The preaching list... Definition: “A sequenced list with names of the Hidden World 2014 team predicting when one would prepare and present a message to a church, school, assembly or gathering.” A.K.A – THE LIST! I knew my time of preaching will soon be here. And I looked forward to it! The previous time when it was almost my turn, the Lord threw a surprise at my front door. In Guyana, which already feels like it was ages ago, our team split into our small teams to visit two different churches on one sunny Sunday morning. Tiaan gave us the names of the pastor and church that we will be attending. He told us that they don´t expect us to preach, we will only visit them. The morning before we went to church, I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful and powerful Demarara river just down the road from the church, with tea and condensed milk for some quiet time with God. For some reason, I went through the theme and some ideas of my preach that I prepared while we had training in South Africa. Now I know it wasn´t by accident, but by the guidance of the Holy Spirit! We left with someone from the church that came to pick us up. When we arrived at the church, the name of the church nor the name of the pastor was anything like what Tiaan told me... We must have switched churches with the other team. By chance? I din´t think so...! The worship started and they worshiped like only the Guyanese can worship! After about an hour the pastor took the microphone. She welcomed us warmly: ¨Welcome to the visitors from South Africa! In a moment they will minister to us!¨ WHAT?? Yes, the Lord has prepared me for this moment in some way. And there I stood, ready to preach the Gospel. With Spirit given peace and excitement I could stand there and enjoy every moment of bringing the great news of the Gospel to the people of the Grapevine Full Gospel church!
1”Sing a new song to the LORD!Let the whole earth sing to the LORD!2Sing to the LORD; praise His name.Each day proclaim the Good News that He saves.3Publish His glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things He does.”Ps 96: 1-3 (NLT)
Zapote is the name used for a delicious fruit in the area where Santiago is found in Cuba. The outside looks like a kiwi fruit without the fuzz, the inside is pinkish orange, has a big black pip and the flesh is almost like that of an avocado. The taste is reminiscent of a combination of mango, grapefruit, papaya and avocado but not quite. It has elements I can sort of reference but unlike anything I've ever had before and that for me was Cuba.The streets, vibrant with life, people everywhere, horse carriages, scooters, public transportation trucks, vintage cars, castle like buildings and historical parks and museums, the contrasting modern fashion sense and street musicians some with vintage instruments the like of which I've only seen in books and absence of common fast food franchises like KFC and McDonald's.The people so friendly and warm, I'd never seen such diversity in physical appearance and yet all Cuban and understanding one another in Spanish.I was amazed by the stark contrast to where I'd grown up. Some of the things we consider a part of normal day to day living are luxuries and vice versa! The discovery of toilet paper at a store in Santiago was a cause for celebration and whilst the cheapest ice cream is not even 2 rand/pula, you find amazing ice cream for about 45 thebe/cents on almost every street. Some things were even harder to comprehend and would cause great conflict in other parts of the world, but Cuban people lead a more fulfilling life than most.Our hosts humbled me continuously with their generosity, their constant availability in helping us, their open invitation into their homes, their very lives without hesitation and above all the love they showed. All this despite the language barrier most of the time. I truly experienced 1Peter 4:8-9 and John 13:34-35 in a new light through the love of God in them. In him we are truly different members, part of one body irrespective of all differences. Having had opportunity as a team to work with them and serve them in what seemed like too few ways I'm grateful for God's orchestration of our first country experience. For me they set an example and I hope and pray that we, the Hidden World team of 2014, travelling to all the places we are visiting may be a reflection of Christ's love in the same manner. Hints of familiarity but quite unlike anything ever beheld.
After a whirlwind 7 weeks of training, that felt somehow longer than that considering all encompassed in them. I had laughed, cried, been excited, angry, confused, exhausted refreshed, very uncomfortable and so much more. But you see, I'd chosen this ( at least I think so) and when I came to Jeffrey's Bay, South Africa I knew training would be challenging but quite necessary. Well, I didn't foresee my irritation at having to do some athletic exercises on Survivor, being challenged on how I prefer to put God in a box I can wrap my head around when in actual fact he is way beyond that, the value of integrity always, even in seemingly small things. Anxiety about kiddies ministry and dealing with teens and the unexpected excitement over the response of one introvert child and being ok with the teenagers unresponsiveness at times. The joys of working together, challenges of language barriers, hiccups of planning meals, unpredictable nature of working on building sites, greater awareness of the spiritual, facing beliefs about myself and others with regards to the prophetic. The ever increasing appreciation of people in their diversity, forming and building relationships and the beauty and wonder over and over of the liberating effect of God's love and grace ... I didn't think I was 100% ready but I had the best preparation program from dedicated men and women who depended on God.
Just more than a week ago our communications team was asked to post a blog on the building project that we helped out with. We had less than 8 days to complete certain tasks set out before us. This is therefore just the final feedback to show you a bit of what we accomplished.