Starting a New Life

Written by Ronn and Aladrian Elmore

Ronn and Aladrian are Americans, former church leaders who moved to South Africa earlier this year to live in the EM community and serve as members of EM full-time staff.

Sixteen weeks. Not very much time in a missionary's life. It seems like we've been serving with East Mountain so much longer. Everything is new and so very unfamiliar--new country, community, customs, cuisine, languages, laws, practices, procedures, expectations, work, and relationships (let's not talk about driving). The only things familiar are what we brought with us--our clothes, our prayers, and each other. What an adventure we're having, and we're so grateful.

God's timing in our lives has been amazing. We arrived at East Mountain (EM) just days before the Battle for the Hearts (B4H) retreat, which afforded us the privilege of getting to know and be known by our new community very quickly. We were embraced by each EM household; and, we fell in love with the residents whom we adopted as surrogate offspring. We quickly became family.

So much has happened in this short period ... Both of us have preached at a local church, and Aladrian has sung there on several occasions. Ronn has preached, taught, and counseled in the Western and Eastern Cape areas. He was even asked to candidate to be pastor of a local church and (only half-jokingly) Bishop of an Eastern Cape diocese. Talk about jumping in with both feet!

And, God continues to remind us that He's in control here in South Africa.

We've met South Africans changing the world like Desiree, Branch Manager of Learn to Earn, a discipleship for residents of high-unemployment communities; and Enoch, a Zimbabwean pastor called to South Africa, who also tends lions, tigers, jaguars and cheetahs in a big cats preserve at a local winery; and Marie, an Afrikaans woman called to meet the needs of the down-trodden in her Paarl community and to challenge Afrikaaners concerning the validity of their relationship with God.

It's been an exciting life so far, filled with challenges and much joy. We are honored that the Lord called us to partner with Him in this beautiful part of the world. And, we are grateful for our East Mountain community. We look forward to more adventures to come.

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Tagged as community, transition.

Ministering at the Cultural Intersection

Written by Servaas Hofmyer

Servaas is the East Mountain Resident Advisor, Facilities Manager and general host to all who visit the community. 

At the intersection...
What is the fastest way to travel from point A to B? When one has ground to cover with limited time and resources available, this is a crucial question. What is the most efficient way to travel the world in order to experience a variety of cultures or serve among other peoples, for instance? One way to confront such a challenge is to construct an algorithm, directing one along a journey from place to place, experience to experience, opportunity to opportunity. However, should we consider culturally shaped spaces and the encounters therein as expressions of the human heart, we are presented with another alternative altogether: positioning oneself at an intersection.
Through East Mountain I find myself living at a constant intersection. 
Encountering "the world on your doorstep" is not an unusual experience when living in a metropolitan city like Cape Town. A hotchpotch of cultures finds expression in people from all over roaming the streets and tourist hotspots of the city. They all gather here. Some temporarily; dotting down to take in the sights and sounds before soon taking off again with a bank full of memories (on which airlines are fortunately yet to place a weight restriction). Others again, arriving with not much more than memories; having migrated from somewhere with a desire to establish something of permanence in the Cape of Good Hope.
Although a local, I often find myself among these 'incomers' as I play the role of tour guide; and, in the fortunate position of observing the cross-continental, cross-cultural, cross-lingual shoulder rubbing that takes place.
I, however, do not live in Cape Town.
I enjoy the privilege of living near Stellenbosch, and through East Mountain have been given the opportunity of encountering "the world in my living room" - something that hit me as I considered the variety of fluid containers which found their way into our kitchen cupboard through the past few years (see picture). Firstly, instead of saying, "an Englishman, a German and a Frenchman", one might as well say "three South Africans" and possess the same cultural diversity necessary to tell a proper (or improper for that matter) joke. And so, in having three South Africans in the house, one can very easily encounter three nations in the process of living here. Then, apart from my own countrymen, the community living room is a place where, if you wait around long enough, you will encounter American diversity, the odd Englishman, other Africans, Asians and who knows, maybe one day a stray Australian?
It is at this intersection where my ministry happens. It is here that I learnt what ministry could look like. It is not always about going out but also inviting in. 'Receiving the sent', if you will. It is a strangely easy but also tough task. Both highly enjoyable and at times tiring.
My conclusion: it is possible to encounter and impact the world by opening the door to your living room.

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Tagged as community, cross-cultural.