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Dear South Africa,

Dear South Africa, 


I loved a lot of things about you, so I decided to split it up by month, all the memories and emotions and ~little things~ I loved about life with you (dang this is senty but here. we. GO!) 

Month #1:

1. Music playing all the time — Alex and Mason wake you up in the morning as they write the lyrics “Death in a Casket” aka. “Love in a Casket” aka. “MASQUE” (and drum SO loudly), Anna and Reagan having their own worship set before dinner every night, and everyone singing Uthando every second of every day. 

2. So much hair everywhere, your socks collect little bushes of it and you have to throw them out the window because there’s anywhere from 20-30 girls living in one house at one time. (OH and you’re all syncing up which means the time of the month is like three times a month).

3. My squad is freaking awesome and loves each other so well, someone will grab your dish for you saying they don’t mind cleaning it, let you eat their snacks because they know you had a long day at ministry, or make a joke that’ll guarantee you’ll smile when they know you’re not quite feeling the joy of the Lord right then.

4. End of the night/winding down/tea and toast hour is the best. Jack will start with two pieces, and after 40 minutes of making everyone else’s toast for them somehow ate six more pieces.

5. A lot of God pointing out what you need to fix and you getting really emotional about it, and learning what processing means because I don’t think anyone fully knew how to do that before the race.

6. Community in the beginning means showing everyone pics of your friends and family at home, and learning/adjusting to being fully “in” during the transition of the first few weeks.

7. Ministry hosts are bomb and weird and quirky and loving and wonderful and so special. They put on braiis (South African barbecues) for us, give the ladies half days when they know we’re getting super drained and we don’t even realize it, and invite us on coffee dates because they genuinely care about and want to get to know us.

8. Knowing everyone and their mothers’ enneagram, the ready player one jokes from the boys, and Braeden’s hard drive supplying all movies all the time, ranging from She’s the Man to Nacho Libre to Never Ending Story.
10. Chandré and Sangay (Adam) always hanging around, the chicken and the hen crowing and walking everywhere, the campus dogs Rascal and Cinnamon being cute as frick, and the hostel high schools kids wondering why we everyone gets so heated and passionate about spike ball every night. 

Month #2 + #3:

*(both together because it all seemed to blend and go by way too fast)

1. Adjusting to what life looks like without Abide and Refinement — things seem a lot quieter and more boring at first until we introduce the dinner playlists made by Emily and start two-stepping in the kitchen before meals. 

2. Finally learning that the ways to process are: 1) emailing word vomit to your squad mentor, we LOVE Jodi Owens, or 2) talking in southern accents at your local Woolworths for a half hour about your feelings and emotions. 

3. Nina’s dates every Saturday, including one particular time where Shelby asks the waiter “where they get their pumpkins?” because it’s October and they’re nowhere to be found. 

4. Lots and lots of one on ones with squadmates and teammates and ministry hosts (shoutout to one on one queen Lehanie) where you get to know everyone at a deeper level and truly start to become each other’s family.

5. Moving in and out and in and out of the Mission House (reasons being lice fumigation, weekend children’s camps, and global expedition teams returning) 

6. An 11n11 team (Team Rhodashians) of six amazing, wise, kind, and beautiful women in their last month of the race who became are big sisters for the two weeks they were here. They gave us wisdom, encouragement, and so many good stories that had us cackling (and really afraid of what’s going to happen in Cambodia). 

7. UCSA birds are not just at UCSA and live in the walls of GLA and laugh at you when you trip on the stairs.

8. SO many birthdays, one being a day in Cape Town where you spend a little too much because “it’s Karson’s birthday” aka. “treat-yo-self” and have to be frugal the rest of the month bc you didn’t budget very wisely. 😛

9. Lazy days on the weekends are truly the best and can range from watching 10 Things I Hate About You with half of the Heifers in the house, or it could be writing really emotional letters that make you cry with your friends and they’re sweet to you and give you their special birthday cake. *which is a big deal bc abandonment 

10. Falling in love with all the 25 or so girls and boys at your ministry when you don’t even like kids that much, and finding them asking hard questions when you’re about to leave like “why do you say you love me?” and being able to tell them that you love them because they are made beautiful and righteous and pour truth into them. 

11. BTW Woolworths is the Target of South Africa and it has the best freaking pesto pasta salad I’ve ever eaten in my life. And chocolate covered raisins. And gummy snakes. And snacks in SA just hit different, especially Cadbury chocolate bc it’s banned in the USA.

12. Lots of dancing and singing — including but not limited to, making a dance to “Super Duper Christmas” for 7 cute but very easily distracted 8-11 year olds, Sokee-ing (Afrikaans dance) and singing at the top of your lungs at a dance party till 2:30 AM with a bunch of South African Global Challenge kids, interpretive dancing in GLA at 8 PM to BoRhap and T-Swift, and belting “You Save Me” with your teammates during a spontaneous worship night on the rugby field. 

13. Free for alls with your teammates where you do blind makeovers and silent disco and photoshoots with no makeup at all because God made us beautiful women who don’t need no makeup!

14. Random ministry days that break up the regular schedule like being interview for a Christian radio station, or catering a banquet fundraiser with no kitchen (which means massaging salad dressing into a salad with your hands).

15. A whole (1/2) squad of 24 girls sobbing as we leave our new home after 3 months of being loved so well by the best ministry hosts and the best town we ever could’ve asked for. 

I love you a fat ton South Africa. Thank you Jesus for what was an unforgettable time and for blessing me with a life that is adventurous and fun and wild and so beautiful. 


Love always, 




  1. #10 for months 2&3 made me tear up at work! I’ve gotta be careful where I read these…love you long time (something a wonderful teammate always said to me just popped right out!)

  2. Loved all your thoughts, sounded like it was amazing in SA!! Praying for only great days ahead in Ecuador.. Blessings..

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