I have learnt a lt this year. I learned that things don't always turn out the way you planned, or the way you think it should. And I've learned that there are things that go wrong that don't always get fixed or get put back together the way they were before. I've learned that you can get through bad times and keep looking for better ones. This year wasn't always pretty. It wasn't always comfortable. Some things and situations even break your heart. But that's okay. The journey changes you - it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness and on your heart. You take something with you, and hopefully also leave some things behind. I will forever remain humble because I know I could have less. And I will always be grateful because I know I've had less.
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
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
Since Kosovo, our team has stepped into a musical. The absence of wifi and the presence of lovely hosts made the difference. We had a lot of freedom to spend time with Christ and grow in unity. It was a healing and strengthening time there and not at all a disappointment. The fact that we could not go to China is long forgotten, because we truly believe God wanted us in Kosovo. Our hosts admitted to wishing for help and knowing God used us to show them He hears their prayers even before they pray them, means the world. We are committed to be His hands and feet and this detour means He is using us as such. What an absolute honor!
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.
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.
You never know what you can live without until you have to carry everything in one bag on your back -JS
weeks??? Why so fast??? Can we come back???The rime spent in the Middle East has been spectacular! God is showing us his heart for these people. Visits, distribution; gas, pillows, stoves. How can people that need so much basic resources bless us so much???? With peace, joy, love and kindness and a lot of tea. My heart is filled with joy and hope for the rest of the year. Even though you may think that you know something, God always has something to teach us. There's nothing better than to just sit at His feet and listen. Bringing hope and light, we take our next step, believing that our souls are crying out ABBA FATHER!
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.
"During the night, Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and pleading with him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."
It's been such an amazing time here in Jordan, learning how to love and understand more of your team is so special! The Lord loves these people and I know that he's going to use us here as his vessels. Now it's real! This is living now!!!
So excited on my destination this is my first time that I will be crossing SA borders not to go ons a gap year but to serve God around the world this is one of my best days of my live in a so honored to be part of GCEX time to help make a difference on earth. Get ready world there's a storm coming and it's going to be global
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, 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
As it has been shown, I am clearly not one for rating my experience of each country along the way. Being part of the communication team for hidden world, I have found that my own feelings are already reflected in the team blogs and newsletters, that when it comes to writing my own, I have nothing left to say. But I have finally figured out what to write on my own blog- only took 5 months. Reflecting back on the last 6 months of my life, I can't believe how much has changed- besides moving to a different country every three weeks.I read this line in The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis a couple months ago, that has stuck with me all this time: "Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him [God] seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys" (40). As some of you may know, this book is written in the perspective of a demon named Screwtape. I found what he said here to be interesting because he mentions that the Devil's attempt at winning over a servant is hopeless when a person is going through the hardest of times, can't really see God in the situation but still chooses to be obedient. Over the course of Cuba I realized the amount of times in my Christian life, but especially in the last 6 months I have gone through a rough time, and allowed the devil to win by not being obedient. Allowing him to steal something from me, steal my attention. How is this possible? How can I call myself a follower of Jesus, and not actually follow him? I really have wasted so much time. So many opportunities God asked something of me and I turned my back because it didn't suit me or it wasn't fun anymore. Is being a follower really a choice you make once? Is it the one day you ask Jesus into your life and the rest is history?I think not. I have to choose Jesus everyday. Choose life everyday. Choose obedience everyday- even when it may not be convenient for me. Just like God chooses to love me everyday, despite my faults, despite my disobedience. Some days I fall short.... Most days I fall short. But my desire for Him, to glorify Him is there, and I think that's really what he cares about. Why he is pleased with me anyways, pursues me anyways. Even when I fall short, God still loves me. and there is nothing I can do about it. "He [God] wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles" (40). ~C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
With a heart wild with expectancy, and eyes filled with wonder, I arrived at OR Tambo on the 4th of March. What to expect? I didn't know. All I knew is that I am about to embark on the journey of a lifetime, to live a life like no other. And all this, with Jesus as my compass and anchor. We boarded flight 202 headed to Dar es Salaam, and you could smell the excitement in the air. Our flight only jetted off at 23:20, and I soon found out that a dinner tray can also be used as a pillow. The first akward sleeping position of many to come! When we landed in Dar, and got our bags, we discovered that Génekes bag went missing. We had to say goodbye to our friends, Hidden World and Work Your Way, and leave the airport without Ginxs bag, and headed off to Zanzibar. After almost 3 hours of bag searching, taxi scouting, money drawing, and being bombarded by people who want to assist you with everything you don't want/need and also can't afford. In a city full of chaos, we met Mr Basheer, our first man of peace. He invited all ten of us in to his matchbox sized ferry ticket office, and helped us. When we were thirsty, he gave us water. He's whole being was woven together by kindness and humbleness. He gave us discount on our ferry tickets AND changed it to VIP tickets. When we boarded the ferry, he gave us orange soda and muffins. And he did all this, not because he felt sorry for us, but because of WHO HE IS. Peace that surpasses all understanding. I never quite got that, until it happened to me. But you never really understand something until you see it in your team mate, who's bag, with her whole journeys things inside was stolen. It's all about trusting and knowing that He is control. We arrived in Stone town, Zanzibar, after approximately 14 hours of traveling. Hot, sweaty, overwhelmed by the humidity, hungry and tired, but definately not dismayed. Our host waited for us at the harbors gate, and soon enough we were on our way to the place we would call home for the next 10 days. Our American/Canadian turned Zanzibari hosts welcomed us with open arms, and after we settled in, we had dinner with them, which consisted of Zanzibar pizza, salad and watermelon.
This is Si, she can't really speak English, but yet, we talked for more than 30 minutes. The only thing she could tell me was that I reminded her of her grandchild, whom she hasn't seen for quite a long time, so I just smiled and with no rush spent that time with her. Love is simple. Thailand