I never thought I would be doing missionary work. My thoughts on the matter were that missionaries had to know more about the faith than most, had to be incredibly charismatic and that they needed some blinding unequivocal sign that God needed them in such and such a place; but that is not the truth.
As I got off the plane in O.R. Tambo last Wednesday night, and for the second time in my life set foot on South African soil, a confidence welled up in me that I'd only partially experienced before. Yes, I had made the decision to come months ago, and yes, I had taken big steps like quitting my job and selling my car prior to even boarding the plane, but I think in the back of my mind I was almost waiting to see if God would intervene; if he would save South Africa from the mess that is me by flight accident or something; but He didn't.
This past week I've found myself surrounded by some pretty incredible people; most of which are far more educated then myself, have had many more years living faithful to Christ than I have, and who innately know the South African culture. Surprisingly though, I fit in perfectly because… well, because I'm me, and because some clever all knowing being has gone before me to prepare a perfect Kaycie sized place in this community.
One day last week I was driving home from Eldorado Park with Father Kobus, a very well educated, well traveled, devout and humble Afrikaans man, who has been dedicated to the parishes in this area for many years. We had just finished a service in a "coloured" neighborhood known to be a bit rough, and I was wondering of what use I could be to these people. Sure I could participate in the services and bring food with me to share, but I was curious where Father Kobus saw me best fitting in. His answer touched on the confidence that I had felt at the airport. He said, "the people here just need you," and then went on to explain how he is not the most sociable individual nor does he have the most natural nurturing side. The Eldorado Park parish happens to have many children who attend without their families, and they have often not been exposed to the healthiest family dynamics at home, leaving them without a great tangible example of how to love well. Father Kobus used the example of hitting to illustrate this. At times these children will lash out in physical ways to correct each other because they have not often had someone there to teach them by other means. "Having a woman of God around will make a lot of difference in modeling Christ's love to them," he said…
At the moment most of my days are spent trying to learn about my surroundings, the culture and the people (books do not do this country justice), and one might think I would feel useless, but I don't. I'm a carrier of Christ wherever I go. I still have all the same gifts I was working with at home; the ability to connect people, a unique perspective, a loving and giving heart, and I will work to put these gifts to use in my new home… Is that the definition of a missionary? I'm not sure, but I know I'm growing more and more in love with this place each day.