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.
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
"Be Still." Two words. Constant and always present. Having morning coffee, I hear it: "Be Still." Swimming in the clear blue ocean. Walking on snow white sand. Watching a Fiery red sunset. "Be Still." Fellowshipping with people who have become family. Listening to music, old and new. Feeling the presence of God.
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.
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.
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.
Going to Turkey was different for many of us. Some enjoyed not knowing where to go, what to do or what God has planned for us there. We only knew that He wants us to serve but the question was who first. The first guess was the refugees. Makes sense…they need help… we are here to serve… so we aimed for them, but it was like shooting a moving target in the dark. We heard so many rumours about where they are or should be but arriving only to see a lack of people to serve…
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.
Bethlehem, a land deprived of peace yet you could feel the very precence of it lingering in the streets of painted walls. There is a old refugee camp where the poor and less privileged live and graffiti all over walls, but I saw môre privliges there then in my own home. People nearly excepting you in their families and no matter what people say about Palestinian people, their intentions to me is one of peace.
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
This is a done deal!! Jesus is in me and I am in Him. This is who I am!! I am everything God said me to be. I don't need to search for it, I don't need to do something to get it. He already gave it all to me with the cross. All I need to do is release it! Release God in me trough His Holy Spirit.
I'm standing knee deep, but im out where i've never been before. If you would have asked me 2 months ago if im ready to go out to the nations and serve, i would have said yes!! If you ask me 1 month ago i would have said no!! if you would ask me now, my answer will be, I trust in God that i am ready for i cant do anything without Him. For it is not about me and what i am going to do but it is all about the Father and His Son. My purpose is to bring glory to God in all that i do for Him and to know Him and seek Him with all my heart. Knowing that there is only 3 days left of training makes me nervous and excited... Jesus You make me brave, You call me out into the waves, no fear can hinder the promises that You make.I will draw near and hold fast...
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?
Well where do I begin... The past few weeks have been crazy fun, hard, good days and bad days... The first week we got the connect with everyone...2nd week going on a "camping trip" that ended up to be 5 days in the bush with only the clothes on our backs and playing games to win some food...3rd week we are joining the school camp and having some fun with the kids from there we are building the road for the GLA School..week 4 and we are leaving for the Transkei to serve the people and give LOVE to the children. Week 5 and we are on our way to Cape Town to get visas and not only was this our teams first trip alone but also a place where i found myself at peace to know that i will be with this group of amaizing people for the most important life changing event in my life and i get to share it with them by my side.. so week 6 and we have Oom Gerrie and Tanie Anita come and visit us, AMAZING!! Discovering gifts and learning about the Holy Spirit then just when i thought it could not get any better Norm Wakefield join us for 8 sessions of MINDBLOWING teachings about the gospel... in all of this i have found amaizing friends, love and caring hearts, leaders who give only their best.. People who are not only friends for life but family...
New year...new beginnings
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.
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