31 Days · africa · Five Minute Friday

#write31days {Five Minute Friday: Leave}

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.


As usual, I’m linking up with Kate for Five Minute Friday. Check out the complete awesomeness here, and come join in on the fun!



25 thoughts on “#write31days {Five Minute Friday: Leave}

  1. Beautifully said. I feel your pain. And I’m so glad you wrote this series! Thank you for writing along with the prompts — it was a real boost of encouragement to me! Also appreciated your faithful visits and comments on my own posts .. grateful to have “met” you in this little corner of the internet! Here’s to many more South Africa posts ..

    1. Well, I have certainly appreciated all your encouragement throughout the series. It’s been such a blessing to know you through #FMFParty!! 😀

      Now I just need to go through and read some I know I missed in the hecticness of the middle of the month! So that person creeping through your blog next week? Yup, that’ll be me!

  2. Jen, this series has been such a breath of fresh air. Thank you for sharing your heart, and your adventures, with all of us! Today’s post was such a beauty-filled demonstration of departing the familiar. Thank you!

    1. Thank you Kristin! I’m so glad this challenge brought us together-you’ve been such a great encourager throughout the month! 🙂

  3. As a South African (currently living in the Middle East) I salute you and thank you for what you did in my precious homeland. I have no doubt the people and the country fell in love with you too. BLess you and thank you.

  4. You captured that moment so beautifully ❤ Praise God that you were able to recognize His hand of protection over you and with you as you made that journey home. Thank you for sharing your journey 🙂

  5. Jen, I love the image of you and your friends praying together at the airport. It is heartbreaking to have to leave someplace we love and lose a piece of our heart there. I can’t wait to come back and go through the rest of your 31 day series.

  6. I love the idea of home being where ever you are planted at the moment. The only issue with that way of living is that you seem to always be leaving home. Each new assignment pulls you away from the place you put down some roots. Blessings to you and thank you for sharing.

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