Nov 29, 2010

All work and no play make Nicole a busy girl...

All work and no play make Nicole a very busy girl! It has been a busy first month here at Door of Hope and I have been LOVING it. It's funny how quickly one house and 21 babies can become your whole world when you have limited access to the outside world. The 5 of us international volunteers have become a fast family and fit into a regular routine of working and living together. We enjoy each other's company and spend our evenings watching movies, playing games and talking. One of the girls, Leonie, headed back home to Holland just last night. We were very sad to see her go and will miss her terribly! In preparation for her homecoming we were able to fit in something new for us: a road trip to Durban last weekend and a visit to a local Lion Park and a little place called Monte Casino this weekend. Let the good times roll...

In order to get ourselves to Durban (7 hours away from Jo-berg on the Eastern Coast of Africa) we had to hire ourselves a car. Kate, the Director here at DOH, was able to find us a reasonable rate for a itty-bitty blue 4-door chevrolet. We decided to rent the car for a month while the board works on finding a car for me to purchase come the end of December. We got the car 2 days before our trip to Durban and I had a chance to drive it around town for a few minutes before we left for our adventure. Seeing as I am the only volunteer over the age of 25 I am the sole driver of our little blue car that we have named "Mr. Shue". Those of you who know me well know that driving isn't my favorite thing to do in the world and driving 7 hours on the wrong side of the road to a town I've never been to had me feeling just a bit anxious. We decided that Jess (from New Zealand) should sit up front and help direct me because she's the only one of us who actually regularly drives on the left-hand side of the road. Between the two of us we made it the 7 long hours to Durban. When we finally arrived I was BEAT but the hostel where we stayed in Durban was so beautiful and homey after a 20 minute rest I was feeling relaxed and ready to enjoy our time.

We rented two private rooms at the hostel which was walking distance to the beach. After a good night's sleep we headed out to find breakfast and ended up at this little second hand bookstore where we had toasted sandwiches, muffins and coffee for breakfast before heading to Warner Beach to swim and soak up some sun through the clouds. After we found lunch at a nearby mall I dropped off the girls for horseback riding on the beach while I had a nice coffee date with Jesus (there were only 4 spots available so I got to sit and enjoy coffee and journal and read which I love!). They had a grand time riding in the rain and after I picked them up we headed to a nearby pub for dinner. It was so wonderful to just relax and enjoy one another. It has been such an adventure getting to know each other and sorting through all of the culture differences and languages (fringe vs. bangs, vs. flip flops, what-what vs. come again?). So many of our conversations revolve around how we say things or do things in our own countries. The trip also afforded me some wonderful opportunities to speak to the girls about their relationships with the Lord and found ways to encourage and be encouraged in our faiths.

After a yummy breakfast and stopping at a little market to get some gifts, rested and happy we headed back to Jo-berg on Tuesday afternoon. We got into the city just after dusk and proceeded to get horribly and significantly lost. After driving in the dark and the rain on unlit and poorly marked highways we finally got ahold of Lindsay and Ferdi and Ferdi was able to help us get on the right track once again. We made a few more wrong turns, paid two unnecessary tolls and FINALLY made it back home. I just kept telling myself "Don't cry, you won't be able to see any better crying!" But we made it home safe and sound and all in all it was a wonderful, worthwhile time away.

We hit the ground running working for the rest of the week and then on Saturday (Leonie's last full day with us) we set out on a local adventure to visit the Lion Park and a local hot spot called Monte Casino. It only took us about an half an hour to get to both places, the sun was out and we were happy to have the day to just play! At the Lion Park we were able to drive around a nature preserve and view lions, zebras, these buffalo looking animals and bunches of birds enjoying their mornings. We then had the chance to pet and play with lion cubs and feed ostriches and giraffes! We had such a fun time laughing and enjoying the animals. After grabbing a quick snack we then headed to a Monte Casino. Monte Casino is the large casino in town where we had a nice dinner, did some shopping and took some really fun pictures. The highlight for me was being able to have my first Starbucks' Carmel Macchiato since I left the US. The best part was that the very night before I had told Lisa "It's going to be a shame when we get up tomorrow morning and all I'm going to want is a Carmel Macchiato from Starbucks!" and lo and behold that's exactly what I found! It was like a special little (and extremely frivolous) gift from God for me. After wandering around the Casino for a few hours we headed home and then Hannah, Clair and I went and saw the new Harry Potter movie which was a fun treat!

I feel like the last week has really rounded out my experience here in South Africa. The perfect mix of working super hard and getting to enjoy the country and the girls I am serving alongside. Ever since I've arrived the Spirit has been bringing to my heart and mind where we are told in the gospels that Jesus came to serve and not be served. When we finally arrived in Durban I was exhausted and went immediately to our room to lie down. After a few minutes of asking the Lord to somehow make our time away restful and fun even with the stressor of being the only driver I turned to see a copy of the New Testament on our nightstand. After flipping through the Spanish and French translations I opened up to Matthew 20 and read:

Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave -- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

I read it and just cried, repenting for feeling selfish and sorry for myself and ready to enjoy resting and serving all at once! I have been so thankful for the pressure-cooker of uncertainty that this adventure has afforded me thus far. I feel like I have had ample time to examine my heart in stressful and tiring situations and God has been so faithful in His kindness to me, leading me to repentance when a word or thought has run awry causing me to get distracted and off track for even a moment. I can only imagine what wild and crazy things He has in store for me here!

Thank you for your prayers and messages! Please continue to pray that the Father will have His way here at Door of Hope as we continue to seek His provision for funding and leading as the Leadership continues to shift around Staff and Babies. Please also pray that I would get over the little cold I've had since Friday. I would love to be well enough to work with the Small Babies tomorrow night. I love you all!

Here are some recent pictures and be sure to check out my facebook page for more of them at

The five of us girls in Durban

Leonie and I fawning over our newest baby boy!

Leonie and I at the Glen

Merry Christmas from DOH!

Me and a lion cub!!!

Me and our newest little man in the moby wrap getting some newborn cuddles

Checking out all of his newness up close!

Me and Leonie at Monte Casino!

Our house with our new blue car, Mr. Shue, locked up nice and safe!

Two of the big boys looking outside


  1. Hi Nicole...soooo fun to get to read about your adventures...and the pics are wonderful! Praying for you right now! Miss you!

  2. I miss you and have just thanked God for giving you a beautiful gift of love for those babies! Much love, Mairi


Belize, Braids and Belief

On an almost daily basis I remind myself of how spoiled I am by the almost always immediate access to limitless bits of information speedi...