A Real Global Experience
Trip Start Aug 27, 2010
14Trip End Dec 13, 2010
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Hellooo (I am continually getting farther away from the United States so therefore my hello is stretched out),
How is it possible the each country just gets better and better as I make my way on this journey? I thought Ghana was incredible but already on its first day, Cape Town, South Africa is giving the other countries a run for its money. Though when it comes down the specific experiences and memories from each country, it is impossible to compare and pick one creation of God's over the other. But you are all here to hear about South Africa, and it is my pleasure to share these experiences with you!
Day one in Cape Town was indescribable. We arrived in port at 5:00 am. I woke up at 5:30 am to watch the sunrise over the water and to see Cape Town wake up on this splendid Sunday morning. The sunrise was a gift from God, so pretty! My first view of Cape Town could not have been a better experience, not only viewing the sunrise, but also watching Table Top Mountain emerge from the shadows of the dark and looking at the glittering shore from all the lights that decorate Cape Town. Oh and I should also add the spectacle of playful seals swimming all along our ship. The shipboard community then proceeded to go through Immigration, Customs and finally a diplomatic briefing. The diplomatic briefing, while informative, was intense. The subject was one of violence and crime because South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world. But do not fear friends and family, I am a very careful traveler and more importantly, God has his protection over me. But needless to say, after the fear struck message, we were all a little hesitant about stepping off the ship into this country. Luckily, Cape Town discredited all possible threats of violence in its actions towards my friends and me today. In Cape Town today, I encountered nothing but kindness, protection, sacrifice of time, smiles, greetings and hospitality.
The first stop in Cape Town was Hillsong Church. For those of you who may not be familiar with Hillsong, let me do my best to give a summary. Hillsong is a non-denominational Christian church with campuses spreading all over the world. The main campus is in Sydney, Australia and it includes not only a HUGE church family, but also a University for college students. Hillsong is the producer of many of modern day worship songs played and sang worldwide (such as Mighty to Save, From the Inside Out etc.). They have many recorded cd’s of worship from various locations worldwide and they attract large crowds at each location. The Cape Town location currently rents out the convention center every Sunday and each service there is roughly give or take 1,000 lovers of God attending!! You can only imagine my excitement to attend a church after a month of not being able to attend a regular body of Christ. And the excitement for church only grew once I added the factor that I was getting the opportunity to worship with the worldwide community! Though the congregation was huge, the overall service reminded me greatly of a great church in Nashville called Cross Point. As my one friend described it, "it was like a concert with a rock band" (haha, I love her! She did not grow up in a church that gets quite this enthusiastic or modern). I attended both the morning and evening service. The morning service served communion which was an incredible experience to share with my fellow brothers and sisters of Christ in South Africa.
God has such a sense of humor doesn’t he? Today as we sat down in the midst of 1,000 people, one of the strangers next to us happened to not be so much of a stranger. It turns out that God planned for us to sit right next to a former Semester At Sea Alumni. Her name is Kristen. How crazy is that?? Kristen is studying in Cape Town for her graduate degree. Her voyage did not even go to Cape Town so how she ended up there and we happened to sit next to her is an act of God. Through her generosity she offered to take us all to a nice place to eat and she dedicated her whole day to us. Not only did she eat with us, total strangers, but she also proceeded to show a small group of us around the whole city of Cape Town. She gave us any insight and tips we ever needed to know. She calmed any worries we had about safety and gave us suggestions of things to do during our stay. If that’s not a good welcoming first day in a country, I don’t know what is. I feel prepared, excited and ready to go explore this beautiful land God has created at the tip of the African continent. If any of you want to hear more about Hill Song or if you have any questions, I would love to tell you more about it:)
I miss you all, I hope you are all doing well and I cannot wait to see your smiling faces when I return!