Delhi. What an amazing city: Vibrant and full of enticing smells and sounds. Tasty street food in all shapes and sizes with chai tea around every corner and a great place for some souvenir shopping.
Every Luke 10 faith journey looks different. The single similarity however is the golden thread of God’s greatness that is weaved into each adventure. This greatness is often displayed in the provision, protection and extraordinary miracles God does through ordinary people.
Panama is definately one of my top countries that I wanted to re-visit after last years journey through Latin America. I didn't think I would be able to come back so quickly but wow what a privilege. I can think of many reasons to rush back to Panama; the beautiful rainforrest of Gamboa, staying right on the Panama Canal, sloths, tucans, anteaters and iguanas roaming the streets but the real reason I wanted to go back was for the people of Gamboa Union Church especially Pastor Bill. God did so much in my heart in Panama last year and so my expectation was high! Some people say it is bad to have expectations but I think even our highest expectaions of God are too small and limited! He is so much bigger than we can imagine! Yes you guessed it, my expectations were exceeded! The leaves were greener, the mangoes sweeter and the people more loving and welcoming than I remember. We did radio programs, visited the local prison, 'daily Luke 10's' trusting God for the right moment to speak to the right person, had good team discussions with our guest of honour and Panama celebrity Elsabe, we heard and were inspired by the testimonies of God's majesty, power and goodness in the lives of others. We had awesome times of devotions, worship, prayer, prayer and more prayer. Pastor Bill and Anne spent so much time with us, listening, pouring out love and encouraging us. On the last day with them I was so humbled and amazed at how they could recieve encouragement from us. How they are so greatful for every single thing that God brings along their path, if it is a security guard accepting a piece of pizza along with a tract or the miraculous healing of a team member they are equally encouraged and amazed by God. I learned this life of thanksgiving is practiced everyday and keeps your fire fueled with passion for the Lord and what He is doing. Then the best treat of all, my mom coming to visit all the way from South Africa!!! Last year while in Panama I clearly remember praying intensely for my mom, and our relationship. God is a God of details and He brought my mom all the way to Panama to show me His faithfulness and goodness. To bring my mom and I closer, to implant more of Himself in her and simply bless us both! What an awesome awesome God we serve! Panama marks the halfway point of our journey for 2016! I am truely amazed by God and what He has done. I have this strange and wonderful feeling that the best is yet to come! God is going to take us deeper, hopefully way over our heads, root us in Him and reveal himself in ways that makes me think... WOW! I am not sure if I even knew Him before. Yay Jesus!! Let's go or rather .... VAMOS!
We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place. We stay there even though we go away, and there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there. Kenya is such a place. It is truly like Narnia. There is something beautiful about Kenya that is thousands of years old. Too old to be truly captured by poems and songs. Loved by everyone, loved so very deeply. Kenya is everything real in a world of make believe. But even though I left some part of me behind, I also found a part of myself whom I thought was missing. I found her at a lookout point overlooking the breathtakingly beautiful plains of Massaailand. And I couldn't help thinking and knowing that I serve a God who makes the most beautiful things. We serve a God who loves us so much that He would come down to feel what we feel, to experience what we experience and even gave up His life to leave a part of Himself behind to always stay and be with us. This love, I have found, is not passive, it is never disengaged, it is always present and it hangs on every word we say. His love keeps promises, it keeps its word, it honors what is sacred and its vows are good. This love is not broken, it is not insecure, it is never selfish and is always pure. He is a good good father and He truly does not give His heart in pieces. He gives it unconditionally without is having to do anything to gain it. He loves us not only because but He also loves us despite. That is a love that conquers. He shows us this love not only in big things but in the small events of everyday life. He shows it in 14 hour roller coaster bus rides, cramped taxi game drives, swimming in breathtaking rivers, 24 hour campfires, hippo pool hikes, walking with the Massaai, worship sessions, packages from home, starry starry nights, footscrubbing sessions, nutella chapatis, heart key charms, rural house visits, tea cans, very fast bike rides, wind in your hair, Mika, laughter and so much more. So much love I do not have enough pockets to out it in. Kenya, you will forever be one of my most favorite places on earth. Home away from home. You showed me true humility and servanthood. Nothing I have I can call mine because it belongs to the one who knows the number of hairs on my head. Kenya showed me what family in Christ means and showed me firsthand what James meant when he encourages us to rejoice in suffering and to worship in trials. Tough times really do show us that we should always hold on to Jesus. God is good all the time. Keep holding on to Jesus even if the world around you shakes. Kenya You have taught me gratefulness, and if we are true in the small things, God will be true in the big things. Life is more enjoyable and even more beautiful when we hold on to Jesus. He knows what is good. If this is what it means to sit at the feet of Jesus then I will stay here forever. Jesus is everything. His love is everything. May God bless your nation and His people for you have blessed me with a gift that I can never lose. Staring at the beauty of our King. May peace and grace be yours forever. Asante sana Kenya! x x x
Five days, five countries… We travelled from Guatemala to Costa Rica, passing through El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. God really surprised me and it was such a joy to truly trust God and go wherever He had prepared for us. I had found myself laughing at the situations and places we were in because I really experienced the promises of God so practically. In Psalms 91 God says ‘If you say the Lord is my refuge and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent for He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.’
When I first laid my eyes on you and the rolling hills you sat upon. I thought what amazing luck I have that God had created such beautiful things and gave me the eyes to see them. I am forever changed by your existence. You are a place filled with so many stories and I feel so privileged to share some of these stories with you. I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can't read anything, you have only the most rudimental sense of how things work. You can't even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses. These interesting guesses were what brought our team to a lot of interesting places ranging from the far North to the ever ongoing South. You taught me the names of these cities, and I saw that each one of them tell a different story. You introduced me to people that showed me characteristics of Jesus in such a simple and beautiful way. I learnt about the importance of our dependance on God and also what it truly means when Paul writes in Philippians 4:11 "...in every situation I am to be content." I learnt that everything in life needs some sort of foundation, I came to the conclusion that Jesus must be this foundation. Just like the wise builder built his house on the rock. I learnt that rest is necessary especially when we do it in His presence. He gives answers when we listen. I learned that one smile can heal a heart that had walls so tall and painted blue, but now has a door to let people through. Ethiopia you showed me how the Father gives so much more to those He loves. We ask for one ministry point He gives us all of Ethiopia. Kindness is your specialty and somehow you grasp the importance of giving, not only things but yourselves as well. I am truly humbled by it. I will be forever grateful for these foundations you reminded me of. Thank you for showing me what love is by also showing me what it is not. I will carry it in my heart. I will carry you in my heart. YoursTill we meet again
Kosovo has been good! My mother said she was going to step into interceding for me and it is amazing how powerful prayer is! I feel like this is the most God has ever revealed of Himself to me.
So when the team traveled to Turkey and Macedonia I had to go back home because I lost my passport. Now in normal terms this should have been good? I mean food ,chocolates ,tv ,bed and sleep. Well to be honest I went through Hell, my identity was tested every day for 35 days. I tried to pray for people or do ministry, but I had no passion for it so for 35 days I questioned myself, because works without faith is dead... (James 2:14-20) So many other things piled up against me like this one. And I mean MANY, also because of everthing against me I was experiencing an emotion that does not exist in any language, you could say I was in a void with feelings all around me, but out of reach. So Danie from Global Challenge was back in Potch in South Africa and came to visit me. At this stage everyone tried to preach to me about my feelings yet it was still unexplained, they would only frustrate me and tell me things I allready knew and were doing. So when I spoke to Danie he gave me peace because he spoke out of experience when he got injured in Australia he went through the exact same thing. I came to the understanding that sometimes we go through struggles in life because of something deep inside our souls, but we can't really name it... so God comes to the rescue, but when he takes away what is unexplainable, Feelings unexplained shall arise. So a breakthrough came through when Danie spoke to me, but then the unforseen happened... on the day of my car lisense test I was so ready, but when I got into the car my leggs shook and I could not control the clutch. So the car died three times and once it rolled and when that happened my heart broke man. Because it cost so much for the lessons and the test itself and now where I usually have no nervousness in me at all I fail because of it. Yet again all my failures were before me taunting me asking me over and over. Who am I, and am I a failure? The whole way back home I cried... a grown man crying. I felt degraded and like a failure, no one exept Jesus could restore me. So after joining the group in Kosovo I was left with this question, who am I? Surviving for 5 days alone on a airport with no money, going back home and enduring Hell and traveling in Istanbul on my own taking responsibility for myself for the first time in my life brought me to a conclusion. Only God knows me better than I do myself and therefore the question I seek shall only be answered by Him. So who am I? I am a young man trying to get back on my feet.
Why do we make life so complicated? Why do we so easily make mountains out of mere ant hills? It is not supposed to be this difficult and I dare say it is rather tiring to worry about everything all the time. My stay in Egypt these past two weeks has been a time of growth and transformation. Firstly I would like to mention that all the pictures I have seen, all the history that I have read and heard throughout my years of study about this wonderful place, I could have never imagined it to be so glorious in person. It was like being in a dream. The biggest lesson however, I learned was at a spiritual oasis called Anaphora. It certainly lived up to it's name. I do not know wether it was the stillness and tranquility, the flowers, or the lack of connectivity to the outside world and everything in between which made it such a wonderful place but I have come to the conclusion that wherever there is peace there is freedom. There is so much peace and tranquility there, you just want to remain there forever. It is a place to recharge and renew your mind end even your soul. It is where you feel God in the stillness. I know that He is good. The nuns, whom we call sisters, are beautiful and inspiring. They have so much patience and love, the fruits of the spirit are ever present in everything they do. The other volunteers especially from Sweden and France have stolen a piece of my heart which I will never want back. They have changed my life. Our stay at Anafora will always be longed for in the future to come. God had some things to reveal to me. He has been constantly and slowly moulding my mind and heart to become more like His and pursuing me with a love that conquers every fear. I am learning to love people I do not always like, I am learning to be content with what I have, to be quiet and still and to trust in His timing, for His favor will always come. I received a revelation specifically about the heart and where it is pointing to. In Proverbs 4: 23 it says: "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for it determines the course of your life." What is so significant about our entire time in Egypt is that this verse came alive to me through Egyptian mythology. In Egyptian mythology there is a god called Anubis. He guards the gate to the underworld. The Ancient Egyptians believed that when you died, you travelled to the Hall of the Dead. There Anubis weighed your heart against the feather of Ma'at. Ma'at, the goddess of justice sits on top of the scales to make sure that the weighing is carried out properly. If your heart was lighter than the feather, you lived for ever. If your heart was heavier than the feather then it was eaten by the demon Ammit, the Destroyer. The message is quite direct and clear. Our hearts determine the course of our life. If our hearts are set on the wrong course and it is filled with the wrong intentions, it is going to be complicated and difficult. But if it is set on God we can be more than conquerers in even the most trying times. "The boundaries in our lives are determined by what goes on in our hearts."- Brian Houston In other words we do not need to strive for others attention or validation to make us feel better about ourselves. This is not what our hearts should be set on. It should be set on Jesus. The only one who is worthy enough to give opinion and validation. Our hearts determine the course of our life. If it is set on Jesus then it does not matter what our circumstances are or what others say, when we keep our eyes focussed on the one who is love and and the source of peace, we need never to look down but only up. I have gained a peace in my heart which I never want to lose. Because I know my God is already in front of me preparing the way. Anafora, I will always carry our time together in my heart. You have taught my heart to rest in His embrace and to be still and know. He is God and He will always be there to pick me up when I fall.
One month ago, we sat/lay on the floor of Ben Gurion Int. Airport not knowing what to expect from Israel and having no idea what lay ahead. Today we sit in the same airport, wearing the same clothes as when we arrived (washed, of course) but our hearts are completely changed.
Imagine a hiking trip that follows the trail of all the places where Jesus performed his miracles and doing it with 10 other spirit filled people, well this is how the 4 day trip started... We received 25 fish right out of the Sea of Galilee from a local and while we waited for our self-proclaimed fishermen to clean and gut them, we tried to cook beans which ended up taking TWO days to soften. So with fish flopping in packets, beans soaking in a ziplock packet and a rubbish bag over my backbag because of the rain, we began our journey of receiving Gods provision. Within 25 minutes we were walking through a grapefruit farm. The joy that filled my heart! We began pushing grapefruit into our already overfilled bags. For the next few hours, happiness covered my heart and a sleeve of sticky grapefruit juice formed on my arms. We walked up and down and all around the Arbel mountains, I'm not someone who usually stops and notices natural scenery but it was impossible to miss Gods glory and beauty this time. The sun was setting and the choices of where to set up our tents were not very 'lively'; next to a dead cow or next to a cemetery... We carried on walking. Without surprise, God lead us to a little farm and we cooked our fish with a grid that the farmer gave us. The following morning we walked through banana vineyards. I have NEVER eaten so many bananas in my life! I felt so loved by God because he knows how much I would have liked this surprise. So we filled packets with them and we ate bananas three times a day for three days. Our God is a God of abundance. By the grace of God, I got to to learn this facet of my best friend and savior. Now that I have experienced that Jesus abundantly gives us in the physical, how much more will He give us of things that are eternal and of more value. A recurring phrase for me and my friend during this time was "I'll provide the coffee and you provide the biscuits." However, I heard God remixing these words in my heart and his version sounds much better. "I'll provide the coffee and the biscuits.. And joy, love, healing, strength, wisdom, protection, grace and peace. You just have to be present in my presence to receive all I have for you. Thank you Provider for your abundance. Thank you Yeshua for your love. Thank you Jesus for your fullness Heb 11:6 "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
Ha! Got you to open my blog. While your here you might as well read a bit furher. The Hidden World team has been in Israel for 29 days. It's been fun, rough, tough and blessed. We are leaving tomorrow to the airport, sleeping there and leaving early Saturday morning to Russia. We went across the whole of Israel. We've been north, east, south and west. We were at the Sea of Galilee, Red Sea and Dead Sea a d Mediterranean Sea. We walked, took busses, taxis and hitchiked to places. We bought food, got food given to us and picked food up from trashcans. We had toilets or bushes, open showers, cold showers, buckets and no water. We slept in a house, room, tent, on a roof, outside and under a shade net. We pulled out weeds, did prayer chains, bible studies, got teachings, sang praise and worship songs, painted, went to a seminar, did prayer walks, witnessed and cleaned a house. One song we sang (very known) goes like this: Every blessing you pour out I'll turn back to praise. I sang it... and paused... what if He doesn't pour out a blessing? Do I stop praising? That's the thing. As a child of God we always get blessings. But a lot of times it looks different than what we expect it to be or look like. Another thing is that many times we can't see the purpose of it yet. God knows it all. He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending (Rev 1:8). He already knows what will happen and what happened. He already knows what you're going through and will still need to endure. Don't stop praising and trusting, EVER! I know it is very difficult to believe that God has our best interest at heart. Because we've never experienced this kind of love and we're used to looking out for ourselves. But it's not necessary to doubt in His plans for you. He knows what His plans are for you. It is plans of peace, not of evil (Jer 29:11). I want to correct my title... God is always good! When it feels like it's going bad and when you go through tribulations and troubles. God is good, always.
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.
This whole Global Challenge has been tough. I've really been struggling to fit into my team and to find my purpose. I spoke to my leader and she said a few things that was needed, but I want to tell you about two things. Fitst she said that you're value is not in your purpose, it is in who you are. Second thing is that we are not human doings, we are human beings. I am not going to elaborate on that, but think about it.
Arriving at our frist country with such a low expectations thinking that we will probably be camping ouside the church due to lack of rooms but was so surprised to us sleeping in warm beds (no one expected that) but the beds were not the only things that was warm,but the hospitality of loving people that live here was over all the best experience of all.Welcoming us with open arms showering us with love and blessings.Making each of us feel so important to them,appreciating everything BIG and small thing we do and blessing us with so much FOOD. this community blessed us so much,but aside from them,the people we visited who have almost nothing,still bless us with an over flow of food and the most amazing tea (shei) i have ever tasted showing that giving is not bound by what u have but in fact by how much you are willing to give.Learning every day what it means to serve God and being humble in all aspects of our lives.I will always remember this place for the love that is being spread for this love is sacrificial.Ive seen what it means to be humble and a true servant of God and will try to live acording by that example.
I am so thankful for: African time; it is better than Turkish time, free public toilets, the SPCA, understanding Afrikaans, 'n lekker Braai, wearing shoes in the house, western toilets, Yum Yums double crunch peanut butter, google translater, an open window in a truck with a smoker driver for 7 hours, not having my pasta taken and hidden away by my team, not waking up to the sound of ziplock packets opening, not being called the spice girls or Charlie's angels by every merchant in the market but above all, I am so thankful for these things because they have made Turkey and the Turkish people crawl into my heart. This year for thanksgiving (not that I've ever had thanksgiving before.) instead of a stuffed turkey with roasted veggies, cranberry sauce, giblet gravy,creamed asparagus, mince meat pie and fruit cake, I had; Adventures stuffed with laughter and roasted conversations with strangers. Giblet grace, soft healing of the heart, princes seat pie, and layers of the fathers love, delicately prepared by the hands of God like a true Master Chef.
What? How does that work? It does, if you're a sinner. I am a very honest person and I want you to fully understand my journey, so yeah, sometimes you're going to think I am an absolute fool. Great! Please think that, because my friend, that's exactly how gross and sinful and foolish I am, without God. Great thing that God doesn't leave us in our sins. Thank God He doesn't. Now of course, you want the juice (news) of what I have done. I thought that I had the right to want. I started to want the things other people have. For example, I saw someone with Ray-Ban sunglasses. I decided I want them, couldn't afford them and started wishing I had it. Even prayed for them. Realizing, I can just ask God for it. I started treating God as a vending machine. I also had the worst mindset: I am a missionary this year which automatically makes people think more of me. (I'm very ashamed.) It got worse. I am in Turkey Istanbul. The people are amazingly friendly here. There are a lot of Turkish Delight shops and wow! The people allows you to taste the stuff and gives it to you for free as well! This is how you get things for free: They see business when they see you. They call you over. You start a conversation with them. Then you pretend as if you do not know what something (example: a chocolate mushroom) is. They give it to you to taste. You walk away. It just didn't feel right. God started talking to me about this. For the first situation He told me: "Ye shall not want." Correct, it's in the ten commandments. Secondly I got an amazing verse: For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 1 Corinthians 9:19 KJV. God told me how I am manipulating people and being fake to get a little piece of Turkish Delight and to let people give me things. Readers, if you do something wrong but want to live in alignment with God's purpose for you, Keep searching and He will show you your errors: Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Philippians 3:15 I am sorry that you have to find out how sinful I am. Luckily we serve a living God who will love us as we are, but won't leave us that way. I am ready to say that I will try my best not to want. I will try my best to become a servant unto all men. That is my deepest desire: to serve in the way God has prepared for me. Challenhe Accepted! Stay in the outlook for my next blog: I want to write about the Heart of Islam or something like that.