Founded in Fifteen

“Life changes in the instant, the ordinary instant.”

– Joan Didion –

One day I am living my comfortable secular life in Perth, Western Australia and then in an ordinary instant I am here, in Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa.

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It has been about six weeks since I arrived, and while it seems that the hours go by slowly, the days go by quicker than I thought they ever could. I’ll be here until the end of June and while that still seems so far away, I know it’ll arrive quicker than I want it to. By that, I know I am happy. Content. In the midst of a beautiful, much longed for, adventure with God, from God.

You make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

– Psalm 16:11 –

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A few of us have been placed on this journey together and I have gained 3 brothers and 2 sisters, altogether wild fun, and loving kindness. We are the students at Christian Surfers Africa Leadership Training for 2015. I have been stretched but in the stretching I have found beauty and the gift of closeness in community. I love this bunch of wonderful people;

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I am blessed to be here. Very blessed indeed.

Today is a particularly special day; as VuyoMbali was created.

VuyoMbali (Voo-yoh-mmm-bah-lee) is Xhosa, a native South African language. I took two words from this language of clicking sounds and put them together.

Vuyo (Voo-yoh) which means Joy + Mbali (Mmm-bah-lee) which is a Xhosa name for a girl and it represents any flower.

VuyoMbali = JoyFlower.

When I was growing up in South Africa, our family had domestic help. She was a Xhosa lady named Lena and she was my friend, a very good friend and mentor to me. Sure, she cleaned our house but she was there for me, everyday when I came home from school for heartfelt conversation about anything. She was with our family for more than 25years. She passed away in 2007 and left a massive imprint on my heart. I asked her one day;

“Lena, if I was your Xhosa daughter, what would you call me? She looked at me and said; Mbali! it means flower”

and Joy; this is what God has place in the foreground of my life. Once a very angry, people fearing, self loathing, broken person, God came in and redeemed it all. He removed that and has placed His Joy at the foreground of my life and who I am today.

VuyoMbali // JoyFlower // Jo-Anne

and here I am, my first ever blog and my first ever public post. Here I will begin to share thoughts, share stories, share adventures and pictures.

I dedicate this to Lena Charlie, my friend, my Xhosa Mamma who is never forgotten and to my inspiring Mentor and friend; Amanda Viviers, who encouraged bravery into my life, who gave me opportunity, who introduced me to a whole new world of creative pursuits. I am so grateful.

Be Brave. Take Risks. Nothing can substitute experience.

– Paulo Coelho –

Be back soon,

Jo-Anne

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