Monday, August 17, 2009 Happy First Birthday to my little grandson – Zeke! One year ago today we were celebrating your long prayed-for arrival. I would have never dreamed that I would be on a plane headed to the very tip of the continent of South Africa one year later. I am so glad that we were able to be with you and celebrate your birthday this past Saturday before we left! Our flight landed at 5:30 p.m. South Africa time, but my body clock knew it was really 11:30 p.m. Georgia time! A pastor named John Grubbs picked us up at the Johannesburg airport. His accent was quite thick. Although he spoke English, we had to listen really really hard to understand him. The first thing we did was exchange some good old American cash for South African “rand.” The conversion was amazing. A bill of 20 Rand was worth about $2.50. We had no trouble going through customs and passport control. It was fun to get my passport stamped in South Africa! We walked and walked and walked to get to the car, but it felt great to be up and moving around and out of that cramped plane seat! Of course the first thing we noticed was that the steering wheel was on the right hand side in the passenger seat, and that the people drive on the left hand side of the road. It was quite nerve-wracking actually. Gary was in front of me in the “passenger seat,” which was actually the “driver’s seat” in the good old US of A. As Pastor John drove wildly and I mean wildly through the dark streets of that unknown city, I prayed to the Lord for safety and sang Chris Tomlin's "You're The God of This City." :) Pastor John took us to a place called the Golden Crest Lodge, where we would spend the night. South Africa has lots of “B & B’s” (Bed and Breakfast lodgings). They are not fancy like our Bed and Breakfast inns, but rather a good source of income for many people. The very first thing I noticed about Johannesburg was that every single house, restaurant, building, whatever---was behind razor wire, barbed wire, and electric fences or huge concrete fences. We went behind a gate, a garage door, and then the entire complex was surrounded by 5 rows of electric fence atop a big concrete wall. Crime is rampant and it is because nothing much is done about it. That was both sad and scary to me. The Golden Crest could accommodate about 12 people maximum. It was old, but very nice, and it was clean. We adjusted well to our surroundings and fell into bed asleep. I woke up a couple of times and tried not to dwell on how very far from home I really am. I thought about Zeke’s birthday and counted my blessings. I know that the safest place to be is in God’s will and that He has everything well under control, both on this continent and every other continent! He definitely has "The Whole World in His Hands!"