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Showing posts from August, 2009

Mocha Club

So it's been a little more than a week since I've blogged. Just trying to let everything sink in and get back to my life . . . and yet I don't want to get back to the life I had before.

Found a great website called Mocha Club - the idea is that you give up two Mochas (or whatever expensive Starbucks type of drink you drink) a week and donate that money to Africa. Well, that's right up my alley except Starbucks was long ago nixed out of my budget. As I was looking around, I came across this incredible quote:
When I think of Africa, the following images immediately come to mind: Starvation. AIDS. Child soldiers. Genocide. Sex slaves. Orphans. From there, my thoughts naturally turn to how I can help, how I can make a difference. "I am needed here," I think. "They have so little, and I have so much." It's true, there are great tragedies playing out in Africa everyday. There is often a level of suffering here that is unimaginable until you have seen it…

Africa - Day Eight

And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. - Isaiah 11:6
Our morning started out with a brief review of the week. I love hearing the hearts of our teens. I pray God will do incredible things in their lives, and this will not be an event they attended but an experience that changes them forever.
On the way to the airport, we went to two different places. First, we went to a Rhino and Lion park. The majesty of God we saw there was amazing!
Seeing the lion pride up close and personal makes me see the "Lion of Judah" in a whole new light. Joey took a number of remarkable picuters. From a puire enjoyment perspective, this was one of the highlights of our week.
However, it took us two hours to get there and another two hours to get back to the Joburg area where the open air market was. Joey and I had about ten minutes to dash through the "Burma&q…

Africa - Day Seven

Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, 'Here's a good seat for you,' but say to the poor man, 'You stand there' or 'Sit on the floor by my feet,' Have you not discriminated among yourselves and becomes judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him? But you have insulted the poor. - James 2:2-6
Today was the most difficult day of all for me. We went to the Extension 23 church for the last time. We picked up the local team and went to one last school.

Joey, Thabo, Madi and I were all in a classroom together. They were little kids - Grade 1 and 2 - so we spent most of our time playing games and singing. What a heavenly experience to stand next to someone of a differ…

Africa - Day Six

And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. - Matthew 10:42
Grant (the senior youth pastor) arrived today. I'm so grateful for him and feel so comfortable around him, maybe that's because he reminds me of a cross between my dad and the youth pastor I grew up with. The kids called him "Baba" half as a joke because it's the term for grandfather or older respected man. I think he qualifies a bit more for the second.

I know the kids were glad to see him, and I know they love him but there was a bit of awkwardness to the arrival. Our group has really bonded well this week and Grant just wasn't here to be a part of it.
We worked hard at the church today. Joey and another man put up a jungle gym, a swing set, and a door for the toilet. Today, David Even helped them put up a basketball goal. The rest of us took the stuff we had brought for the orphanage to M…

Africa - Day Five

The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble; He sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake.
Great is the Lord in Zion; He is exalted over all the nations.
Let them praise your great and awesome name — He is holy.
Psalm 99:1-3

Early morning this morning - we pulled away from Camp Eden around 6:30 a.m. I think. I was in such a daze I really couldn't tell you what time it was.

We swung by the Ext. 23 church to pick the up the J-Life guys and Sifiso was on top of the jungle gym that Joey and Randy just completed yesterday, praising Jesus . . . apparently oblivious to the fact that it was the crack of dawn and about 35 degrees outside. In the face of that kind of love and devotion I wonder why mine is so small.

We returned to the schools this morning, and they were fascinating once again. The only time we could get them to be quiet today was when I shared Joey's story. I never knew he would ever get to the place that he was open enough to share about his life, let alone that i…

Africa - Day Four

For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. - I Corinthians 9:16

Today, we got up early but still managed to miss the school meeting we were supposed to attend. It wasn't really anyone in our group's fault just likely the outworking of the South African laid back attitude . . . which, by the way, is a bit difficult for my driven self.
Instead of visiting the school, we cleaned up the church grounds. I was amazed at how much progress the kids made in a really short period of time. The moved hundreds of rocks by hand, raked the ground of all the trash and debris. It looked like a different yard by the time we were done.
We visited the high school during the afternoon. Crazy experience - there weren't any teachers because the apparently went to pay their respects to the family of one of the teachers who had died. We split into small groups and divided into the classrooms. I gave Joey's testim…

Africa - Day Three

So when you give . . . pray . . . fast, do not do these things to be honored by men . . .
they have received their reward in full. - Matthew 6
Today, we spent the day again in the Extension 23 township. When we first arrived at the tent we had a sweet time of singing and fellowship that touched our hearts and I believe helped prepare us to serve.

The first place we visited today was an orphanage. I truly don't have the words to explain this place, but maybe the story of one little girl will help. When we arrived she was sleeping outside on the ground covered by a couple of blankets. Remember, the temperature is likely in the 40s.
Liz, the local J-life leader, picked her up and held her. She looked to be about 3 years old, but Liz told us she was 8 years old and has full blown AIDS. Her counts are good and she is being well taken care of at the orphanage, but her mom dropped her off because she was tired of taking care of her.
We spent the morning washing their clothes and blankets by h…

Africa - Day Two

To the weak, I became weak, to win the weak. - I Corinthians 9:22
Today we visited the Extension 23 church. It's name is the "Acts Family Church" which I misheard as the "X Family Church" all day yesterday. (I'm telling you these accents are something to get used to.)

But today, Joey was our pastor! It isn't something that either of us expected at all, but it was an incredible blessing. It was the first time he had shared his testimony in a public setting. Although he was clearly nervous, there weren't very many dry eyes in the room when he had finished.

Afterwards, we split up into teams and canvassed the neighborhood to invite people to come to the events we were having at the church during the week.

We were in what the Africans call a "township." It's a group of government constructed homes established during Apartheid. It was the white government's attempt to keep the black and "colored" (or mixed) people groups from unit…

Africa - Day One

***We did not have Internet access while we were in South Africa, so I'm going to post my journal as individual daily blogs now that I'm back. I hope it gives you an accurate picture of what this trip was like for us.***

"Anyone then who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." - James 4:17
The first 24 hours on the ground here has been a series of adjustments. When we arrived last night, we realized that the only form of "heat" that we will have are blankets and hot water bottles. (The temperature is below freezing.) Joey and I sleep in multiple layers - I even wore a stocking cap and the hood up on my hoodie. But in the end, we were warm enough and, most importantly, we slept.
Eating and drinking will be another struggle. They served us coffee when we arrived last night to warm us up. Since I don't drink coffee, I thought I would just fill a cup with hot water to warm my hands. I wasn't encouraged to see random dark-colored floatie…