2014- The (back-up) update of our impending emigration continues:
12 May- Everything comes together and we book our tickets to fly to Joburg on the 14th! Have hired car and sorted accommodation with Heath’s cousin, Cleedon and Zereena. They very bravely offered to have us stay for the week that we are in Jo’burg.
13 May- Some crazy running around; my car finally went to new owner. Said bye to a few people close to us, which made us very heartsore.
That night, Heath prayed, How do we even begin to say thank you for 41 and 38 years of blessing? You have been with us through the calm and through the storm… That was the most incredible statement.
Did not sleep at all well this night. Lay there realizing it was going to be an amazing day for us- 14/5/14 and our flight arrives at 14:50! I went to the toilet (this is not the toilet humour part) and looked at my phone- the time was 1:45am, (I swear) so I just prayed grace and peace to everything ahead of us, and read my Bible for a bit. Some of the Scriptures I read:
O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance. I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. (Psalms 16:5-9)
You have tested my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me and have found nothing; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. (Psalms 17:3)
As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness. (Psalms 17:15)
Clearly I was supposed to be reading at night. Then I got some weird sleep until 5:30. Well, at least it wasn’t 5:14 cos then it would be weirder.
14 May- Rubi (beloved niece and cousin) stayed home from school to say bye and was very precious. Zak (beloved nephew and cousin) is the hardest person to say bye to because you just have to look at him and you cry- that crazy hair, the yelling of The Cousins’ names, his strong, yet sweet spirit. Bex (aka Gretchen- H’s sister) came to airport with us, luggage all good, check in all good, saying bye to Bex all bad- very very heart sore. They have been amazeballs to us (not my vocab- it’s an in-house joke); the time with them invaluable.
Ethan leads us onto plane- hilarious. Seeing the seats he exclaims, Hey, they’ve got shiny buttons! In business class he pauses and says, Dad, can we sit here? Clearly this child has not travelled much. Then on take-off / turbulence / descent, he and Luke would proclaim too loudly, “My winky feels all jiggly!” They were sort of half amused, half concerned. Clearly a boy thing. This kind of toilet humour constitutes a large part of my life.
At drinks time, Ethan says, I’m going to have apple juice, I need to fulfill my apple-tite.
15 May– Spent the day in the hired car, driving all over the place to look at cars to buy. Spent great family time in malls, eating together etc. Exhausted at the end of the day.
16 May- Woke up anxious about my children’s brains turning to fudge, as they’ve been out of school for over a month now. We bought some notebooks for journals and books to maintain some brain cell movement. They have to write daily updates, made up of sentences. With good spelling, and ended off by a sum. Well, not really, but that would cover the maths.
Made some good car contacts today– we are anxious about the time this is taking, but just have to trust God. In the evening, Joshua shared with Heath some emotions- it’s sinking in that we’re not going back, and he is really struggling with the emotions of that. He is deeply sad. We just pray for him and hug him lots.
17 May. On our way to breakfast at Mugg & Bean (ahh come now, don’t be a hater– I had to get that in there….sorry), Ethie asks, Why don’t we ever see the president passing by? Of course. The fanfare of flashing lights and speeding motorcades was almost a daily occurrence for us in Zim. Ethan’s next question, Is Mr. Price his real surname? Mr. Price is a retail chain store here. Crazy kid. Lots to learn!
So we can feel the stress in our bodies, me more so than Heath, but the grace weighs heavy too. It is all still quite surreal, and Heath and I keep looking at each other and saying, We’re doing it, you know. Cleedon & Zereena have a 4 year old Rylan, who is loving all the company, and they also have 3 bedrooms for us, with bedding and pillows for all, which is no mean feat for a family of 6. And they feed us too. And their Zimbabwean maid does our laundry and irons like a genie. That all makes such a difference. At home I used to stand and stare in my cupboard deciding what to wear for ages….you should see me standing and staring into the depths of my suitcase.
Our kids are coping well, I think. They’re sometimes a bit tired or eat too much junk, but I hope their journals will help them remember this whole experience, and not just about the Ferrari they saw driving in the next lane, or the DS game they bought!
To whatever geography your travels may take you, may you always live, move and have your being in Him. (Acts 17:28)
Lots of love to you all, from the Stewarts. In South Africa.