Three weeks spent in and around the same area in a program such as Outtatown is both an odd and comforting experience when it is unusual to consistently sleep in the same bed. Throughout the past few weeks our site seemed to find some really nice familiarity in the people who worked with us, as well as the beautiful area surrounding us at Camp Kawkawa. It seemed as if a lot of time was spent laughing with each other, finishing the last minute touches (or the entirety) of our South Africa projects, adventuring, and just spending some genuine time with one another.
Olita Elia: “I think that I often forget about the moments, in which I feel so overwhelmingly happy and excited about life, during the amazing experiences within the semester that I have had so far in Outtatown. Maybe I get caught up in all the activities, or “more exciting” weeks that are planned for us. This past week was one of those times where I looked back and I initially thought that not much happened. I am however, almost disappointed that I felt that way because some super amazing things happened. In being out in God’s creation there were a few really rewarding moments that I will take with me for what I hope is a long time.
One of those moments was in the spelunking that our group took part in. This was an activity that I was very ill-prepared for, in that I am not the fondest of feeling stuck, but it was so fulfilling and it seemed as if joy seeped through the rocks that we struggled to maneuver around. God is so good, and I think that so many people felt God there, and definitely put some thought into the light that always seems to guide us through the shadier places in life and in the caves that we spent the day in. Our guide spoke to how God is there in the darkness, and how, like the equipment we used in the cave, we can rely on things like the body of Christ and the safety that we find in Him. Despite the fact that my headlamp seemed really dim, our lights were enough to guide us through the caves. Comparing this to every day life, with the smallest of lights you can still figure your way through the darkest of places. I would highly recommend the experience if given the opportunity, and I like many others was able to see God working.
Another experience that I cannot leave out is the last opportunity we had to take the canoes out on the beautiful Kawkawa Lake at the camp. A beautiful moment that many of us had the opportunity to be a part of was swinging into the very cold lake on a rope swing. This was an unexpected moment that just exuded happiness and such a sense of togetherness because everyone there, in spite of their fear or hesitation, swung themselves into the lake. Jeans and/or the shirts on our backs didn’t stop a single person from jumping, and it was such a great example of how I think the community has been to me, and how they continue to be. I have been supported in the endeavours that I have taken to, and the people around me jump into the adventure that seems to always be pursued.”
Sarah Martens: “Despite being in such a diverse community that has so much opportunity to have deep and spiritual conversations – conversations about our own lives, beliefs, and struggles which lead to growth from each others experiences, encouragement, and support – I felt a little deprived. I really desired to have these kinds of conversations with my fellow Outtatowners, but did not know how to create them, what to say, or what I needed to talk about. In response to this lacking and these insecurities I brought my worries and desire before God. I had asked God to create opportunities for these conversations and that He would equip me for when they did come up.
Within the next week I began to find myself involved in the kind of conversations I had been asking for. The conversations came easy and were so uplifting. Though at first I did not realize that in having them, my prayer was answered, I just felt more wholesome and encouraged. One night I was reflecting about all the heart-to-heart conversations I had been having and it hit me that my prayers were answered. Each conversation was unique, genuine, and glorifying to God. I have grown so much this past week through hearing from others, and discussing who God is and how He has been revealing himself to us.”
God has been at work in Outtatown throughout planned and unplanned activities. There is so much opportunity to see and hear from Him, and through our own personal desires to know God, He will continue to reveal himself to us.
By Olita Elia and Sarah Martens