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.
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
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.
Istanbul! How cool was it to be in one city on two different continents!!!! That blew my mind! But what caught me first is how alive everything was. Driving from the airport in Asia to our guesthouse in Europe (I know.. It sounds quite cool.) I saw that this city definitely never sleeps.
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…
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."
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.
New year...new beginnings
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!!!!!!!!!!
God came and met me in Barbados in a way that left me without words...the God that created colour, Who breathed and dreamed in colour deposited His colour into my being and made me live life the colourful way...