Thursday, June 16, 2011

Moments of Brokeness

Well it's day 6 here in South Africa. We have finished our training and the missions teams are going to be here tomorrow! We did Kids Ministry yesterday, and we have done shack to shack ministry in the squatter camps. There are so many people I've met already, that God has broken my heart for. I just wanted to share a little bit of their stories, and what God has done in me because of them.

In the Squatter camp Msawawa (Umshawawa) I met a young girl named Shelter. She was 19 and living with her boyfriend. Shelter was so quiet, and at first came across as shy. The more my team mate and I were talking with her, the more I began to see a young girl who was lacking self confidence. She was hurting, and there was something deeper going on. We shared the gospel with her, and although she didn't make a decision to follow Christ, we did leave her with the fact that God loves her, and thinks she is the most beautiful woman. Please keep praying for Shelter.

The next woman we met was Eunice. She is a Sangoma (witch doctor) in Msawawa. Eunice knows that Jesus is all powerful. In fact she asked us to pray for her granddaughter (who the team had prayed for a month ago). Eunice has already seen the healing power of God and continues to ask for it for this young girl. But Eunice is not ready to give her life to Christ. Because in doing so, she would be giving up all of her other beliefs, and her very lively hood. We are believing that God will change Eunice's heart. Please pray for a transformation of this woman's heart!

Yesterday I met a woman that has wrecked my heart! Her name is Elsie. She came to a couple of us women and asked for prayer. Elsie has not been able to have children and wants so desperately to have a child of her own. I just wanted to throw my arms around her and cry with her. What a sad thing to deal with, wanting to be a mother, but not being able to. I wanted to share my heart with her, and tell her about how I want so bad to be a wife and a mother. And that there are times when I cry out to God for these things. But I know in the very core of my being, that God has a plan and it will be his timing not mine that I'll receive those things. I was able to share a story of a dear friend of mine named Hope. Hope was told she would never be able to have children. She left it in the hands of God and now has two amazing children named Andrew and Aliza! I told Elsie that when we leave our cares and desires in the hands of God, He will bless us. 

I titled this moments of brokenness because that is where I am. God has brought me to a place where my heart is broken not only for my own life circumstance, but also the trials and sadness of the people I have and will be encountering. I think of Nehamiah, and how he sat outside of the city of Jerusalem and wept for it. He was so sad that the city was not following God. He just wept!! 
Nehamiah's heart was broken for the people..... My heart is broken for these people that so desperately need Jesus and need hope. So what is it that has broken your heart? What is it that you find yourself weeping over?? And what are you doing about it??? 

Thank you for the continued prayer and support. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day 3 in a foreign land

It's Day three of this awesome journey! So far I can say that the Jet Lag hasn't been too horrible.... But I do believe that has something to do with the Melatonin :). It's Sunday afternoon, and I think we may be heading back to the cottage to chill for the day! I'm pretty excited for that for sure!! We've been training quite a bit, taking in a lot of information, just getting ready to go out and do ministry! Our groups start arriving on Friday!! Woo Hoo!! I don't know that at this moment I have much more to say, so happy Sunday to all of my loved ones State Side!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thoughts on Airports

Well travel day has arrived!! I was up at 4 this morning and on my first flight by 6:30 AM. I still am in a little bit of shock over the fact that it is already June 9th, and I am officially en route to South Africa. This just makes me think about how I've gotten here, and they path I've taken thus far. The fact that just under a year ago, I was on my way to Texas for a mission trip with a group from my church. From Texas we flew to South Africa for the week that changed my life. It was during this time I fell in love with the people of South Africa and knew that I would return... But I honestly didn't think I would be returning so soon.... 

So, now here I sit in the Atlanta Airport, during a 10 hour layover, just waiting. I feel like we spend a lot of our time waiting. We wait to be old enough to drive, and then we wait to turn 21. We wait for traffic, food, moments, events, and answers. Sometimes the waiting is for something exciting, and sometimes we find ourselves waiting for a moment we wish would never come. 

I found myself waiting for one of these moments just two months ago. We were all gathered around my dad's hospital bed watching him take assisted breath after assisted breath. Knowing that the end was coming. Knowing that our lives would never be the same, and we would forever have an empty place in our hearts. Crying out to God in short prayers, I found myself at peace with how God was moving. I knew that He had a plan for that moment in my life. I can't say that I understand completely, but God does and I'm ok with resting in that knowledge.

When I lost my dad, I lost my best friend and my biggest cheerleader. He was so supportive of this journey I am taking now. He encouraged and supported me all along the way, telling me to go for it, and to chase my adventures! I've thought about him a lot this last week. Knowing he'd be so proud of me, and knowing he'd want to be there waiting for me when I come home. And he'd be ok with the waiting, because it's during those moments that we grow the most. He used to tell me to never settle and wait for what God has in store, because what God has in store is better than anything we'll ever settle for.  

And now I'm sitting in an airport waiting on a plane that will take me to Johannesburg. A plane that will deliver me to the biggest and most amazing adventure God has placed before me yet. If I were to just settle for the first plane that came along, I would end up in  Virginia. And while I do love Virginia, that is not my intended destination. But, if I wait the 10 hrs, the right plane will come along, and I will end up where I'm supposed to be. 

I believe that if we aren't willing to wait on God's timing, we have the potential to arrive in the wrong destination. Now don't get me wrong, God will work in all things and will use any place or situation we are in to move. But when we enter into a relationship with Christ, we agree that we need Him. We need Him to direct us and to guide us, to save us from our own paths. So if we have acknowledged that, then why is it that we have such a hard time acknowledging that we need his timing, that we need to wait? We get restless and "bored". We then try to do things on our own and end up in a self-induced mess, crying out to God to save us from the tragedies that are our decisions. And all we had to do was wait. But waiting is so Hard!!!! 

It's pretty clearly outlined in Isaiah 40:31 "Those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength..." I know this is a typical verse, but think about it for a second.... Basically this scripture is saying; those that are willing to stop and rely on God's timing, and place their plans, future, and hopes in Him will be given strength and a renewing of hope to endure and face whatever it is that God will bring their way.... Wow that's deep....  When we wait on Him and obey the Lord, He's not going to leave us hanging. He's going to be there every step of the way and encourage us along the way..... What an awesome God we serve!! 

So today, what are you waiting for? Are you looking forward to this event? Or is it something you wish would never come? Are you waiting on God? And in your waiting, are you leaning into Christ and drawing from Him strength and joy? If yes, then great! If not, then why? 

Enjoy your Thursday!! 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Final Countdown

So I'm officially four days away from getting on a plane that will take me to South Africa. I keep getting questions like "Are you excited?" "Have you started packing yet?" "When do you leave?". To answer these questions
- yessish....
- nope
- June 9th

I'm excited, but I'm also anxious. I really don't want to start packing and not because I don't want to go, but because packing is a big job! Instead I keep finding other things to do and other places to be. I know this is just procrastination at it's best, and I've completely accepted the fact that I will be up pretty late the night before finishing the process. But I am ok with that. I know that regardless of how late I wait to pack, it will get done.

And I may have just realized what my problem is.... Distractions!!! I seriously just forgot what I was doing  because I got distracted by something on my facebook.... It wasn't even all that great, I just happened to lose focus for a minute there. I think though that this is a big problem facing each and every one of us! I know that since I started the whole process that is taking me to South Africa for the summer, there have been so many distractions. Whether it be a huge life change, or something minor, I have gotten distracted so many times along the way.  There are so many times that I've forgotten what my mission and purpose is, and in turn I forgot who God is, and what it is that He has called me to do.

Unfortunately, that is the world we live in. There are so many things that keep us from focusing on God and his purpose for us. But the beauty of this is that God is merciful, and full of Grace. He loves us despite our wandering eyes! He still wants to use us even if we can't always keep our focus.  That is Awesome!!

My hope is that my two months in Africa will help me focus. Help me to truly seek God's purpose and cling to it. And to learn how to keep my focus. I hope that maybe you will go on this journey with me as well. Ask God to help you focus, and to show you what it really looks like to fix your eyes on Him!