Monday, January 24, 2011


Halfway there.  It's been 2 weeks in South Africa, and we have 2 more to go.  And I'm finding it super difficult to keep up with this!  You know, I bet I won't be able to process half of this trip until I get home and realize where I've been for a month.  It's incredible- the more I think about it, the more amazed I am that I get to experience this.  I'm taking a "time out" from my life for the last five years, to not only travel to the most beautiful country I have ever seen, but also to work for this amazing ministry.

But now that it's been halfway, I'm starting to get comfortable here -... and it's easy to lose focus on what God's doing and what He wants to do through me while I'm here.  I absolutely love everyone here.  Every person that I've met, that works for Living Hope and ACTS-  well, I would actually choose to hang out with them.  And the people we are serving are so easy to love... and it is very easy to just smile and hug my way through my day. That part is simple.  But to allow God to let me see through His eyes... that takes some prayer and focus first.  And here's the thing- You can't love, until you have received love from the perfecter and author of love.  And until you can fully grasp and accept the love and grace of Jesus... any other love falls so incredibly short.

So last night I asked God to show me Himself at work.  And today I met Ursula.  We were working at Living Grace and listening to the devotion for the morning before breakfast was served.  I saw a woman sitting a seat in front of me to the right- and I just figured it wouldn't hurt to introduce myself.  I'm not sure why her.  Now I know why.

It turns out that Ursula stayed after breakfast to help prepare the vegetables and potatoes for the stew at lunch.  So we chatted.  Ursula is 21.  She has a 6 year old and a 4 year old, and was beaten by her boyfriend through her pregnancies.  So she left him.  And her mother- one of her only Christian role models, passed away two years ago suddenly, right after Easter.  She never even told her kids she was sick.  Ursula has had many jobs, and lost most of them b/c of drugs or other reasons.  But the coolest part of her story were all the ways that she told me how God has provided for her.  Today the devotion was about parents whose child was born without breathing... just like Ursula's son.  And a month after he was born, through prayer, God answered them and he started breathing.  She relied on God to do it, and He came through.  And she told me of other times when God has met her needs, big and small.  He feeds her when she's hungry, and healed her son when he was sick.  So before I left, I prayed with Ursula.  And I left there hopeful.  He cares about all of Ursula's needs.  And yours and mine.  God is working!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I just want to say tonight, that God has once again swept me off my feet...

Just because I'm in South Africa, doesn't mean I don't struggle with the same things that I did at home.  I don't know why, but I thought maybe I could escape them when I came here.  Or maybe that when I was faced with extreme poverty and problems so much larger than my own, that maybe I could just forget them.   I'm not sure what I was thinking.  I'm the same person here, that I was at home, and my heart is still my heart.  And instead of escaping, I dove headfirst into them.

And I realized something today at Church in Capricorn- I was worshipping with mothers and fathers with little children who may not have enough money or food or clothes to meet their physical needs, and God knows each and every one of their hearts.  And He knows absolutely every need that they have.  All He asks for from them is their complete dependence on Him to provide.  Although their needs may be so different than mine- my God only asks me for complete dependence on Him.  And His love for me is as great as His love for every single person I've met here on this trip.  Because we all fall short of His Glory.  And His LOVE and GRACE covers a multitude of sins and injustice.  Joy is only found in Christ alone.  No matter how much or how little we have.

And at just the right time, God provided me with the encouragement and love that I needed.  And I am in  awe of Him once again.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A new pair of eyes

It's been 3 days of ministry, and to be completely honest, I've been putting off updating this from not even knowing where to start.  On Sunday we were introduced to the ministry, it's locations and the communities that Living Hope serves, check it out: - and then on Monday, we hit the ground running.  My team is working in a community called "Overcome Heights", a township that has no permanent structures standing, only small shacks, dirt and trash filled roads, and about one thousand stray dogs!  I've never seen this kind of poverty- shoot, I've never seen poverty close up before.  From 10 am -12 pm we run a kid's club for any children under the age of 12, and a teen club for kids over 12.  On Monday, we walked the streets and started recruiting kids, most of which were wandering the streets.  We started with about 50 kids on Monday and today we had around 90!

I can't put into words my experience here so far.  I've met and hugged hundreds of kids, attempted to learn their names... let's see, there is Sikelele, a 6 year old boy with eyes that will just make you smile from the inside out.  And there's 3 sisters that come together, Lucretia, Kaylene, and Meagan who are all absolutely beautiful. And one of my favorites, Diago, he NEVER forgets the memory verse for the day!  And so many more, I can't even begin to list them.

But you know what- as much as these kids are stealing my heart away, I am absolutely falling in love with this ministry of Living Hope and God is giving me new eyes to see.  Their mission is so pure.  To love the least of these- not just to feed the poor, or heal the sick.  That's not enough- it's to show Jesus to them, to give them HOPE not just for eternal life, but even in this life!

We heard John and Avril speak tonight. (founders of Living Hope and pastor of King of Kings)  The only word I have to describe them is - vessel.  They are a vessel- an open vessel to be used for WHATEVER purposes the Lord puts on their hearts.  I wish you all could have heard them speak.  My words don't give them justice.  I can't give this trip and this place and these people justice.  I can only pray that God changes my heart to hurt for what HIS heart hurts for.  That's a big prayer, but my gosh, God does BIG things.  I'm learning that more and more everyday.  He changes lives.  We just need to be willing to be used.

Living Hope used to be partially funded by our government, through President Bush's Abstinence program.  Since the administration changed, their funding has been cut entirely.  They are still trying to raise funding to make up what they've lost.  They began this new program, called the "DAD" program, for those who are willing to donate a "dollar a day".  I've seen first hand who these people are, and what their mission is.  I'm all in.  Check the link out if God's tugging at your heart.  I wish you could be with me to see this first hand.

Love to all of you back home.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 1 in Africa

Longest flight OF MY LIFE!  But one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen... Cape Town, South Africa. We landed this morning around 9 am, pretty much the middle of the night at home.  Spent most of the day on the beach, getting to know some of the other teams staying here at the house, and getting to know my team a little better.  This evening we sat out on the front porch area, overlooking the ocean, sang worship and really spent some time getting to know each other.  It's amazing to hear each one of their stories and how they got here.  God called each one of us, and I can't wait to see what this month holds!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Halfway There...

We made it to London!  One 12 hour flight tonight, and we'll be in Cape Town, South Africa.  Can't wait to be there...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Here we go!

So, this is it.  It's been a lot of work and a long time coming.  Our flight leaves tonight at 10pm from Philadelphia- we land in London tomorrow morning and then leave tomorrow night to fly to CapeTown, South Africa and land there sometime on Friday.

I just want to thank all of you that have supported me to go on this trip- but more than that... I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of prayers that have gone out for me, the team and absolutely every person we meet in South Africa.

It is really going to be breathtaking to see all of our prayers at work... and maybe I'll get a glimpse more of how wide and long and high and deep the love of our Jesus Christ is.  I'm praying for change.  Change in me, that I become more of the woman God is calling me to be.  And change in the hearts of many that just don't understand the grace of our God yet,...yet!  Here we come South Africa! 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

to South Africa...

I'm not sure how I ended up here.  It started when a friend of mine mentioned that she was leading a trip to South Africa with some students.  I don't even think I let her finish before I jumped in with an enthusiastic, "I want to go!"  It was a no-brainer.  Travel to South Africa for a month with one of my best friends and love some people while I'm there and share about how awesome Jesus is.  In the meantime, get to know some cool college students.  Couldn't have been an easier decision.  I even got the okay from work to leave for the month.  Which is amazing in itself.  

Things have changed a little since that day.  She's out and I'm in.  No more best friend... just 12 students and me.  I've met two.  Whoa, those are some mighty big leadership shoes to fill.  

Following where God leads isn't always clear... or easy.  Let me rephrase that.  Following where God leads is rarely clear or easy.  Isn't that what I've heard in ten thousand sermons?  If you are "too comfortable" then you might not be listening?  As sure as I am of that statement, I'm equally sure of this:  Not following where God leads is uncomfortable.  Like a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I don't think I can take that.  There's nothing like looking back on your journal from the month earlier where you told God you'd follow Him to South Africa in January... then backing out like a scared little kid.  So, I'll just go to South Africa, even though I still feel like a scared little kid.  Good thing He's strongest when I'm weak.  

I'm ready to go to South Africa, God.  Help me get there.  

I'll keep you all posted.  I have a feeling things are going to get interesting... like lions and tigers interesting.