Tuesday, November 11
Spotlight on Mission
Roxanne Casadonte shared, “The trip to South Africa with 13 other ladies from the New England Presbytery was a revelation. I can honestly say that I feel this trip expanded me spiritually, culturally and emotionally. As Janet and I mentioned in our presentation prior to going – we basically didn’t know what to expect. We knew we would be moving around to different groups, we knew we would be hearing about life in South Africa and that we would probably be pretty active…..that was just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t think we stopped moving from the minute we boarded the plane for Johannesburg until we arrived home 20 days later after 24+ hour journey.
Our brothers and sisters in Presbyterian churches in South Africa treated us like long lost family members returning home. Our first greeting by a Pastor at St. George was “Welcome, you are home”. This celebration of “home” included meals, singing, dancing and demonstrations of love in focusing on our comfort, our happiness, and making us feel welcome. There is nothing “frozen” about the chosen in South Africa. The warmth of their love and worship of God would melt a glacier.
I think the most memorable experience for me was the “naming ceremony” that I experienced at St. Phillips with our friend Pastor Sicelo Sam and congregation. Over 50 people came dressed in Xhosa ceremonial outfits (including face paint and beautiful hats). I was surrounded by people dancing and singing and celebrating my joining them as a “sister” in their church. I was placed on a mat and elders from the church came and shared their wisdom. First – Always respect your elders. Listen to them, they have vast experience and knowledge. Second – When you come into the family circle, don’t work at separating the family to find your place, join in and become part of the family and be “united”. My traditional Xhosa name given is “much loved”. And I will feel that love for the rest of my life. ~ Roxanne Casadonte