We're home! And there is no place like it :) But we had a really wonderful trip. The flights were very long (over 24 hours of actual time in the air, plus a few hours of stop-over time in various airports!) But I haven't done much long-distance flying, and this was Nonny's first time on an aeroplane, so the novelty of it all made it rather fun.
The Bridging for Tomorrow teams went out of their way to make us feel welcome and at home, and they had arranged a full week for us. We landed on Friday afternoon and went straight to Faithbridge church to see their holiday bible club in action. It is similar to the one run on the North Coast, except that they have over 1200 children who attend, and 600 volunteers who help out! On Saturday we visited a traditional Texan Ranch for some local culture, and on Sunday we went to NASA, which was mind-blowing.
We also attended the morning service at Faithbridge Methodist Church, which has a Sunday attendance of over 3000 people. What struck me most about the church is that, despite having financial resources, just about everything that happens on a Sunday is managed by volunteers – from the large cameras that stream their services, to the displays on the screen and the team arranging the weekly coffee and donuts. They even have teams of volunteers to mow the lawns on Saturday mornings.
On Monday we spent the day with the Bridging for Tomorrow staff, learning about how their community projects work, and Tuesday we spent some time with the Faithbridge staff, getting insight into how their church runs. They have a major focus on serving, believing that the value of serving is less about what happens at the church and more about what happens in our hearts.
On Wednesday and Thursday we visited their community programmes, which are similar to the after-school life skills programmes we are part of here with MPower. Nonny facilitated a learning activity with them, and I got to speak about South Africa. They asked lots of good questions and we were able to learn lots from each other. We also spent time with a team of young people learning about hunger in Houston, and the various organisations that help fight poverty, and we were able to tell them about the different organisations on the North Coast that do similar work. We spent the evenings having dinner in people's homes, and found everyone to be genuinely interested in us, our church and our country.
The week flew by, and even before we had time to feel the jetlag, we were on our way home. It was a wonderful experience for both of us, thank you for your prayers and support.
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