“Thanks” in Zulu is Ngiyabonga

We landed in Africa 11 days ago.  Since that day an incredible whirlwind has taken place.  Breathing new smells, searching for a car and home, meeting new people, eating new food, learning Zulu words, driving stick-shift on the other side of the road, standing in lines at Home Affairs, falling in love with the believers at Grace Toti and nearby Zulu valleys, and getting lost looking at the Indian Ocean all combine to hurl us through this whirlwind of adjustment to our new normal.

Standing in lines at Home AffairsI love it.  I know that is God’s grace.  People are praying for us and we feel it.  Thank you if you are one of them. 🙂 I am surprised at how much I love it here.  The years we spent up in Johannesburg are coming in handy as there are familiar things mixed in with the new.  So th(i)nkful!

Bonga is the root word for thanks.  To say I say thanks, you add in a prefix, “ngiyabonga.” Also if you say we say thanks, you add a different prefix, “siyabonga.” While standing in line at Home Affairs, I met a woman whose name was Nokubonga (mother of thanks).  Now that’s a name and a half. 🙂

Thankfulness is Universal and Uplifting

To be thankful and to express that thankfulness is appropriate all over the world.  It is inspiring to see how expressed gratitude brings smiles to people’s faces whatever cultural background they are from.

God created us to give glory to Him.  There are many ways in which we bring glory to God: through the design of our being – physical and spiritual; through reflecting His image in our actions; and through our words and actions. When we are choosing to think thanks about every circumstance in our lives and expressing that thanks orally or in a written form, we bring glory to God.

Being th(i)nkful isn’t easy all the time.  In these last two weeks there have been times where I have been pressed down with a terrible headache and struggled with tightness in my lungs.  But even through tears, choosing to think thanks and praying hard with thanksgiving (Phil.4:6), gives me a supernatural peace that comes from Him, an inner joy that no one can take away.

Being th(i)nkful is uplifting!


My Th(i)nkful List.  What Is Yours?

  • Seeing and hearing the Indian Ocean
  • Monkeys are very visible
  • My husband is so kind and understanding
  • IsiZulu is a pretty cool language
  • People praying for us
  • My brother Erik helped me figure out a way to talk to my Dad and we got to pray together
  • Dr.Mandy helping me with a nebulizer for a breathing treatment
  • Co-workers that love the Lord and love to help out newbies
  • The Gospel works in every culture
  • Hearing Zulu women sing when they work
  • Nick and Julia sending a video of their family singing the Psalm 73:28 chorus I came up with before we left
  • All our kids are on one WhatsApp chat group
  • Pastor Des and Sharon’s warm welcome and strong vision for the future

Ok, the challenge is on.  What is your th(i)nkful list?

“O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon His name: make known His deeds among the people.” Psalm 105:1


8 thoughts on “Ngiyabonga

  1. 1. Cooler “fallish” weather today.
    2. God’s answered prayer this morning that the 911 paramedics were able to get an IV into dad and get his blood sugar up enough he didn’t have to go to the hospital.
    3. I hear my husband in his office, working from home at his new job.
    4. God’s Word brings joy, peace, comfort and hope!
    5. A playful orange kitty cat that makes me laugh at his antics.
    6. My clothes are looser on me 😁.
    7. My son is at the diningroom table doing school work – typing his own paper.
    8. I got to talk to both my sisters this morning – and my mommy.
    9. Knees that are not painful for the first time in years.
    10. The ability to uphold anyone in prayer at any time!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thankful that the Lord has opened the door for an after school Bible club at a local elementary school…starting TODAY!! What an awesome privilege and responsibility! Please pray as our church team shares God’s love with kids which will reach into homes and school staff!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 1. My son is finding his footing at work in an Austrian high school (I miss him!)
    2. My daughter is making great progress towards a new (happier) job.
    3. Karin was able to get a breathing treatment from Dr. Mandy (now I feel better).
    4. My cousin & her young family were not home when the fire started. Getting back will be difficult, but their faith & community will support them.

    Liked by 1 person

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