We stood in the airport in Johannesburg, surrounded by the rushing crowds, near the check in lines. A friend from back home in Iowa, living in SA, came to the airport to see me off, accompanied by her husband and sweet baby.
Together we stood in the busy terminal, holding hands and pausing for a moment of prayer. I couldn’t tell you what my dear friend said, but the love and compassion radiated from the little family, filling me and giving me to courage to leave.
I had lived in South Africa for two in a half years. I’d spent time in 3 different villages, with 4 different host families. I had taught small-scale food gardening to hundreds of children and adults. And I had traveled through all 9 provinces, meeting people from all walks of life who welcomed me into their heart and home. I had fallen in love with this place.
882 days of life in South Africa. And 2 hours to pack up my home. A scarce 5 days from when I was told I would be leaving to when I stepped foot on the plane. And it tore me apart.
Life in South Africa wasn’t easy there. Even simple things like taking a bath or buying groceries was a struggle. And yet, it was home. It was normal.
And I was leaving.
With a broken arm and a broken heart. And yet, God stood with us in that terminal, as we prayed and found fellowship in the strangest of places. And somehow, I found the nerve to steer my cart one-handed to the check in desk, away from the familiar.