Tuesday, July 29, 2014

An afternoon in Masi...

I am currently sitting on the front porch of the beach cottage my family rented for the week, listening to the waves, and sipping a cup of coffee.  Such a perfect place to process and think about my previous 10 day adventure to South Africa.  What I wish is that I could have all of you over to sip coffee with me and share the days of my trip to South Africa.  And for those of you close to me, I would love to do that, so get in touch with me!  :)  But for now, I will do my best to capture the moments here on the blog, I know that I will miss many things, and might not be able to paint the clearest of pictures, but I am going to do my best to highlight some of the amazing, hard, painful, joyful times of this trip.  I am so glad you are taking this little adventure with me (which basically means mom and a few other friends who actually read this blog :)) .

We arrived in South Africa Tuesday night late, and Wednesday morning was spent catching up on the rest that did not happen in my compact airplane seat the 30 hours prior.  Wednesday afternoon, we visited Pollsmoor Prison for the first time, and I will share more about that later.  Our visit led us to the hospital/clinic on the property and was very eye opening.   Wednesday evening we shared dinner with the Mayotte's, the missionaries we were serving with and I very much enjoyed sharing and getting to know them.   One of the other purposes of our trip was to receive some training through the church that Steve and Daria are a part of.  We had 3 evenings of training and they were amazing!  This training was wonderful and stretched me in lots of ways.  One area of my spiritual life I have always struggled with is really listening and being obedient to the Holy Spirit, and the training we received certainly addressed that.  One of my favorite things our trainer Alison shared is this,  obedience is more important than knowledge.  More on that later!  :)

Thursday came and we were excited about a day to worship and visit Masi a township in Cape Town. And I had no idea how a visit to this place would affect me!

Here is a little background knowledge about the township, just to give you some perspective.  The township is a Xhosa community and was created during Apartheid.  Apparently it was originally known as Site 5, but later the residents renamed the area Masiphumelele, which means "We Will Succeed".  Around 400-500 people settled the here but as Apartheid unraveled the number of residents began to grow.  At this time, the population of the township is around 38,000 people.  The houses in the township are made from various materials, cardboard, metal sheeting, etc.  Most have dirt floors and no bathroom.  There is a water spout where the families must go to fetch water for cooking, cleaning, bathing etc.  There is a school on the premise, but it is overcrowded and even though it is a public school, there is a fee for students to attend.

When we drove into Masi it was overwhelming.  It was easy to feel down and depressed, to feel such a heavy feeling of despair.  And then we met Edward.  Edward is a friend of Steve's who lives in Masi.  We pulled up to a shack and standing there greeting us with the most amazing smile was Edward.  He was kind, joyful and so excited to welcome us to his home.  We walked behind some homes and made our way to his house.  And that is exactly what he called it, his house.  We entered his one room home and he immediately invited us to sit on his bed and pulled up every available item he could for us to sit and be comfortable.  He told us that he wanted us to come with him next door to his friends house that had more room to do bible study with them.  He had gone over to wake his friends up so that we could all open the word and share how the Lord was speaking to our lives and hearts.  Next door we met Robert and Luke and Joseph.  Again with the same joy and hospitality they welcomed us into their home and shared the best of what they had to offer.  We opened the word together and shared from our hearts.  At that moment, any division that might have been there due to race, background, socio-economic status was erased.  We were brothers and sisters in Christ.  As I looked around the room, I didn't see the nicest furniture, the most up to date clothes, food falling off the shelves.  But what I did see was a true picture of the body of Christ, I heard thankfulness for time with new brothers and sisters, I heard gratitude for how God had provided, I heard sounds of hope.

Meet my new brothers in Christ!
My heart was so full after this impromptu bible study with my new friends.  I love to welcome people into my home just like Edward and the other did for us.  But sadly my opening of my home comes with conditions; my house must be clean, the perfect food must be served, the napkins must match the plates.  How many times do I complain because things are not just so?  And these men taught me that being together in fellowship is about so much more than the just right snacks or the cleanest floor.  It is about being in real community with people, about sharing what is going on in your lives.  It isn't about keeping people out because things are a little messy but instead welcoming them into our mess (figuratively and literally).  This is what living life together really looks like. And boy do I have some work to do!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Back in the Saddle...

Well friends, my super long break from the blog was not intended, but I am back and ready to be in the habit of blogging again.  I could throw out a million excuses about why I ran away from blogging for a while.  Here are just a few:  my National Boards had to be renewed and turned into much more of a project than I intended, school year was coming to a close and was CRAZY, summer started and I have literally been home for maybe a week.  Oh yeah, and I went to South Africa for 10 days.

It is hard to figure out where to even start with catching up on the blog, I want to continue the book study of Made to Crave (sorry for leaving you hanging).  I want to share what has been going on in my heart and life.  I want to share tons of pictures and stories.  But it makes the most sense to start with what is most recent in my life.  My trip to South Africa.

I have been blessed to be able to spend the next week with my family at the beach to relax which will allow me some great time to begin to process all that God did with our trip to Cape Town, South Africa.  So over the next few days, my goal is to share with you the many memories, stories and pictures from my amazing trip to South Africa!

For those of you who know me well, you know that South Africa holds a very special place in my heart.  One of my very best friends, Beth, lived there for several years and I had the honor of going for two summers to volunteer in the children's home where she worked.  From the moment I stepped foot in the country, South Africa felt like home.  During my two previous trips there, I fell in love with the culture, the people, the beauty, so when the opportunity came up to serve in Cape Town this summer, I was quick to say yes.  The Lord provided in such amazing ways to allow for this trip from finances, to the team of people, to the individuals we met along the way, it was clear that the Lord intended for me to make this journey this summer!

So, on July 14th I boarded a plane, well several planes and traveled to Cape Town, South Africa!

After about a million 30 hours of travel, one stop in Senegal, one missed flight and no sleep, we arrived in Cape Town around 11:00 pm on July 15th.  We were greeted at the airport by Steve, the missionary we were serving with, and he took us to our cottage where we would be staying!  After a great night of sleep, we were ready to head to our first day of ministry!  Can't wait to share with you about our time in the township, Masi and how a bible study in a shack taught me more than I could ever imagine!

One of the great joys about going back to South Africa is that I have a few connections there.  So it was a great joy to catch up with my friend, Nicole who was on holiday in Cape Town and hear about her ministry and to see my friend, Sarah who was on the World Race who just happened to be in Cape Town as well!  God is in the details my friends!

My prayer for the entire trip was that God would just show up big and bigger than I had seen or imagined and He sure did!  I prayed this verse over and over and God was faithful.  So excited to share more with you all tomorrow!  Be blessed!

Blogging tips