africa · Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday: Joy

It’s that time of week, Friday, when I join with hundreds of other bloggers to write together. Freely. Unscripted. With our hearts. Want in on the action? Check out Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog for the full details.

Today’s word is: Joy.



Indescribable. Incandescent. Uncontainable. Overarching.



The past two years have been the most difficult years of my life as I served in rural South Africa with the Peace Corps. Living amid abject poverty day in and day out was soul-crushing. Difficult beyond imagination.

But in it, there was so much joy.

I met so many people who radiated joy, happiness, and hopefulness. Who filled my day with brightness and open their hearts to me.


As I think back on the last two years of my life, I see the joy, not the hardships. I see the love, not the pain. Yes, I remember the difficulties, those times I lay sobbing on my bed, overcome with feelings of homesickness and defeat.

But more than that, I remember the excitement in my learners’ eyes when I taught them. I remember volunteers happily working together, planting the soil with seeds and hope of a better future for their families. I remember weddings and jubilant singing and dancing during staff meetings.


I remember the joy, and it puts a smile on my face.

I remember the times when I would teach preschoolers my African name. How they would stop calling me “lekgoa” (white person) and start calling me by my African name, Keamogetswe (literally meaning I am welcomed). And how much happiness that gave me.


The Lord has blessed me immensely the last few years, sharing His love for others with me and allowing me to see joy in the most difficult of circumstances, time and time again. And I pray that I can radiate His joy for those around me.





8 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Joy

    1. I felt SO blessed after writing this post…it’s amazing how a single word can open your eyes to the joy and blessings around us! Thanks for visiting!

  1. Thanks for sharing! Especially the SA perspective; I lived there as well for a year, and what you wrote resonated very much with me. It is such a joy everyday and you find it in the little things. We should learn to treasure those moments even more and look out for them! Have a JOYful weekend!

    1. Hey, thanks for stopping by, fellow South African traveler/dweller! I left a piece of my heart down in South Africa, and still miss it daily. I’m so blessed to be reminded of the many moments of joy I experienced there-we must always reflect on those! Hope your weekend is joy-filled as well!

  2. Jen, this is awesome. Well said. Thank you for sharing. So meaningful. Joy is quite a word. While it brings happiness, it also makes my eyes leak!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s