Friday, June 26, 2009

Pardon my lack of diligence towards my blog!  
All is well, but I didn't even realize how long it had been since my last update!  

It's been quite a busy few weeks, as Matt and I have been spending most of our free time working on the launch of our new youth environment, InsideOut.  We're very excited about this endeavor, but it takes quite a bit of time.  We're so lucky to have a brigade of volunteers who have helped us make this all possible.  Without them, we would probably be stuck back where we were when we started all of this.  

We have had lots of meetings this week with different groups of volunteers in an attempt to create a great culture in our ministry.  We had a meeting with what we have dubbed our "creative team".  Their job is to take whatever Matt wants to say and figure out cool, relevant, and memorable ways to convey those ideas.  Currently, we're doing a theme called "youtube live."  To get ready for our camp in 2 1/2 weeks, we're posting a series of youtube diaries.  They are quite funny.  Feel free to view our first one :

The house is kind it will be...for a while.  I'm not expecting many changes to the decor for the next 5-6 months.  We're going for the simple look.  Matt and I would rather spend our extra money on fun dates.  We finally told ourselves a couple of weeks ago that we would go on our first official date since we've been married.  It was dinner and a movie...Primi for dinner and Star Trek for our movie.  And I must say, the doctor in Star Trek looks EXACTLY like my uncle Johnny in America.  Their resemblance was so striking that it was almost distracting for me in the movie!

And the last news is that Matt and I have officially bought our PLANE TICKETS to come visit America in December!  WOO HOO!!!  It certainly will be wonderful to visit everyone and celebrate Thanksgiving!  

Well, I've got to go!  It's Friday and there's still LOTS to do to be ready for Sunday morning!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Well, I guess it's' time to update again! 

Updates in the home...

On Monday, Matt and I finally put up curtains!  It's just nice to have curtains in two of our four rooms now.  Unfortunately, they were not the color or quality I wanted, but as I was fuming in Mr. Price Home, Matt and I decided it would be better to just be angry rather than be angry about it and guilty all at the same time if we paid more.  And for the record, I am beginning to get used to them, so my hatred towards them has mellowed to a mild discontentment.  I imagine I'll love them next week.  

Matt and I went on a ridiculous cooking spree this past weekend.  We cooked chicken, pepper, and pineapple curry (Anna, I don't know if pineapple is on your hate list for fruit, but I would highly recommend implementing it into your was yummy!), and we cooked this amazing chili.  Oh, but my fellow Americans, we did not use cow meat...we used ostrich meat.  You don't see that very often at the grocery store!  Then, Matt and I made homemade salsa AND homemade guacamole which was actually VERY VERY close, if not better than my favorite guacamole from Chipotle (Matt even told me it was the best guac he has ever eaten!).  

Matt and I also enjoyed a relaxing movie night where we watched Stranger Than Fiction (and if you haven't seen it, I would recommend it).  Matt and I both agreed that the movie is a good reminder to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.  

One of my favorite things that has been happening in the Hastings Home lately has been the wonderful conversations Matt and I have been having in the evening.  There is a brute yet relieving level of honesty that presents itself once married.  For many, I imagine this sort of honesty presents itself negatively, as couples yell, scream, and say things that hurt the other deep to the core.  Yet when used positively, it creates an atmosphere of honesty unlike any other.  It is an environment where you truly can say what is on your mind in a loving way that that is not driven by unbridled emotion, but rather by love and security in the permanence of that relationship.  It allows for the couple to get down to core issues and issues of the heart, something not always so easy when there is that fear that the relationship could dissolve at any moment.  These conversations have been an avenue for us to better love, serve, and encourage one another.  

Updates in visa world...

Well, Home Affairs FINALLY emailed me back, after a week, only to find out that I will not be able to apply for residency because you have to be married to a South African for a minimum of five years.  Well, we don't exactly make the cut, so it's back to applying for a relative's visa.  The good news is that the information that we have already accumulated for this is more than enough for what we need for the relative's permit.  So, we're well on our way to acquiring that.  

Book updates...

Matt is finishing up The Unlikely Disciple, which has been a pleasant read for the both of us.  I just finished up Created to be His Help Meet, which was a refreshing yet challenging book that offered a fresh and extremely conservative view on how to be a good wife, which healthily balances out some of the other books and ideologies to which I have been exposed.  Now, I am reading Simply Christian by N.T. Wright.  Although most conservative theologians initially denounced many of Wright's ideologies, I've found that many are now realizing that they "threw the baby out with the bath water" in their harsh assessment of Wright's work.  If read with a critical eye, always going back to Scripture, I think many would find Wright's apologetic for not only a God, but for Jesus being that manifestation of God, as a very convincing and provocative argument.  But then again, maybe that's just me.  I'm finding the book quite refreshing, though.  Think of it as a contemporary spin on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.  In many ways, the book has centered my focus again and reminded me of why I do believe in what I'm doing and how I'm living.  I often find myself all to quickly plunging down the spiral of cynicism, wondering if what I believe, how I live, and in what I hope truly are valid.  For me, it's academics like Wright who God so poignantly uses to speak to my heart that refocus and revive my heart and spirit.  

I am now also in a book club!  We had our first session last night, and I'm thrilled for future sessions and to have the opportunity to read more books as time passes!  

Updates in ministry...

Matt and I are thrilled about a team of youth coming to Cape Town in July to help us re-launch our youth program here at Stellenberg!  We met the leaders of the team when we were in America, and we even had the opportunity to briefly become acquainted with the youth that are coming in July.  It is an awesome group from what I've seen.  We are in the process of planning out just what their week here in Cape Town will look like.  It has been a fun process that Matt and I have had the blessing of experiencing together!  

KidStuf is this Sunday and I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with Rachel and the dancers.  It was so much fun, and I can't wait to see how they do with their new dance this Sunday! 

Well, that's all for now!  Hope everyone in America is enjoying the warm weather!!!!