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
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…
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…………………..
I have come to the conclusion that man has been made comfortably numb by the world. And our flesh is chronically addicted to the feeling of not feeling.Every thing the world throws our way, provokes us to harden our hearts, to close our eyes, to look away. Because sometimes your heart and soul can not handle feeling the brokenness the world brings across your path. So we decide to become numb, because not feeling is easier than feeling. But this state of numbness come with terrible side-effects, which is in favor of the enemy. Because a numb heart can not feel heart ache, joy, love and the presence of our Father. Now God knows this. So he puts us on a journey of de-numbefication. During this journey we are taught how to feel (turning hearts of stone into hearts of flesh). So we are led into the desert or into great trails so God can start chizeling away on our stone hearts. He leads us in the direction of extreme heart ache, because it will take a huge amount of brokenness for a stone heart to feel again. So slowly from the outside in. God allows us to pioneer into our numb hearts, instinctively, lovingly and patiently God come along for the journey. He gives us just enough trails for the outer layer of our stone hearts to start feeling again, to be filled with blood, life and Love. And usually when that layer is filled to its capacity it is the point we feel the closest to God. But God knows there is more to feel (He wants to be closer than just the outer layer), this is only one layer that is now no longer numb. But we also know this, deep down something in us tells us this is not the pinical of love, there must be more... So we journey further into our numb hearts, ready for the next trail, the new expedition into the dessert. So we consider it pure joy when facing trails of manny kinds. Because with each trail a deeper layer of our heart is allowed to feel, the numbness is taken away and replaced with compassion and sadness. When pioneering a new layer of a numb heart, is usually the point where we feel the most separated from God, because we step back into the numbness into a area of not feeling. This feeling is one of the biggest lies we can fall for. For The word of God says that He will never leave us. For He says He will always be with us and nothing can separate us from Him. So this feeling of separations is almost ironic. For when we feel God is leaving us. He is actually moving closer, deeper, one stoney layer at a time. But I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Because the more we allow God to break our heart for what brakes His we indirectly allow our hearts to be filled with joy, not any joy but the type of joy that brings God joy.
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.
After two months of training and preparation the day finally arrived for the international leg of our Global Challenge journey to begin! It was with much excitement and expectation that our entire group of 36 students got on the midnight flight form Johannesburg to Dar Es Salam. On arrival we stepped out into the pressing humidity of an early morning in Tanzania. Everyone scurried about to pick up their bags and hurry off to catch the next mode of transport which would take us to our various destinations. When the commotion died down it became evident that my bag might not have been as excited about the start of this journey as I was - It appeared as if she never even made it onto the airplane…