Making New Friends

554783_10151596392227792_1019184033_nThere is a magical place near Magdaliesburg, South Africa, and it’s called Jackson’s Ridge. It’s a campground for abused and neglected children, and it’s run by some wonderful friends of mine. The campground is full of beautiful vistas and it is teeming with wildlife. It’s an African paradise!

We arrived here Saturday in time for a South African braai (barbecue party). We indulged in some delicious traditional foods while trading stories with our friends.

The next day, we went to a worship service at the Excellence Christian Centre. And it rocked! The church was inaugurating a brand new chapel, and the service took place in a huge tent right on the building site. People came from far and near to help celebrate.There were several visiting dignitaries, including His Majesty, King Motlotlegi Kgosi M.E. Molopyane Mabe!

After three hours of singing and dancing and speeches, we were asked to join in the fun. Bogdan grabbed a seat at the synthesizer and off we went. I sang Mozart’s “Alleluia” and the congregation cheered after every phrase — it felt like call-and-response Mozart! Nani sang Bach’s “Bist du bei mir” beautifully. We also delivered a duet, “How Can I Keep from Singing.”  And the crowd went wild, praising God! It was a big praise party. (A video clip of this event will appear here when we have a faster internet connection!)

At the end, the pastor asked us to learn a song in Zulu to take back to the United States. We joyfully accepted this commission!  Then I got to sing Amazing Grace a cappella while the congregation filed out of the tent and walked into their brand new chapel for the very first time. What a beautiful moment.

After church, our friends took us to see the local Lion Park in Johannesburg. We spent the afternoon feeding giraffes and petting lion cubs.  It was pretty awesome.  But Nani did cause a small scandal.  Just so you know, it is NOT okay to feed potato chips to a giraffe.  (Who knew?)

By the time we came “home” to Jackson’s Ridge, it was after dark. I couldn’t stop gazing up at the night sky, marveling at the sea of bright stars.  The Southern constellations are spectacular. an unforgettable day