"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.
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.’
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.
Many of times we hear how much God loves us and wish nothing but the best for all his children; the ones that know his love and the ones that don’t know it as much. Looking back at my life, knowing all the wrong that I have done to others and myself, I’ve said and done things that I will always be ashamed of, the worst was not knowing if I am really forgiven. I’ve read the scripters and have said the words out loud, but still every detail of my past was not forgiven; well at least not all, according to me, looking for any sign that God loves me and that he will take care of me, regardless of my past. Seeing so many miracles happen to so many people around me but never to me, then having the devil having some fun in my head telling me lies to make me believe that he does not love me as much as the others. So having this scenario play out for years going round and round in my life…………………..
Israel oh Israel, you were such a interesting country. We arrived here not knowing where we are going, but God took me on one incredible journey. I was in for a big surprise when I thought that Israel was just a boring country full of people stuck in history. In our first week I hit rockbottom, we had some really tough times and I started to miss home a lot. But I learned that it's only when you hit rockbottom that you realize that God is the rock. Luckily we all made it through that first week, and trust me I know we will be able to handle everything this year. After this God just started to bless our team so much. Like when we were so tried and hungry He would just bless us with grapefruit and bananas on the ground. Wow, how I learned to appreciate everything that I have so freely at home. Thank You Jesus. I'm not going into the details about the rest of our time in Israel because it will take forever. We saw a wide spectrum of all the different areas there is to see in Israel. It is so mind blowing to be in a nice city that's green and then like an hour's drive further you're in the middle of a dry desert. From walking the Gospel trail, to eating way to much unlimited chocolate in Bethlehem, to healthy food and a amazing family in Tel Aviv, to camping in the desert, to floating on the dead sea, to snorkeling in the red sea and to living in a prayer house, God took me from being at the bottom to the top with Him. And through this crazy journey God provided so much and He just loves to bless His children. Thank you Israel for the interesting time you gave us. Russia here we come!
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.
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.
Ahh Middle East, what an awesome place! I'm so stoked that I had the privilege of serving the people of crossroads. I'm really liking the tea a lot it's like a mix between rooibos and normal tea, it's perfect!
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.
How can you try to explain Turkey in words? Everything that has happened here was just one amazing journey. I can literally see God's hand in every place that we've been to. From our first day in Istanbul God has started the journey with me to show me what true humility is and make me realize again that this year is not about me.
And just like that we were saying our good bye's and getting on a plane, watching South Africa disappear beneath us and bidding it farewell for the next 8 months. Hidden World is officially in the nations.
Wait! What? This is not about me?
New year...new beginnings
We departed from Turkey almost two months ago already, but it was such an overwhelming experience to be a pilgrim in the country where a big part of the new testament plays off that I struggled to put it into words. Here is my attempt at celebrating the highlights!
Our time in Cuba was almost like a time warp going back to the early 1950’s, vintage cars, horse carriages, music on every comer, no internet and street vendors everywhere. What an experience and privilege to have had a month in Cuba. We faced the language barrier with body gestures and our Spanish booklets. Embraced every moment and laughed a lot with those first country giggles when you still in shock that you’ve left South Africa.