As I walked the various trails in the heart of the Waterberg Bush with my family this week, my heart was full. Yet, words failed me. How could I apprehend this moment in time and ask it to hold still – until I had fully appreciated every sound, every sight, every scent, and every feeling? This was one of those fleeting times in our family life – where we were able to enjoy each other and relish a special experience all by ourselves – without the pressure of school work, ministry tasks, or the needs of others. I wanted to take hold of this time and not let go – at least not yet.
We took a brief family get-away into the bush to literally catch our breath from the whirlwind we’ve been experiencing in our ministry/mission life since the start of 2015. John and I knew 2015 was going to be a very full ministry year. With our home assignment beckoning in June, the first part of 2015 would require almost a year’s worth of ministry packed into a short six months. So, back in January, we booked a three day holiday in the Waterberg for March – an anniversary gift for John and me and also a fun holiday treat for our boys. We anticipated that we would need a time to decompress, rest and replenish after the first three months of the year.
And we did.
One of the things we did not realize when we booked our accommodation at the Waterberg Cottages, was that if we wanted to view any game, we would need to walk. In the past, all of our game farm experiences have offered viewing opportunities by vehicle and by foot.
Walking, however, proved to be one of the gifts of our trip.
As a family, we don’t have many opportunities to walk together. For me, this was my favorite part of our whole Waterberg experience. When the boys were younger, and we were still living in Oregon, John and I took the boys out for many walks and meandering hikes. We just don’t have the same kind of opportunities here in Jo’burg.
Therefore, when we are able to get out in the bush, get walking and exploring, our hearts are filled. With no wifi, no television, little phone reception or access to news of the world, we really could savor the sights, scents and sounds of the Waterberg bush.
John was able to explore the entire farm – sometimes three times a day – to see if he could encounter zebra, kudu, guinea fowl, or other small game.
Caleb and Jake enjoyed spending time in and around our accommodation, Bushwillow Cottage.
Caleb loved the time in the pool. The water was especially refreshing after our hikes.
Jake shared that he liked eating all of our good food on the cottage porch. We were able to eat outside for all of our meals.
Micah, too, enjoyed our hikes. He struck out on the trails with his dad and later with our entire family as well.
We also ventured away from the farm to visit The Church of St. John the Baptist at 24 Rivers. This little church has served as a central place of worship for over a hundred years. The small chapel once accommodated 33 people along with the minister. It was designed by Sir Herbert Baker, the architect who designed other significant South African structures such as the Union Buildings in Pretoria (Tshwane), St. John’s College in Johannesburg, and Groote Schuur on the slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town. The fact that Sir Herbert Baker agreed to work on this small project was a testament to the tenacity of pioneers EA Davidson and his wife Molly along with her two aunts to secure the time and skill of the most renowned South African architect of their time.
It was a delight to explore the charming church grounds.
Each night in the Waterberg, the sun’s rays sent stunning brush strokes of red, orange, pink, and violet over the expanse of the sky. The spectacular African sunsets invited both an appreciation of great beauty and wondrous rest for us. Such a gift!
The blessing of time and the decision to take it afforded us a unique opportunity to make some fond memories as a family. I confess we don’t do this enough. I am thankful, though, that we could do it this time – especially now as we prepare for another three months of continuous ministry service.
Thanks to a great time of rest and relaxation in the Waterberg Bush!