Our last stop this week is to the country of South Africa where the Underwood family landed close to three months ago. They hit the ground running and are now in the throws of language learning to be able to better minister to the Xhosa people of South Africa. I’m excited that Ashlee took some time to give us some insights into her new life on the mission field!
Q: What is your favorite thing about your new home, South Africa?
A: I would definitely say the people! In the three months that we have been here, we have already made some lifelong friends! It is so amazing to see what God is doing through the Xhosa people and I am so honored to be a part of it!
Q: What was your biggest struggle setting up your new home in South Africa?
A: Sometimes it may take a while for things to be delivered. We had to wait a few weeks for our washer/dryer and refrigerator to be delivered. It worked out great though because we have wonderful teammates that offered their washer and dryer and helped out with meals until they arrived!
Q: What does your day-to-day routine look like?
A: On a typical day, we will drop off Peyton at school and head to language school. We attend language school for four hours a day Monday through Friday. After language school, Stephen heads out to the townships to practice and I will run errands. When I get home, I will practice the language with my friend Bulelwa for a few hours. After practicing, depending on the day, we will go to church. In case you are wondering, we are in church about 5 times a week.
Q: How have you helped your children adjust to their new surroundings?
A: Peyton, who is 7, jumped right in with both feet! He is excelling in school and has lots of friends! He talks, almost daily, of how much he loves South Africa!
Eli, who is 3, needed a little help. He didn’t really understand, at first, that this is our new home. He would sometimes ask if we could go see Nina (my mother in law) or Papaw (my dad). I would have to explain to him that it would take 3 plane rides to go see them. He has come a long way in just 3 months! Just the other day I heard him say “I love South Africa!” and that thrilled my heart! As moms, we want to protect our children and comfort them when they are hurting. Sometimes we just need to loosen the reins a little and let them figure it out on their own.
And Neyland, who is 6 months, has only had to adjust to the time difference 😂
Q: Is there anything unavailable or difficult to find in South Africa?
A: The only thing, that I have noticed, would be flavored coffee creamer. However, Pinterest is a great tool and I have found plenty of tasty recipes!
Q: What has been your biggest adjustment?
A: Many places, like grocery stores, shopping malls, and restaurants, close pretty early (around 5 or 6pm). That was the biggest adjustment, especially when it came to setting up our house. We eventually got it all done, (pretty quickly, actually!) and are now settled into our routine. It’s a lot easier to schedule those things now!
Q: What is your favorite or most interested thing about your new culture?
A: One thing that has stood out to me the most is that the Xhosa people love to share! One day we gave a young boy a bag of amagwinya (fried bread), and he immediately took it to his ten other friends and began to split it among themselves! They are some of the most selfless people I know!
Q: What are some prayer requests you currently have?
A: Ngokuqinesekileyo luluwimi! Definitely the language! Also, please pray about more souls to be saved, churches added, and our camp coming up this December!
I pray that you have enjoyed the interviews this week and are committed to praying for these missionary wives as well as their families and ministries! And “Thank You” again to Leslie, Rebel, and Ashlee for sharing a glimpse of your life with us!