Liz Chin – “Be at rest once more, oh my soul, for the Lord has been good to us.” -Psalm 116

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Rianna Isaak – “Always be yourself. Unless you can be a dragon, then always be a dragon.”

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Joel Derksen – Outtatown is like a box of chocolates. I don’t know how, but it is.

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Sean Hildebrand – “Not all who are wander are lost.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

So, overall, we had an AMAZING trip. We learned a lot about ourselves and who God has created us to be. We have seen first hand how God works everywhere and anywhere in the world, how He didn’t miss any part of the earth in where He works and created beauty. We learned about grace, forgiveness, the “project behind the project”, and how God is always there – we just have to ask. Everyone has their own individual experience and story, so be sure to ask whoever you see from Outtatown for stories. It is indescribable, challenging, adventurous, chill, and impactful. …Why you don’t just come as a student so you can understand fully? But, thank you again for your prayers and support. God is good! Dayna Goerzen and the media team, on behalf of Site 2 South Africa, signing out! It’s been real, fam.

The Circle of Life

Week 12/13 – April 3, 2016
By Dayna Goerzen

Hello from your blog editor/putter-upper for this Outtatown year. I get the honour of writing the last adventure blog for our site this year (*wipes tear*). Currently I’m sitting in my room at Heronbridge Retreat on a mattress on the floor (because I wanted to sleep in a room with my homies). The last thing I ate was food at the last braai we’ll have in a long time, or forever! (*not wiping as many tears as expected*) (I’m just super stuffed). I’m also currently putting off packing, because that’s just too much work. My favorite food-of-the-day is mango – sorry fellow Canadians, that you don’t know what good mangos are like. Fresh is unbeatable. My favorite South-African musician/person I’ve discovered is Matthew Mole (if you like folky music, look him up!) and I’ve had “Take Yours, I’ll Take Mine” by him in my head all day.

I’m here to talk to you about our crazy awesome adventure in Kruger National Park on a safari. Yes, I definitely felt like I was in The Lion King, and yes, I definitely sang the songs all weekend long. I tried not to get my hopes up just in case we pulled another shark-diving fiasco of not really seeing much, but I just couldn’t contain my excitement. If any of you know me, I’m a crazy cat lady (no shame), so I got pumped at the thought of seeing giant kitties (among other sweet animals, because I just like them all).

After a long day of driving from Durban, we all were pretty tired for our night-drive safari. We drove for a while, saw some forms of deer such as impala and springbok, and just enjoyed the crazy beautiful sunset. Until…BAM, Elephant! (Don’t worry; no animals were hurt in the making of our memories). It just appeared out of nowhere, and we all got super excited – it was just chillin’ eating a tree, and didn’t leave when we drove up beside it. Kelsie was so ecstatic, her dreams had come true, and she was then ready to fly home because she’d now seen an elephant.

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As our 2 buckies (safari truck) we crammed into played leap-frog throughout the park, we got the chance to see more elephants, some rhino, zebras, a buffalo, giraffes, cheetahs, hippos, random types of deer, a snake, hyenas, and monkeys, throughout our 2 outings. We even saw a leopard, which is apparently super rare! Although, some people may have missed a couple encounters on our morning excursion, because we left at 5a.m. and some took the opportunity to nap. I, however, was a morning person for the first time in my life, singing more Lion King, bouncing around, leaning out the bucky to play with grass as we drove, and “waving my arms in de air like dis!” like King Julian from the movie Madagascar, to name a few things I did.

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Tag-team bucky leap-frog

A side note, ‘the Big Five’ is the 5 hardest animals to hunt: elephant, rhino, leopard, buffalo, and lion. On our night drive, we got to see 3/5 of them, and our morning drive we saw one more – we’re only missing the lion! At least we got to see them at the lion park 3 long months ago, but it slightly crushed my dreams of being truly in The Lion King and also seeing as many big kitties as I could. However, it was still amazing, and something never to forget. I recommend everyone to put a safari on their bucket list (unless you don’t like animals) because it was a blast!

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The leopard we saw!

As for now in our last week as I type this, we have been winding down and sharing our stories of memories and what we’ve learned this whole year. Emotions may be wavering, in both sadness to leave and excitement to be home again, but we’re just having lots of fun spending as much time together (and tanning) as possible before we go back to Winterpeg for grad. I’m sad to leave, but hey, it’s the Circle of Life! Once again, thank you for your prayers and support this semester, and to those who have read the blog I worked oh-so-hard on all year😛 (just kidding, I love doing it!). See you soon…!

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Barbara the Hippo

The Dreaded Drakensberg

Week 12 – April 1, 2016
By Caitlyn Hiemstra & Katie Vander Deen

Favourite Food: Caitlyn’s is chocolate chip creamy cookie dough ice cream that has a hint of freezer burn, and Katie’s is just ice cream.
Favourite colour: Caitlyn’s is Georgian Bay’s blue water blue, and Katie’s is just blue!

Rise and shine butterflies!!! This is how we started the most dreaded day on Outtatown. Everyone had the butterflies, we were all super nervous and dreading the upcoming 3 day hike! Yes, we hiked the Drakensberg!! No big deal. It was only 3056 meters to the top. No sweat. Caitlyn only got altitude sickness. Oh well. Easy peasy. It was only as high as when we jumped out of the plane.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016, at 9:00am, the minutes ticked by slowly, breathes kept getting slower, legs started to shake, and our minds started spin, as we boarded the bus to our dreaded destination-The Drakensburg Mountains. But in all honestly, we found the hike to be a lot better than we expected, and more enjoyable than we thought. We made it out to be a lot worse in our minds than it actually was.

It’s hard to sum up three days of awesome hiking in one story, so we will just give you some of our highlights.

Highlight #1: Sleeping in a cave for two nights – woot woot! Sleeping in a cave included cooking our own meals over a storm cooker. Even though it was super easy to cook Mr.Noodles, some still did not master the two simple steps of cooking (AKA. Caitlyn). Sleeping in the cave was quite the experience. Some people were freezing, some people were sweating; it was a flash back to the Canoe Trip first semester. If you can’t sleep when other people are snoring…than this isn’t the thing for you. Being with 15 other students, you will definitely encounter snoring.

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Highlight #2: Natural waterfall. This waterfall reminded us of Niagara Falls! The massive amount of water, the cold temperature, and the drop down dead gorgeous view, was very similar to the world famous Niagara falls! Just kidding, if you slid down you would only rip your swimming suit, (aka, Katie). Not only was this waterfall a source of fun for us, it was an essential source for survival – water to drink, to cook with, and to clean.

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Highlight #3: The View from Rhino’s Peek. Wow, words don’t even describe the breathtaking view. It was just incredible. You could really see God’s handiwork. A 3 day hike definitely worth hiking for !!!

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Overall it was a great experience. Each individual has their own funny story to tell!! Thanks for reading and thanks for all your prayers and support!! It is greatly appreciated. Stay in tune for our next adventures. We had a pleasure writing this. Sincerely, yours truly, yours sincerely, yours only, Love from (we don’t want to end..) Caitlyn Hiemstra and Katie Vander Deen! Also known as Cate and Kate!!!

P.S. we forgot to mention how much muscle we gained in just those 3 days!!

The ‘Spice’ of Life

Week 11 – Mar. 25, 2016
By Kaylin Schroeder

Currently I am sitting in my room at Heronbridge listening to Katie and Ashley pretend to have an internet video blog. Their current topic is chilli peppers. Katie apparently pronounces jalepeno as Ga – la – peeno just cuz she likes to spice things up! The topic carried on for probably a minute. Short video blog eh? They are quite the entertainers!

I apologize for writing about our week in Durban so late. The semester is coming to the end and we have become overwhelmed with writing our end of the year assignments and the mixed emotions of going home and leaving the group.

Writing a blog on a week stashed in my memories while anticipating the excitement of being home is difficult. Our week in Durban was full of experiencing a completely new culture in another new atmosphere. We began the week by interacting in the Indian community and meeting our homestay families. I loved my homestay. I, along with Dayna G, got the privilege to live with a family who has hosted Outtatowners in past years. Outtatown has not been affiliated with this church for a few years now. This was the first year of being partnered with the Merebank Presbyterian Church once again. The people were very very hospitable, overwhelmingly hospitable at times. They fed us a lot of great food, but many of us had to adjust to the amount of spice they enjoy! I had a rather relaxing week, after our busy day to day schedule of course. In the evenings Dayna and I would come home to the TV on with some rather interesting Indian soapies (soap operas). Getting to know the families we are living with is possibly my favourite part about homestays. This week I lived with a very humble and quiet grandma who is proud of her grandchildren’s accomplishments and holds her faith dear to her heart. Hearing her inspirational words and insight on society, or hearing her wisdom about scripture was definitely a highlight of our evenings. Her 2 grand daughters that visit her quite often are very close in age to our group so conversation was easy. We talked about so many things realizing that we were very similar.

Throughout the week we got the privilege to visit Ocean View and St. Monica’s Orphanages. We had the cool opportunity of interacting with the kids through songs and learning dances. It was heartbreaking seeing how many kids lived in these orphanages but it was encouraging seeing the amazing efforts the orphanages put in to make the children lives as happy and healthy as possible.

Like our week in Vancouver back in first semester we did a bit of a temple tour here in Durban. We visited a Krishna Temple and a Mosque. It is always interesting listening to the views and practices of other religions and witnessing how they play out in the culture around them.

With Easter just around the corner we had the chance to participate in Merebank Presbyterian Church’s Holy Week, seeing the differences in how they celebrate Easter opposed to our traditions back in Canada was a pretty cool new experience.

Some fun activities scattered throughout our lectures at church or city outings consisted of going to the Gateway Mall, apparently it is one of the biggest malls in the southern hemisphere, Ushaka, an incredibly fun waterpark and marine world, toured a missionary boat that travels the world called Logos Hope, and went to the Gandhi Museum. All were things that filled our schedules and kept our week really busy.

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Kate, Caitlyn, & Carlie at the Gandhi Museum with their host-mom, Reena, wearing traditional saris

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As our last homestay came to an end we said our goodbyes and boarded the bus heading back to the familiarity of Camp El Olam for Easter weekend.

 

Hello From the El Olam

Week 10 – March 19, 2016
By Daniel Peters and Ian Dyck

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Greetings to friends, family and family of those that I would like to consider my friends. I should probably introduce myself for those of you have not heard from or of me before this blog. Hi. My name is Daniel. I enjoy pizza and short walks on the beach and being not outside when it is raining. I will be honest and say that I am not writing this blog entry from El Olam but rather from Kruger National Park of which I am sure you will hear about later in our blog writings and from those who are in contact with people here currently. I hear it is somewhat of a tradition to say what you are doing right now so in order to fill up space in this blog I think I will do that as well. I am currently sitting in a chair and pressing keys on a laptop in order to make symbols appear on the screen that will hopefully convey a general idea of what our week was like on a particular sugar cane farm a half a world away (probably… I mean, who am I to assume that you all are reading this from far away?).

Camp El Olam is surrounded by rolling Shire-sque hills of sugar cane as well as multiple sparkling reservoirs of water. Nearby is a primary school for local children where many in our group worked for the first half of the week (helping to teach children and doing miscellaneous maintenance work around the school) and for who we performed a narrated skit later on. The rest of the Outtatown crew (myself included) were recruited to help with work in other areas on the farm. On Monday, after we said good bye to the workers at the school, we were handed machetes as well as other pointy objects (of which the names escape me) and started down a valley and then through what would soon be a clearly defined path in the middle of a forested area along a stream at the bottom. As we joyfully hacked and slashed our way through the brush (and trees), we were treated to the sights and sounds (aside from the sounds of sharp objects cutting foliage and laboured breathing) of something very similar to what I imagine a rainforest would be like. We eventually made our way to a small hut that they use for more extreme camp experiences where we ended our plant homicide and were taken back to the camp for lunch. Later that day, some of us were taken back there to clear the road to the site, as well as hack at the plants and small trees between the hut and the stream, so that campers in later weeks would be able to swim in a larger area.

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On Tuesday, those of us who were working on the farm were taken to an area near the camp that was filled with tall trees. Now, those of you that know things about trees will know that trees are living things and as a result of living, they will occasionally die. This was the case with a couple of trees in this patch which we were recruited to cut and roll so that they could be hauled out by tractor or carried out if they were small enough. A couple trees were taken to a dam that was used as a swimming hole by the camp to become an improvised diving board and a balancing log activity. While the tractor was hauling these massive logs down to the water, I took advantage of the moving log I was following and decided to make like an idiot and try to surf on it. It was a very unique experience to be sure and despite all the dangers facing those of us that took up the call of adrenaline, we came through that experience unharmed and with one more thrilling tale to tell. Once the logs were set up in or above the water some of us decided to celebrate and cool off by “testing” the structures that we had created. Although the rolling log worked just as one would expect from a contraption with such a name, our diving board was a bit more interesting. As soon as we used it we realized that the water was not nearly deep enough for something like a diving board but (luckily for us) the mud was. Some jumpers sank as much as waist deep in the mud before bobbing back to the surface.

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On Wednesday, we were herded onto the bus and shipped off to a nearby village to help rebuild a mud brick house that had been destroyed by a hailstorm. When we arrived in the town we could see the devastation that had been brought onto the crops by the hail, and as we moved to the house we could see that we had no easy task awaiting us. Almost half of the house was gone and we had to take it apart even more before we could even start to rebuild. By the time we were ready to start building the frame, there were only four walls still standing. We dug holes for the posts to both support the new walls as well as to reinforce the walls that were already there. We nailed smaller branches to the posts to hold them together and just as the sky was starting to spit on us, we finished building the frame for what will hopefully be a safe and sturdy space to live in for years to come.

Thank you dear readers for joining me on my marathon meander through the first half of our time at El Olam. I hope that in some small way you now feel like you understand just a bit better the experiences that we have been having here in South Africa. And to my family, I am looking forward to seeing you again in 10 days (or less). As for the rest of you, I know I speak for most of the group when I say that they are all looking forward to being able to return to a place where they are surrounded by those that they treasure so dearly. Please enjoy the rest of your day you beautiful people!

Ian

Greetings friends, family, miscellaneous others, and especially, my mom. My name is Ian and I’ve got a blog for you! I am currently typing furiously on a laptop (I’m a procrastinator) as our site bus drives through the game park at Kruger National Park. The last thing I ate was a bowl of yoghurt with granola, a PB & J sandwich, and an apple – a classic Outtatown travel day breakfast. Also yesterday a monkey came up and stole a French fry out of my hand along with three packets of sugar – it was awesome. But I’m not here to tell you about that, I’m here to tell you about the mystical magical land that is Camp El Olam.

So, El Olam was a ton of fun, like so much fun that they had a trampoline built in to the ground. After our more “serious” days of working around the sugar cane farm or playing with kids at the school, we had some nice chill adventure time to explore the countryside. This one time we went on a Zulu bush walk, where basically one of the local Zulu people came and took us on a walk… through the bush. We got to learn how to find and eat lemons as well as chew on some sugar cane along the way, it was pretty sweet. Along the hike through the rolling hills (it was literally like Lord of the Rings), we met some cows which Aaron tried to go pet before one of the bulls started giving him the death stare. Somehow Aaron made it out alive.

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We ended up following this stream all the way up to this super cool waterfall which we all took turns standing under and getting some sick pics. Hopefully soon you’ll get to see some photos of how cool this place was. As we started heading out I managed to take a little slip and smash my face right on the rocks. I actually don’t know how I managed to not break anything… other than my pride. However I’m told that it was an exceptionally graceful fall, much like a swan. Afterwards we began trekking up the side of one of the hills back to the camp, which had an outstanding view of the acres and acres of surrounding forests and sugar cane fields. All-in-all the hike only took a few hours, but the memories will last for a lifetime.

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There were many other stories and adventures that I’m sure you’ll hear about soon, but hopefully I gave you an idea of how amazing of a place Camp El Olam is. See you soon fam, laterz.

We Survived Bungee Jumping!

Flashback to March 1, 2016 – Bungee Jumping

By: Cheyenne Epp

Hey y’all, I’m back! So I’m currently sitting in a church in Durban, I’m Chinese, I’m scared of stairs without the backs on them and I put water on my toothbrush before I put on toothpaste.

So unfortunately for you, Liz asked me to write a sequel to my sky diving blog. So I get to write about bungee jumping!! This was the scariest day of my entire life. Scarier than when the angels came down to Mary and told her she was going to give birth to a child, the child of God. We were about to jump off the highest bungee jump off a bridge in the entire world. 216 M! I couldn’t eat all day I was so nervous. I don’t think people understood how serious I was when I said I wasn’t sure if I was gonna be able to do it. We walked across a graded walkway to get to the bridge. My body was so tense I almost had to crawl. You just can’t help but look down (such a bad decision on my part, oops). When we finally made it to the actual bridge we started right away, no hesitation. Joel was first up. They pumped the music up which calmed by nerves a bit cause we just danced and got amped. But for some reason when Joel jumped off the bridge, me and a couple others (aka Caitlyn H) started tearing up. We must really like Joel, or we thought we would never see him again or something. That was the first time I had a tear or two roll down my cheek. Then they just randomly selected people one by one, it felt like the Hunger Games out there. They wasted no time, you barely had time to even realize the fact that you were about to jump off a bridge for fun. They had a TV screen so you could watch all your friends fall to their death before you did yourself, which was quite entertaining. Then the moment I had been dreading since I applied for the program arrived. I was having a good time dancing when all of a sudden a guy started doing my straps up. I don’t think anything prepared me for this moment. They then put on ankle cushions which were attached by Velcro. VELCRO. I then questioned this to the guy putting them on and he had to explain to me that they were just for comfort not actually for keeping you in. No type of ankle cushion could’ve comforted me in that moment. I was pretty sure I was gonna slip right through them. I never viewed Velcro as a reliable source. You were attached by the feet and then an extra safety strap on your chest. By this point I was tearing up for the second time. I wanted to back out so bad but I knew I had to do this. They got me up and I hopped to the edge with my toes hanging over. I felt like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as they were about walk into the fiery furnace to their possible death. Unlike them though, I had my friends cheering for me in the background. I started panicking (my heart is racing as I write this). The worker beside me told me I was the safest person here (I later found out they told that to multiple people). They lifted my arms and counted to 3. There was no turning back now and you didn’t even have time to think and I really didn’t want them to push me so I just bent my knees and took a leap of faith.

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Dayna G right after she took a leap of faith off the bridge

It was awesome, I honestly can’t even describe to you the feeling, it was so much fun!! I absolutely loved it. I thought I would get whiplash when I reached the end of the rope but it was actually so smooth. Then you bounced up and down a couple times until you just hung there upside down. Then all the blood rushed to your head which was a little uncomfortable but the view made you forget about it. Below you was a river and then you were surrounded by trees in the valley, it was amazing. I’ve never seen a view from that angle before!

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This is ME (Cheyenne) mid-jump!

As I was hanging there, I just took a deep breath and was just so darn proud of myself. Then for some odd reason I tried to swallow? Let’s just say it doesn’t work when you’re upside down. Gotta say it ruined the moment a little bit. Then a man came down to get me and bring me back up. He was like an angel sent by God. This is where the nerves came back and he kept asking me questions about university and whatnot but I could not stop thinking about how much I wanted to be back on the bridge and not dangling in mid-air anymore. I was so anxious. This is probably what it felt like to be Jonah while he was just sitting and waiting in that whale that swallowed him (I’m assuming he was pretty anxious). But I was so glad I did it, it was probably some of the most fun I’ve had in my entire life. I actually think I liked it more than sky diving. I got way more of an adrenaline rush and I got to do it alone! To get back to we had to go across the graded bridge again, it did not get any easier. It’s honestly one of the scariest parts. I could not wait to get back to solid ground, just like when Abraham and Sarah couldn’t wait to have kids. As soon as we got back I got something to eat; now that it was over I needed some sustenance. I still can’t believe I did it, but I’m so glad I did! Sadly I’m still scared of heights though.

If all your friends jumped off a bridge would you? Apparently yes.

Beauty in Mdumbi

Week 9 – March 12

By: Josiah Dewald and Carlie Neufeld

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Silent Day in Mdumbi (Josiah Dewald)

We spent a wonderful week at a mountainous area along the African coast called Mdumbi (M-dume-be) it was a place of insane beauty with rolling hills sparsely populated by cattle farmers and their animals, and to the south the infinite vastness of Blue Ocean transforming gradually into cloudy sky. For the most part our days were spent in personal reflection with the occasional group devotion and lesson. Naturally our abundance of free time mixed with a very large sandy beach lead to both plenty of swimming as well as surfing (of course many sunburns were also had). Being me I attempted a few times to punch through the man sized waves that crashed along the entire beach head, to absolutely no avail (I drank more salt water than I swam through). Truly the ocean is an amazingly powerful thing; half the time even standing in one place is a challenge. It really brought to me a sense of smallness, I felt like a small little man being tossed about by a force as powerful as the entire world spinning. Often we Christians refer to God as something so big and powerful that we could never imagine how powerful he is. But even so we tend to imagine ourselves as powerful anyway, until we get a gut punch that knocks you back six meters by a wave the size of a two ton truck. God is so strange in his power; he created something as powerful as the ocean, and something as gentle as the wind. Seriously if he was a comic book character superman would run for the hills and cry. But I digress. This week was also the home of our day of silence. Essentially the entire community was given a day to be silent with God, how ever that looked. Frankly I didn’t know what to do with it. But eventually I felt the urge to go out and walk in a nearby wooded area overlooking the ocean. I walked alone into this wood, and found myself a beautiful tree which I proceeded to climb (as you do when you see a tree), I found myself just sitting in this tree listening to the ocean waves and the blowing wind. It occurred to me that since no one was around it was okay to talk to God (seeing as it was a silent day). I found myself praying there for maybe a half hour (or it could have been ten minutes you never know) as I just ranted and talked to God, and I believe he listened. Now don’t misinterpret, I don’t think God spoke to me. Rather I think he did something even more important. He just sat in that tree with me, and he listened to me. THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE SAT IN A TREE WITH ME AND HE WAS JUST LISTENING TO ME TALK!!! He, who created the wind and the waves with a word, just sat and listened to me. I think that is incredible.

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Sharing my Testimony (Carlie Neufeld)

Earlier this evening I had an amazing cup of hot chocolate with a giant marshmallow. While we were in Mdumbi a couple fellow students and I decided to have a more relaxed worship night where I volunteered to share my testimony. We started the night with a mix of older songs and some newer songs. Then I got to share my testimony. I was incredibly nervous to share my life story with everyone because it was very personal to me but i felt like it would help me personally and our community grow together. After I shared I felt so relieved and at peace. Then we sung a few more newer songs. After the night was over everyone was so encouraging and supportive. They thought it was really brave of me to step out in faith and to be vulnerable with everyone. This experience has shown me how much God speaks to me through other people and how impactful a testimony can be.

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