Return to Minnesota

We greet you, our family and friends, as the AIAIA delegation prepares to return to Minnesota. Our lives have been enriched by our experiences and we acknowledge our mixed emotions as we leave our South African family.

This is our thirteenth mission in twelve years. We have continued to maintain our outreach by expanding our food distribution, increasing our hospice presence, as well as providing much needed medical supplies to hospitals and clinics. AIAIA continues to identify improved education as key to improving conditions here. We are looking to commit our time and energy to focus on leadership training and skills. This expansion is a result of discussions with Reverend Xapile as well as other leaders in the South African community. We celebrate the improvements we have seen in the last twelve years and we recognize the many challenges that lie ahead, many of which will take multiple generations to improve. Ironically, during this mission trip, Matisse Xapile, the mother of Reverend Spiwo Xapile, the pastor with whom we partner here in South Africa and a well known friend to past delegations, died while staying with her daughter in Port Elizabeth. Matisse was a proud African woman who experienced firsthand the pain and struggle of apartheid. She raised a family of seven in rural South Africa. On behalf of Arm in Arm in Africa we extend our condolences to the Xapile family; we were honored to share in her life.

This will be our last blog post for this trip. It is important for this delegation to express our gratitude for the support and prayers that you have offered during our time away. In particular we would also like to express our gratitude to the community of St. Joan of Arc and for the privilege of being one of your four sustaining partnerships. Your encouragement and financial support have empowered us to make a difference in the world.
If you have journeyed with us through this blog, we invite you to share our web site and blog with your families and friends, to financially support the work of Arm in Arm in Africa. Again, we thank you for partnering with us in joining with us, arm in arm.

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In closing, a Prayer for the Decade of Nonviolence:
I bow to the sacred in all creation
May my needs be few and my living simple
May my actions bear witness to the suffering of others
May my hands never harm a living being
May my steps stay on the journey of justice
May my tongue speak for those who are poor
May my prayers rise with patient discontent
May my life's work be a passion for peace and nonviolence.