I currently live alone in a beautiful, cozy cottage owned by a white South African couple. In the same yard as where the cottage is, there is the main big house where they live.
Jenni and her husband have been nothing but kind to me. The story of how we found their place and all the favor that came with it could only be a testament of how beautiful God orchestrates things.
Tonight, Jenni invited me to have supper with her family. I came from work to the main house at six in the evening finding her husband watching news on TV as the new president of South Africa has just sworn in; and I found Jenni in the kitchen preparing our supper. She asked me if I wanted to come to the kitchen as she is about to bake a cake upon her granddaughter’s request and I told her I’m happy to join in.
Somehow, there’s something about the kitchen and the act of preparing food that seem to be so effective in bringing people together, in breaking the ice, and in starting a good conversation. I learned so much about Jenni and her family in just a few minutes standing with her in that kitchen as she and her five-year old granddaughter happily mix together some eggs and flour for the cake they were baking. And right there in the kitchen as the light of the late afternoon glory gently shines on her through the glass window, I now see and know Jenni not just anymore in a transactional way of being the owner of the cottage I’m renting, but as a normal human being—a godly woman, a wife, a mother, a grandmother.
When the supper was ready, we sat around the dining table – me, her, her husband, and the little girl – and we held hands together as her husband gave graces for the food we were about to partake and then we feasted together the meal Jenni prepared—roasted chicken, baked potatoes, baked butternut, green peas, and corn in a cub. The dining table was abuzz with the clanking sound of cutleries after that, followed by life stories said and shared, both her and her husband’s and mine.
Jenni told me that night how much she loves hosting people and how their household only gets so much blessed when they allow someone who works for the Lord to rent their cottage. I thought she was really so sweet to say that.
We ended the meal with some ice cream while we laugh at the small skit her two adorable grandkids were playing. “Crucifixion,” Jenni’s husband said to me in a silly way. “It’s because they just saw this video about the life of Jesus.”
When it was time for Jenni to bring their visiting grandkids back to their parents, she asked me if I wanted to join the drive to her daughter’s house just two minutes down the road and I said I’d love to come.
As they were busy getting ready for the drive, I had a moment right there for myself, and I began to process this reality of being in a house and sharing a meal with a family who is of different race as mine, who I could have never possibly crossed paths with ever in my life here on earth, but somehow, in some way, we found ourselves here and suddenly we get to share life with one another. It’s something I sometimes couldn’t wrap my mind around and yet it is also beautiful when you leave it as it is.
Tonight, I’m grateful for Jenni, for the cottage I get to call my home in this season of living in South Africa, and for the kind of places, people, stories, opportunities we would have not ever possibly have or we would not even know exist, until we decide to walk into a place of obedience—the place where God’s grace overflows, and His good, pleasing, and perfect will abounds.
16 February 2018, 4:45AM