I've been to various church services at Saint Nicholas over the past 2 weeks; love the parish, love the people, love the mission and all of that. I have plans to serve in at least 2 other communities within the coming weeks already; one in Eldorado Park (which I've already been to twice) and one in Mamilodi with Father Stephen (in conduction with serving at Saint Nicholas).
As I hit the ground hoping to get to work straight way, I think my mindset needed a bit of adjustment. While I'd love to share pictures and stories about what I've been doing, to be honest, most of what I've been doing is just trying to gain my footing. Yes, people are people everywhere, so I have that working to my advantage; but this is a whole new culture, there are so many new things to learn.
Currently I'm putting a lot of effort into securing a car, and in the meantime I've been getting little ideas right and left about things that I could do in support of the church once I'm mobile. I will likely take initiative with the kids first; spending some one-on-one time with the older girls and planning group meals for the younger ones in the neighborhood. For now, I've been attending every service available, learning the music and structure of the Divine Liturgy and trying to take in as much of my surroundings as possible.
It seems that every day I'm growing more comfortable and that I'm also beginning to understand the culture somewhat better. It is probably a blessing that I don't have a car yet, forcing me to take this first bit of time here slowly, really getting to know the area, assessing the current situation of the church, and looking for Kaycie-sized opportunities before I go in and try to do anything major.
All that to say, I'm on course. I have no idea how this year is supposed to play out, but I hope to fall more in love with South Africa and be a blessing to the people here.