STATUS- Strengthened , Tested, Amusing, Trustworthy, Unique and Social- these are some of the words we feel describes Northbound 2014... Since our last check in, we have throughly enjoyed our time in Pamukkale and have recently, as in yesterday arrived here in Kusadasi, where we will be spending the next six days.
The preaching list... Definition: “A sequenced list with names of the Hidden World 2014 team predicting when one would prepare and present a message to a church, school, assembly or gathering.” A.K.A – THE LIST! I knew my time of preaching will soon be here. And I looked forward to it! The previous time when it was almost my turn, the Lord threw a surprise at my front door. In Guyana, which already feels like it was ages ago, our team split into our small teams to visit two different churches on one sunny Sunday morning. Tiaan gave us the names of the pastor and church that we will be attending. He told us that they don´t expect us to preach, we will only visit them. The morning before we went to church, I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful and powerful Demarara river just down the road from the church, with tea and condensed milk for some quiet time with God. For some reason, I went through the theme and some ideas of my preach that I prepared while we had training in South Africa. Now I know it wasn´t by accident, but by the guidance of the Holy Spirit! We left with someone from the church that came to pick us up. When we arrived at the church, the name of the church nor the name of the pastor was anything like what Tiaan told me... We must have switched churches with the other team. By chance? I din´t think so...! The worship started and they worshiped like only the Guyanese can worship! After about an hour the pastor took the microphone. She welcomed us warmly: ¨Welcome to the visitors from South Africa! In a moment they will minister to us!¨ WHAT?? Yes, the Lord has prepared me for this moment in some way. And there I stood, ready to preach the Gospel. With Spirit given peace and excitement I could stand there and enjoy every moment of bringing the great news of the Gospel to the people of the Grapevine Full Gospel church!
I know you're probably thinking that this is such a strange heading for a blog, well yes it is but it was a word i got for Nepal and on top of that it gets me super excited to write about ;)
Fadwa*. Our first visit was two weeks ago to a highly pregnant Fadwa. Today we hold a little Maria in our hands. Perfectly formed. The little hands are a picture of perfection. Small knuckles, small nails. She clasps my finger, barely fitting her fingers around it. We are sitting on UN mats - a grim reminder of the brokenness and realness of their situation. But for a moment, the hurt and the ugliness of humanity fades in the glory of new life. In the beauty of creation. And Fadwa is a worthy mother, her circumstances forgotten. She walks with her head high and smiles quietly content when she holds Maria. A Syrian refugee yes. But also a mother. Because life goes on.
At first glance you won't think that Kathmandu has so much locked up in itself. It's a poor city with many rich people.Our time in Nepal was spectacular! Oh, turquoise team! During training we could see that Jesus placed us all in this particular mini team for a reason. We just had to wait and see when and why.. Let me introduce you to the turquoise team, just in case you need to hear from us again :) Drumroll... Madelein, Chanelle, Annique, Anseri, Quinton and Coetzee. When I started off thinking about writing our piece for the small team I never thought that I will be able to cram two incredible weeks into one blog, never the less one word. As i was thinking of our many different experiences - just awe-struck, Jesus deposited the word Revival. Revival - it means new life. It is not n new life of self-effort or self-initiated activity. It is not man's life, but God's life, the life of Jesus filling us and flowing through us. This is exactly what God came to do in Nepal. Our Teacher taught US. His own possessions. WeHadFUN. As we discovered words for our time in Nepal the word fun came up. We laughed and cried. We were overwhelmed most of the time, actually.. the only times that we weren't feeling this way was when we were fast asleep. We were on a journey to discover the Body. We were constantly reminded that we all have Jesus in common. We have The Holy Spirit living inside of us.. This makes all else irrelevant. Whether we are from different nations or backgrounds, its not applicable to those who are in Christ. How Lovely, how beautiful! God established UNITY. We are now so much more aware of the Holy Spirit. We were called into the Deeper with Jesus and ever since we have this hunger inside of us - a burning flame that cannot be extinguished. God provided in the small things. Just to see how He cares so much about the smaller things, the things that might seem insignificant. God is so involved in the detail. He is always faithful in providing at the right time. The best time for us to be totally amazed and speechless. There is so much that happened in the Spirit. There was an out pour of our hearts in to the community, all because of Jesus. What an amazing country! You can read more on our experiences on our personal blogs.
From that very first moment we set foot on the small airport in Katmandu I knew that Nepal is going to be a wonderful journey and that the Lord has BIG things planned for us !
We spent our first two days in the big city of Istanbul (European side) experiencing what turkey had to offer, seeing sites like Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. After our brief stay, we were on our way to the seaside town of Kusadasi, just 15km away from Ephesus, where one of the very first churches was. There our work started and we ended up fixing and painting a lot of stuff and everyone there just kept on pouring their love out on us just as we did with them. We were blessed by our contacts with a day at Ephesus (ruins) and we decided to bless them back with a big breakfast, which worked out awesome ! Whilst camping in the town, we had an awesome time just living among the people, seeing how they do life. We made friends and we gained family. Saying goodbye, felt like leaving family behind. We left Kusadasi after 16 days of awesomeness ! We spent another 2 days in the Asian side of istanbul at a local church. Now we leave for Israel and new challenges await us there ... looking forward to all the fun !!!
Our time in Cuba was almost like a time warp going back to the early 1950’s, vintage cars, horse carriages, music on every comer, no internet and street vendors everywhere. What an experience and privilege to have had a month in Cuba. We faced the language barrier with body gestures and our Spanish booklets. Embraced every moment and laughed a lot with those first country giggles when you still in shock that you’ve left South Africa.
Zapote is the name used for a delicious fruit in the area where Santiago is found in Cuba. The outside looks like a kiwi fruit without the fuzz, the inside is pinkish orange, has a big black pip and the flesh is almost like that of an avocado. The taste is reminiscent of a combination of mango, grapefruit, papaya and avocado but not quite. It has elements I can sort of reference but unlike anything I've ever had before and that for me was Cuba.The streets, vibrant with life, people everywhere, horse carriages, scooters, public transportation trucks, vintage cars, castle like buildings and historical parks and museums, the contrasting modern fashion sense and street musicians some with vintage instruments the like of which I've only seen in books and absence of common fast food franchises like KFC and McDonald's.The people so friendly and warm, I'd never seen such diversity in physical appearance and yet all Cuban and understanding one another in Spanish.I was amazed by the stark contrast to where I'd grown up. Some of the things we consider a part of normal day to day living are luxuries and vice versa! The discovery of toilet paper at a store in Santiago was a cause for celebration and whilst the cheapest ice cream is not even 2 rand/pula, you find amazing ice cream for about 45 thebe/cents on almost every street. Some things were even harder to comprehend and would cause great conflict in other parts of the world, but Cuban people lead a more fulfilling life than most.Our hosts humbled me continuously with their generosity, their constant availability in helping us, their open invitation into their homes, their very lives without hesitation and above all the love they showed. All this despite the language barrier most of the time. I truly experienced 1Peter 4:8-9 and John 13:34-35 in a new light through the love of God in them. In him we are truly different members, part of one body irrespective of all differences. Having had opportunity as a team to work with them and serve them in what seemed like too few ways I'm grateful for God's orchestration of our first country experience. For me they set an example and I hope and pray that we, the Hidden World team of 2014, travelling to all the places we are visiting may be a reflection of Christ's love in the same manner. Hints of familiarity but quite unlike anything ever beheld.
After a whirlwind 7 weeks of training, that felt somehow longer than that considering all encompassed in them. I had laughed, cried, been excited, angry, confused, exhausted refreshed, very uncomfortable and so much more. But you see, I'd chosen this ( at least I think so) and when I came to Jeffrey's Bay, South Africa I knew training would be challenging but quite necessary. Well, I didn't foresee my irritation at having to do some athletic exercises on Survivor, being challenged on how I prefer to put God in a box I can wrap my head around when in actual fact he is way beyond that, the value of integrity always, even in seemingly small things. Anxiety about kiddies ministry and dealing with teens and the unexpected excitement over the response of one introvert child and being ok with the teenagers unresponsiveness at times. The joys of working together, challenges of language barriers, hiccups of planning meals, unpredictable nature of working on building sites, greater awareness of the spiritual, facing beliefs about myself and others with regards to the prophetic. The ever increasing appreciation of people in their diversity, forming and building relationships and the beauty and wonder over and over of the liberating effect of God's love and grace ... I didn't think I was 100% ready but I had the best preparation program from dedicated men and women who depended on God.
Our amazing time in turkey has come to an end! But in the cold streets we all left a piece of our hearts. The Lord still run through that country, and no men will ever arise what love has once done. Revival is close again, revival has a name.
One night in AmmanWe flew to freezing cold Jordan from hot South Africa and had to get to Isreal from there. It was getting late and we knew that the border was going to close soon. So we just planned to sleep in the airport and go to the border first thing the next morning.As we arranged transport for the next day with a man he invited us to go sleep in his summerhouse for the evening. He took us to the house, got some gas to heat the house with a heater and even gave us some tea and sugar. The one girl in my team mentioned that this taught her so much about the Father's heart because He provided a warm place to sleep without us even asking for it. (We were planning to sleep in the airport remember)
We went to Jerusalem as tourists for 3days! Visiting the new and the old city!! Every expectation I had was met by 1000 times!! I love to stare at the people and to see how they live their life’s and the beautiful culture they have!! We went to most of the tourist places with the significant history! Standing on the top of Mount of Olives and getting a broad view of the old city- made me smile and just worship God because He is good and He loves people and His biggest desire is relationship with us!! I realize how small and incapable we really are, but He still chose us to be His sons and daughters first!! That is all His grace!! We can do nothing to receive it- we just need to accept the gift that our Father gives us! And entering into His rest knowing that He has everything planned perfectly!!! WOW....We met some very cool new friends from the organization called Bridges for Peace (where I was planning to go and volunteer this year)- and we had the most blessed time staying with them for one night in Jerusalem having fellowship and encouraging each other!! Just seeing their love for the people of Israel and for the ministry really encouraged me to seek God's heart more!! The deep love for the people, the culture and the land of Israel is something I can not describe in words... But running around in the place where Jesus once walked was a great experience that touched my heart and changed my way of looking at the people probably forever!! We ended our journey in Israel by camping for 3days next to the Sea of Galilee. We had the most beautiful pictures painted in front of us overlooking over the sea with the sun rising at the back and boats playing music.. We shared some fun moments by walking 8km with our VERY heavy backpacks, laughed a lot and recharged before we started our travels to Jordan! To give a summary of Israel in one word "Unbelievable"!! The land that overflows with cultures... big fruits and vegs... The best pitta bread and sweet pastries and people with a need for the Living God and His Son Jesus!! I fell in love with the people and would love to return to Israel someday soon.. Please help us pray for them and ask God for protection!We are in Jordan now for more than a month where we are serving at a church -working and helping the Syrian refugees!! This is definitely the place where God is going to teach our team about compassion and unconditional love! We are exited about the next few weeks....Thank you for praying for me and following my journey!!
I saw a young child of arround 6 years in the isle of a busy street in Agra, India she wore a white dress but the dress was soo dirty at places that it looked black, totally contaminated with dirt. There was no one close to her, to protect her from: cutting remarks, glares and advances.She was so exposed to the world and the evil people in it. Nothing seperating her from this... There is an ever present evil as the streets in India really aren't safe!It struck me so much as every child needs and deserves love as well as someone especially a dad to protect her (them). But she had NO ONE, well at least no one that I could see!