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.
Macedonia was one of those countries that I had high expectations of. Mostly due to the fact that I heard so much about the place, the large amount of people that needed help in the camps and the Rama people that also needed help. After Africa left Macedonia, I read their blogs and that helped me to paint a picture of how it is there, and what I can expect. So after reading and hearing about the refugee camp, I was expecting a BIG challenge. Not that it would have demotivated me in some sort of manner but rather start a big change in my life. I’m not saying that it didn’t change me at all, it’s just that the change did not come as dramatic as I expected it to be.
I am currently lying on my back on a bamboo bench, Just after my fellow rookie constructionist and I finished building a sturdy wooden grass covered structure.This process involved a dangerous amount of inexperience ,riggedy scaffoldings, and the use of a nail gun while suspended up in the air.I suspect God poured out some serious last minute wisdom into our arrogantly confident hearts.None the less we are finished and admiring our golden creation.There is a sence of pride and contentment flowing through our veins.Wiping a drop of sweat from my brow, I can not help to realize the privilege of even doing something small like this for Jesus.Here we are in the lusciously green Phuket able to be part of a 16 year process where God has built a refuge and a school for His children.What a privilege.
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.
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
The journey of grace started in Russia and by the end of Cuba while sitting in a coffee shop drinking coffee that tastes like sea water and being told to keep quiet by the waitress because we laughing too loud, God concluded the first part of an unending series of His grace.
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.
Macedonia was beautiful. We were received with open South African arms and felt so at home, but the atmosphere changed when we entered the colorless Tavanoche camp. By the time we reached Macedonia most of the refugees had traveled on and it was only those without money or with children that were left. It was hard to lift spirits without even being able to communicate. So we fully relied on God.
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…
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.