I really felt it on my heart to share with you the words of a song that I wrote the other day. It pretty much describe where I'm at:
ÂÂ ÂÂ We started Peru off in Iquitos. This is a town in the middle of the Amazon! How did we get there? Well there are no roads to Iquitos only rivers to Iquitos. So your options are boat or plane. We opted to go for a 3 day upriver boat trip from Leticia Colombia.ÂÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â This boat trip was so special! We slept in hammocks had no team activities, the boat cooked for us and sailed us up stream for 3 glorious days. We had our meals served to us in our hammocks! We were told before hand that the food portions are little and taste terrible, well the source of that information clearly had not been living on a 1$ per day food budget. We were pleasantly surprised by chicken everyday.. meat peopleâ¦ meatâ¦ what were they complaining about? We hadnât seen meat since the parents visit in Panama!! The source of this information also told us about how he just washed his spoon in the water provided by the boat and was horribly sick for 3 days. He said donât shower, take enough water and truth be told, I was even afraid to look at the water at first. The first dayI did not dare to take a shower but then I realised, after a huge plate of chicken and rice that I couldnât finish, that this guy was probably exaggerating about the water too. At this point I wasnât too worried and jumped into the shower with all my clothes to cool off what a great decision which was repeated at least once a day after that!Â Â Â Â Â I was actually sick on the boat with the unfriendly Chikungunya fever but made a full recovery in only 3 days! Thank you Jesus!! We watched how people from tiny villages along the river came alongside and on the boat to sell snacks etc. I think the most impressive was how people put tons and tons of fish on the boat. They made cooler boxes out of old fridges and then packed in their catch! It was a process to smash the ice and then transfer the fish, sometimes one by one. At other stops the men put 3 or 4 huge bunches of Plantains (similar to Bananas) on their shoulders and load them up. When we adventured down the the loading deck to try our hand at fishing we found a huge variety of different goods, bananas, chickens (possibly the dinners we have been having?), a pig, oranges and tons of fish!ÂÂ We really did not want to get off the boat but in hindsight because we had no idea what was waiting for us! A town with hardly any cars but thousands of motorbikes, motor taxis and buses without windows. A church who has a heart for unity in the body of Christ, who sends missionaries into the amazon villages, a church full of youth beaming with energy and dance, this church soon became our family! Someone from the church owns a hotel and blessed us with accommodation for the week! The pastor was so excited about us and what we are doing which was an encouragement that came at just the right time. I clearly remember being in a motor taxi on the first day we were there, dodging potholes, looking out over the amazon and feeling what a privilege! I think only in my wildest dreams I dreamt that I would do this and here I am for the second time! In all of this I canât help but feel loved by God! I am only here by His grace, love and kindness.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â What I thought would be just a short week waiting for our flight for Lima became one of the highlights of the trip! The Church was so open, gave us opportunities to share about our journey and the awesome God we serve! It is amazing to see how Holy Spirit spoke through each person and how impacted the people were by our time there! Four of the church members are taking English classes now, keen to do Global Challenge and in the mean time encouraged to go all out with God. We saw Johannes get baptized by his best friend/ almost brother/ next door neighbour/ DAVID who first motivated him to seek Jesus in a deeper way. His brother, Andy was visiting us at that time and it could not have been more special, it was on Spring day in the Amazon river with half of the youth from the church with us, the pastor and his wife. A day to remember! We ate braaied crocodile and braaied caterpillar to top it all off! Thank you Lord for showing us more of your heart and nature to us, for working through us and being with us every step of the way.ÂÂ ÂÂ
The first time I saw this movie I thought it was ridiculous. Who would merely dream of adventure instead of living it? And why is the possibility of unemployment the motivation to get out of one's comfort zone? The second time I watched the movie, I re-examined my own life. I always considered myself adventurous: in eating habits, hobbies and always saying yes to silly scenarios. I have traveled the world and done some pretty cool things. But it is only now, while on a shaky bus through the mountains of Nepal on the way to a remote village that I see my life clearly. Even my adventures were set in comfort. I always covered all the possibilities of danger and ensured that I knew what would happen next. I also ensured that there would be a nice warm bed and tasty food to return to. Looking back on this year and all the times I cringed at not knowing what was going to happen next or even where my next meal or mattress would be, I can say with confidence that comfort steels. It steels from life, experiences and relationships. Jesus called us to a life in abundance, a life of overflowing joy and adventure, a life worth writing about. Within creation He has left little clues of His love for us (blossoming flowers) or His peace (rivers) or His grandeur (towering mountain tops). We are all invited to find these hidden treasures and by that get to know the Creator in a new way. There were multiple times this year where I found myself praying 'God, has my time come? Am I going to die today?' And every time He laughed and simply said 'no, not quite yet'. At these words I relaxed and would enjoy the moment. Suddenly my worries of safety dissipate and I find myself enjoying the dodge lift in Turkey, or the crowds in Bangkok, or the very narrow gravel mountain pass our bus is currently shaking through. Jesus lead an adventurous life and He is calling us to do the same. So put off the TV and the wifi, and put down the phone. Instead say yes to that hike or that play or that tennis game even if you hadn't played in years. Start saying yes to life and make memories instead of merely dreaming about them. Instead of remembering the adventure I would like to live it!
There are few things more enjoyable than getting to a bus stop in a new city, after many hours of travelling, and being greeted by a familiar friendly face... And so our stay in Yogyakarta started with our global friend, Annami, and her posy of scooters fetching us one by one from the bus station.
Davis, aka The Ambassador greeted us with his white smile and a dashing white suit on Sunday morning. He was ready for church. Marié and I ran some last errands, I all the while thinking how the heck is this guy going to keep his white suite white. Why would he even bother with one? It won't stay white, I could guarantee him that. Everything is dusty in Busia, Uganda. Even the tar road has a thick layer of dust making it unrecognizable – and we were far away from the tar road anyway.
I don't really know how to start or how to write this blog. How does one explain 6 countries done living by faith for one month just a few sentences... I'll try my best to just give you a glimpse of my experiences of our time in central America. It's been a complete faith journey the whole time. Have you ever wondered how life would be like if you put your trust 100% in God? Well... He might just ask you to pioneer Mexico and do your Luke 10 from Cancun, Mexico to Guatemala for 10days. But that 10days was not enough to establish pure faith. So God asked us to do 5 countries in 6days. We all arrived safely in Costa Rica on the 6th day with a extra bit of faith in our pockets. I just simply cannot put it into words, I highly recommend you just try it yourself So here's a few photos for inspiration:
Lets travel back in time and go to Cuba. My mind was blown when we got off at the airport in Havana after a 13h flight from Russia. The streets were filled with very old cars from way back. With a killing heat, no toilet paper and no english speaking people we started our time in Cuba.I thought we were going to Cuba to build, work in gardens and to serve the people there. Few did I know about what was waiting for me. First of all the pizza's is like R5 and the ice creams R0,50... Crazy! After a 15h truck drive from Havana to Santiago we arrived at the church where we stayed for 3weeks (that is super long for us). Through all the physical work and eating ice cream we had amazing connecting times with some locals from the church. We went to be a blessing for them and they have blessed us back more than I could ever imagine. I don't know how people who have so little can give soooooo much? Honestly, it can definitely be through God only. Thank you Cuba for your hospitality and lots of adventures. Thank You God for revealing more of Yourself to me and more of Your amazing love. Next up-> pioneering Mexico. Miracles awaits.
We have joy and peace because we know there is a reason and a good ending. The ending is already written down.. That there is no ending. Of this small life, yes, but of my soul no.
Israel oh Israel, you were such a interesting country. We arrived here not knowing where we are going, but God took me on one incredible journey. I was in for a big surprise when I thought that Israel was just a boring country full of people stuck in history. In our first week I hit rockbottom, we had some really tough times and I started to miss home a lot. But I learned that it's only when you hit rockbottom that you realize that God is the rock. Luckily we all made it through that first week, and trust me I know we will be able to handle everything this year. After this God just started to bless our team so much. Like when we were so tried and hungry He would just bless us with grapefruit and bananas on the ground. Wow, how I learned to appreciate everything that I have so freely at home. Thank You Jesus. I'm not going into the details about the rest of our time in Israel because it will take forever. We saw a wide spectrum of all the different areas there is to see in Israel. It is so mind blowing to be in a nice city that's green and then like an hour's drive further you're in the middle of a dry desert. From walking the Gospel trail, to eating way to much unlimited chocolate in Bethlehem, to healthy food and a amazing family in Tel Aviv, to camping in the desert, to floating on the dead sea, to snorkeling in the red sea and to living in a prayer house, God took me from being at the bottom to the top with Him. And through this crazy journey God provided so much and He just loves to bless His children. Thank you Israel for the interesting time you gave us. Russia here we come!
To get from Marrakech to Fes we had to take a long bus ride. The plan was to take the bus, arrive at the bus station in Fes, get connected to the Internet and let Mustafa from the hostel know we've arrived as arranged.
i'ts being such an amazing time of rest with friends and family (the south african one) hahahh. Being surrounded by the love of people just make me feel more rea for what's coming. Tomorrow we gonna fly to Jordan, to have a time of serving and loving people. For me it's everything so crazy, I never imagine myself going to countries like Jordan or CHINA!!! But all this just makes me remember Psalm 2 - 8. "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. ". Our Lord is so faithful! He really makes you be still in hard moments and gide you on every decision! For the Glory of HIS NAME!!!
wow!! I'm so stoked these past 42 days have been something else. Learning more about myself, God, the people around me and how situations can effect you when you beyond tired. I've really been blessed to be here with all these amazing people. From surviving in the freezing cold nights at our makeshift campsite with a sheltt that didn't even work and our fire being to far away from everything, all the "dear diary" entries made it just all the more funny. My survivor team was the orange team and already in 5days we had made a bond that wasn't broken. I learnt team work is very important and you can't be a one man team otherwise you will get wrecke. Then we got back to jbay and had like an afternoon to chill and we thought the hard stuff was done but nope this week we have to build a lovely road for the school of jbay GLA. That's was definitely a huge task but we all found what we where good at and worked together to make an awesome road. Then we had a chance to build relationships with the children of GLA at their camp over the weekend. We really had a fantastic time there laughing and pball the games. As soon as we got back from the camp we jumped Into the car and headed off to the Transkei to help at Canzibe. We built a fence and helped the orphans and the underprivileged children we played and danced and did lessons with skits for them they really made my heart break, they have so little but their smiles are bigger than anything I e ever seen. We also got an amazing chance to go to the hole in the wall at coffee bay. the last day at the transkei we where told that we are going to do a Luke ten back to jbay in small teams haha wow that was something out of this world my experiences in just those two days of how faith and listening can make a huge difference in The way we live and see things and experience them. Then we chilled back home at jbay for a week while the other teams did their stuff in capetown so I was so happy to finally have a bed and warm shower and got to Sleep late. The next week was lessons from Norm Wakefield, oom Gerrie and Uncle Joe and woah that stuff was mind-blowing my whole look on life has like been changed. The last couple of days has been very special spending the last bit of time we have with the other teams before we all go off. I'm just so overwhelmed at the fact that my new family is so awesome.
6 Weeks ago I arrived at training as a volunteer. Ready to serve the students with everything I have. Little did I know I would be climbing on a plane in a few weeks leading the Hidden world 2016 team for 11 months through more than 16 countries in the middle east, central and south america on the transforming adventure of a life time.
6 weeks ago, if people asked me, why are you doing Global Challenge. My answer would have typically been something in the line of: "I am determined to find God and revelation" or "I want to take my relationship with God deeper and gain wisdom and favor" or even "I want to change the world". Those are typically seen as a pretty honorable answers to the question.
Wait! What? This is not about me?
Adventure is knocking at my door and it is almost time to respond by flinging this little door of mine wide open. Reflecting back on the past six weeks of training I am humbled by the grace of God and His undeniable faithfulness. What a journey it has been thus far, an adventure in itself. So far I have enjoyed every moment with my team, volunteers and leaders (even the less favorable ones like being out in the elements or walking barefoot for several hours).
New year...new beginnings
So this is the last country of our journey. In a sense the last stretch home. We have experienced a lot up until now and it is with mixed emotions we approach the finish line. Some of us are sad that our travels are coming to an end mixed with excitement of seeing our homeland again. Some of us are excited at the prospect of wearing new outfits. And then there are those who are excited about the full farmhouse breakfast awaiting us in Johannesburg...eggs sunny side up, no toast, lots of bacon, and a good cup of coffee.
So this is the account of our Luke10 faith journey. This story starts with two guys setting out on an adventure. Jesus sent out his disciples two by two into towns to prepare the way for the kingdom. We prayed and felt God said we should travel through Argentina to the city of Asuncion in Paraguay. I asked God to show me His love on this Luke 10...He did.
I'm being reinvented. Trying new things. Beliefs are broken. New ones are being formed. It's not an easy process. The values Jesus taught are treasures. They bring life. They bring meaning to a world in need. They make our world a better place. The values will change humanity and the way we are living. Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Love your neighbor. Take care of the widows. Honor your parents. Don't kill someone. Don't take stuff that don't belong to you. Treat others the way you want to be treated. And then in the end...do this all out of love. Because we can not do this without Jesus. We can not boast in any of our endeavors because it is his values we are living out. And we can not be proud of ourselves for bringing these values to society because we didn't think of them. Jesus did. We can not take any credit. And living these values have nothing to do with you getting a ticket into heaven. That's free. So the only reason to live these values is to show God's love to people. And the values show the love. Not you. You are only doing them. We have no grounds to think we are the business. It's all Jesus. Because if you think about it you would rather stay at home than go give out food. But once you start doing this you will start to see that there is a world in need. That there are people out there hungry for hope. People thirsting for more than a glass of purified water. Your heart will grow to love people and their stories. It is in doing that we start loving. And then we will realize even more that Jesus is the only guy who can bring hope in the final outcome. That he is the one who restores. We can just live the value and not worry about our flaws because Jesus is perfect. And we should remember that Jesus is not a product that we try to sell to people. These values create platforms on which we can share Jesus with people without using words. Our faith is a faith of action. Each one of us should just figure out where we are needed to create platforms for Jesus to show His glory. We set up sort of a stage and wait to see what Jesus will do. It's in the waiting and anticipating that he arrives and blows us away. These values are confrontational. They tend to lead us into dark areas of urban mazes or to desolate savannas or thick jungles. They show us that we are not as great as we think we are and that Jesus is the coolest person who ever lived and is still living. And all these values and actions and platforms should all have the foundation of love. A selfless attitude. And this is where Jesus really comes in. Helping us to be selfless. We forgive because we are forgiven. We love because we are loved. We give because we receive freely. We value because He values. It is in this that we change our hearts towards those around us. To think of them more than of ourselves. To see that Jesus loves everyone. Everyone. He loves everyone. He values each and every person. Every person. That's a lot of people. We need to enter society with humility. Admit that we need help. And that we are here to help. And that Jesus is the only one who can help through us. Through anyone. Through all of us. We are in this together. We need each other because we need Jesus. All of us. Through us
As I am writing this We are on a shuttle on our way to Bonfim which is on the border of Brazil and Guyana. We just got of the boat a few days ago and starting traveling towards Guyana.This is where we leave Brazil and all its diversity. As I look out the window it has the feel of deep Africa. Dry and open. A big contrast to the Amazon we experienced a week ago. That goes for the cities in Brazil as well. Diverse. So many cultures and different ways of doing things. It is a ever changing landscape which sort of matches what is going on on the inside. As I travel I find myself changing. The agents of change being the local people, landscapes, decisions, and team life to name but a few. I find myself thinking of things I love and miss back home like the certainty of having a place where I belong. A place that I call home. So often we just want to get away from everything and soon realize that home is where the heart is. This is what I'm staring in the face. My heart. I am reminded of people who love me, adventures a had with friends, a family...and this makes me realize how much I take for granted. We become so used to our surroundings that we forget to thank God for what we have. Even when we were on the Amazon River I got use to my surroundings after a while and had to remind myself of where I am and that I just saw pink dolphins surfacing for air next to the boat. Brazil made me rediscover my heart. And this is what I'm grateful for.
Our journey started in the airport at Johannesburg as the last of us said their final goodbyes to family and friends. The feelings racing through our hearts were of a variety—anxious for the unknown and excited for what is to come as we follow in obedience of God’s calling for our lives.
So, I woke up in my own bed this morning after 7 weeks of sleeping in unfamiliar places with people I hardly know. Now I can say that I have 35 new homes built in my heart. On Thursday night we were commisioned, and man, what a long journey to FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!