africa · Five Minute Friday · Intentional Living

The Small Gifts {Five Minute Friday}

It’s Five Minute Friday time, where I gather with Kate and many other women to write freely, for five minutes only, all on a common prompt. Kate’s blog has all the details and the link up, but for now, it’s time to write.

Today’s prompt is: Gift.


When I lived in South Africa, I began to look for the little gifts that make a big differences. The pitter-patter of a light rainfall on the corrugated metal roof, the sun settling over the desert horizon, a smile from one of my Grade R learners, or a coherent conversation in Setswana with my host mother. These little things ended up being big gifts that fueled me. Blessings that encouraged me.

When you live in an impoverished rural village, the little gifts make a huge difference.


When you live without running water, your host brother bringing over a 25 liter jug of water from the communal village tap is undoubtedly a blessing. Your host mother seeing your panic stricken face, coming in to kill the tarantula that you can’t manage to beat to death. The American friend who traveled hours across the Kalahari to visit your village.

Waiting for the bus in the village.

Most things were a huge struggle when I lived abroad. Getting groceries involved hitchhiking, walking through desert sand, fighting crowds, hours of travel on dusty dirt roads, and endless waiting in bush taxis. Simple things were compounded by cultural and linguistic difference, distance from town, and lack of transportation.

real faith for real life

But the one thing that wasn’t a struggle was opening my eyes to the everyday blessings, the little gifts that grace each day. It came about almost naturally, and became a survival skill.

And now, back in the USA, it’s still a survival skill.

Because it connects me to the Creator who has blessed me beyond belief.



Registration for the first ever Five Minute Friday Retreat IS OPEN! Check it out right here! 

Click here for more details about the retreat, and click here for ticket info on the registration form. Kate’s blog is full of information about the retreat!

Here are the basic details:

Tickets for the whole retreat are $180.

This includes two nights of accommodation, Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast, Saturday lunch, and Sunday breakfast. Cost of transportation and Saturday dinner are not included in the ticket price.

Tickets for Saturday only are $45. Day visitors are welcome from 9:30am-4pm on Saturday.

The day visit ticket includes a morning discussion, a special presentation, lunch, and an afternoon session.

There are 25 retreat tickets and 10 day visitor tickets available. Tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis.

** No refunds are available for cancellations. You may sell your own ticket to another person if you purchase a ticket and are unable to attend.**

Registration information can be found here! And even better: here’s the schedule! It’s getting real, friends!


20 thoughts on “The Small Gifts {Five Minute Friday}

    1. Thanks Holly! It’s still opening my eyes, being reminded of the many blessings I used to consider necessities and took for granted.

  1. Jen, I was thinking today about your being in Africa, I was also thinking about your home now and how things are changing. It is fun when God backs up what I was thinking about on your journey in Africa in a blog post later that day! I was wondering the small stuff, like “how did she learn to speak?” “How was the culture shock?” “Is she going to love her own home again or miss her family?” The thoughts kept going back to Africa with the “if she can do THAT she can do THIS!!” Praise the Lord for you and your incredible journey Jen!!

    1. Sometimes I think the same thing, when I face something challenging! I had to put myself in the right perspective sometimes!!

  2. Jen, what a post! Being from the States and never waving the country, I can’t imagine what it would be like to live in a country such as South Africa. It was a great reminder to be just HOW Blessed we as Americans are and what we take for granted daily. Thank you God, for the many many Blessings we may take for granted daily!!

    1. I couldn’t imagine it either, before I went! And then I began to truly understand how blessed we are. Praise God!!

    1. Last year, I started sponsoring a child in Ghana. Someday I hope to visit Ghana and see more of that country, and her!

    2. من مهندس عمران هستم با حدود ۱۵ سال سابقه و متاهل و یک فرزند در حال حاضر وکیل گرفته ام و در تاریخ ۸ فوریه ۲۰۱۲ no.dossier در یافت کرده ام میخواهم بدانم منظور این شماره چیست و در صورت ارائه tcf امکان wawe شدن هست یا نه و مراحل بعدی چیست . مرسی از شما

  3. Living in a foreign country I’m sure makes you much more aware of what you do and don’t have. It really shows is the difference between abundance and scarcity doesn’t it?

    1. It definitely does, but it has also opened my eyes to very similar areas here in the US. Even in my hometown, where I grew up. It’s amazing to see the disparity in a land of plenty. Amazing and heartbreaking.

  4. ‘survival skill’. That’s a great way to put it! I work with the missions community, and they’re a strange, resilient bunch. But they also have a real appreciation for simple things, probably through this same training!

    1. God definitely gave me resiliency, partially through this awareness and gratitude. I’m not sure how I would’ve made it through otherwise.

      1. Aber der Igel ist wirklich hübsch und das Platik tauscht man dann einfach aus.Hab einen schönen Sonntag und liebe Grüße von MatiBlda.hei mir gibt es heute echte Igel zu sehen und dahinter noch ein Gag *g*.

  5. Of course, the funniest thing about the so-called R02ban” was that not only were there foie gras speakeasies, but many high end restaurants continued to blatantly list foie gras on their menus and their websites. The ban was all smoke and no fire.

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