Greetings and Happy New Year to friends, family, Luther colleagues, and all who will make the online journey to Africa with us as we report our adventures!
My name is Shayla De Jong, and I am one of two co-bloggers who will provide updates while our group is in Namibia and South Africa. My fellow co-blogger, Fred Scaife, and I are extremely excited to report to you the activities and adventures that our little choir will experience.
When not on campus, I reside around Pella, Iowa. I am currently a sophomore music major at Luther, focusing on church music and pipe organ. I also am a pianist and soprano in Cathedral Choir.
Through my studies at Luther College, I have come to understand music as a sacred art. It provides a way to communicate directly or indirectly with our Creator and with one another, regardless of how far apart two humans may be. Music is a connection for those once disconnected.
When I think of music's connective power and the individuals that shape the dynamics occurring at Luther, I am inspired to ask questions. Here are some of the questions I hope to explore on our journey:
- How will our music connect the 26 members of our group with our brothers and sisters in Africa?
- What individual gifts and differences will shape our group interaction and how we will grow together in our new experiences?
- What will be the most valuable and cherished things we will learn from the natives?
- How can we apply what we have learned to our character and use it to serve at Luther College?
Just as each of these students have been transformed in some way by their experience at Luther College, my hope is that each of these students can look back on their experiences abroad and see what good it did in their lives as well as the lives of those around them.
As we fly out in the evening on January 7 from Chicago, Fred and I will keep you informed of when we arrive safely at our destinations of London, Johannesburg, and Windhoek.